Training A Foal Using Basic Principles

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Index
  1. Training A Foal Using Basic Principles
    1. When to start
    2. The configuration
    3. The equipment
  2. Enjoy This Video Tutorial About Horses

Training A Foal Using Basic Principles

Hand training is an essential part of any horse's education. We walk our horse to and from the pasture or stable every day and want to make sure he leads obediently, stays by our side, stands still while we brush, rub or remove him, take care of his feet, etc.

We also need our horse to go forwards, backwards, and to the sides so that we can move it around as we work around it.

If you have a young horse who is getting ready to start basic training, pre-training him by hand makes the process less intense because he already understands the signals (aids) you will be using under the saddle.

In particular, teaching a young horse to stop with light assistance and stay put (what we call 'stall'), actually reduces his escape response and makes it easier for him to get used to all the different things with, from equipment and mats to having a rider on your back.

Plus, manual training is a safe and easy way to get the aids we need under the saddle.

And, even if your horse is older and more experienced, it's amazing how much hand training can improve his responses under the saddle or in everyday human interactions.

When to start

Since hand training lays the foundation for saddle training, it's a good idea to start as soon as possible.

If you have your horse from birth, early while the foal is still with his mother, you can teach him some basic pressure responses (asking the foal to step back by pressing on the chest, for example) and then some simple lead stops such as a weanling

However, it is best to start the more comprehensive hand training described in the next five articles when your horse is at least one year old.

The configuration

It's always a good idea to start in a stable, a small or round yard with safe feet and fencing, and then progress to an arena before moving into more open spaces.

If possible, you should choose a quiet place where there are not too many distractions.

The equipment

When starting young, naive yearling horses, start with a normal leash or leather halter.

When little ones are learning everything from scratch, there's no need for a rope halter or anything harsher, because they'll learn quickly with light pressure to respond.

However, you should train using something stronger like a rope halter or bridle if it's part of the equipment you'll be wearing for racing or riding, for example, or if you're retraining a horse (correcting a behavior problem).

The ideal leader rope is strong, lightweight, and doesn't stretch like nylon braided ropes. Cotton lead strings can be too springy, making the pressure/release less clear, and yacht strings are too heavy, making it difficult for the horse to feel a clear release.

You will also need a medium length stiff (dressage) whip or a bamboo cane (or similar).

Try to avoid whips that are too long and flexible, as this can affect the time signature.

Stiff whips/poles also have more obvious contact when placed against the horse's body during the habituation process.

You should always wear gloves, a riding helmet, and riding boots or safety shoes for manual training.

Enjoy This Video Tutorial About Horses

Source: Basic Horse Training

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