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couple questions

This is a discussion on couple questions within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

     
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        08-02-2009, 02:09 AM
      #1
    Foal
    couple questions

    Had a couple questions about training, but first I'll tell you whats been already done.
    I have a yearling filly, she is handled daily, and I know people tend to not like when they are "pets", but she is by no means spoiled, if she does something bad she knows it! If she does something good, she knows it and gets a reward. She leads, ties, loads, she already accepts a light bareback pad, and everyonce in a while I'll put a child on her back(very SMALL, LIGHT child) but only for about one, to two minutes, and Legacy will walk carrying the child no problem. I've already taught her several voice commands, walk, whoa, trot, step over,(that one I use only when grooming and I need her to move, and I only have her move 1-2 steps), she also knows she may only eat grass, while I lead her, when I give her the command. When her lead is on the ground she doesnt move. She also picks up her hooves to be cleaned, when asked.
    She used to be always leaning into the gate to try to open it, but it only took a couple days before she learned not to ever push it, I can leave it unlatched, and walk away and she won't touch it.
    She'll also stand quietly when I have her tied and am grooming her(I spend sometimes 15-25 minutes grooming/working with her. Then we usually spend time playing, me her and my rottie. She also seems bomb proof, she's more curious about scarey things like, cars, trucks, my dads eighteen wheeler, tractors, lawn mowers, etc. and once she meets it(I don't make her approach, she does it on her own)she doesnt even glance at it

    But anyway, I was wondering when to begin getting her used to a bridle, I'm intending on teaching her to use a bit, but will usually ride with a bitless bridle or hackamore, I've never used a hackamore, so want opinions on which to use?
    Also, I heard that they shouldn't be longed before 2, is that correct?(I havn't yet longed her because of that but wanted to know for sure.
    Is there anything else I can teach her before she's 2 that won't be harmfull to her?
    She's far to smart for her own good.
    And this is kind of off the training subject, but how old are they usually when they come into season the first time?
         
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        08-02-2009, 05:09 AM
      #2
    Yearling
    I think maybe you should let her have a break. Are yearlings meant to know that much by that age?

    I would maybe just get her used to the bitless bridle if that's what you will be using. I'm not sure though, I'm sure someone more experienced could help you.
         
        08-02-2009, 11:55 AM
      #3
    Weanling
    You should only work with a yearling for 15 minutes per day (work-work, like training, not grooming and such)

    You should not longe her before 2.

    Wait till she's 2 to get her used to the bridle.

    Is it ok to teach them to load into the trailer at this age? Cause I really don't know. :P
         
        08-02-2009, 12:21 PM
      #4
    Foal
    You should not start lunging until she is 2 years old at the least, and no trot or canter work until then. Only walking.

    Okay, I have to say this. You should NEVER be putting a child on a yearlings back. This is one of my biggest things that irks me, I find it very irresponsible. Yearlings are in NO way ready to be holding anything on their back other than a light saddle pad. Not to mention, putting a 2 year old child on an untrained, young and unpredictable horse (which means ALL untrained horses, not just yours) is putting that child's life in danger. Please do not do this again, you don't want to end up with a baby in the hospital because the filly had no clue what was going on and freaked out. I've seen it happen.

    Okay, other than that, I think you seem to be doing good with her. You should be doing lots of ground work, but don't do more than 15 minutes a day or she will get bored and resent working. Good with the voice commands. It will make breaking her much easier when it comes time.

    I wouldn't start putting the bit in her mouth until she is ready to start going under saddle. It can be very stressful for some horses, and sometimes I don't even use a bit until the horse has had a couple rides. Just take a plain old bit, not attached to a bridle, and practice putting it in her mouth, and taking it out. When she's used to it, attach the bit to a bridle but take the reins off of the bridle, and just put the bit in their mouth and fasten the bridle to her head. Just let them sit with it on for about 5 minutes. This usually works for me, and slowly you can increase the time that you leave it in, and eventually start doing rides with one.

    Good luck!
         
        08-02-2009, 12:35 PM
      #5
    Started
    I think you are off to a great start. I agree, no lunging before 2 and I wouldn't worry about the bridle until she's ready to be ridden.
         
        08-02-2009, 03:56 PM
      #6
    Foal
    I kinda thought the same thing about the child on the back. Even I always hold my breath, wear a helmet, and have a spotter handy before I get on a horse that's never been ridden, doesn't matter how sweet they are when I'm on the ground. Yearlings can move pretty quick and for no reason. Plus, as was already stated, their bones aren't developed enough and still cannot handle a 20-40# weight. Most people don't know this, but human children don't even have knee caps until they're 3 years old. Your horse is going through some of those same issues.

    The other stuff (trailer loading, grooming, ground manners, etc.) is good, though, as long as they're allowed to be "baby horses" at the same time. No serious lessons, and when you do work with them, this is the time for games. Got kids or young nieces/nephews? Look at them and watch them - their attention spans, what interests them, how they learn, what they learn the most from. Young (and even some of the older ones) are strikingly similar.

    For bitting, I agree that you should wait because there's really nothing else you can do with the bit at this time, so there's no real point to starting so early. I've always kinda felt that the horse should associate the bit with "time to go to work" so they know what behavior is expected of them when they're wearing it. You usually start with using a halter-bridle minus the reins and a loose ring snaffle attached to bitting snaps. Let them wear it around for short, intermittant periods (supervised). So if you did that now, I think she might start learning to ignore it maybe instead of associating it with business.
         
        08-03-2009, 02:36 AM
      #7
    Foal
    I don't ever work her more than 15 min. And I don't work on all the things at one time, other than walk and whoa, I'll pick one or two things to work on in each lesson. And I don't work her everyday, I do it maybe twice a week.
    And about the kids, when we put a kid on her usually 2 people walk on either side, and someone leads. The people beside her hold the child up enough so her full weight isn't on her. I got her from my cousin who is known for producing horses which are known for being excellent child safe, spook free horses and ponies. From shortly after they are weaned, they put very thin blankets(starting with about the weight of a folded bed sheet), and they get slightly heavier as they age, and it's done to begin with as a game so they see it as something good/fun. They start getting used to a kid by someone carrying a kid while walking beside her and the child is not put on for a while, instead a sack dummy resembling and weighing about the same weight and size as a kid, is put on her back (not tied on) with people walking alongside her just like when a real kid is on her. They do that until the horse is entirely comfortable. They've never had a horse spook, when doing it that way. And these horses grow up to be jumpers, pleasure, etc. vet checked without ever having back, leg, etc injuries/problems. They've never had a child or horse get hurt(although with one colt the dummy got slightly banged up. It seemed like the horse was taking longer than they usually do to get used to the dummy, the training stopped until it was older, like around 2 or 3.

    I'm sorry if you think I'm arguing, I'm not intending it in that way. I just wanted to explain a little better. And I appreciate all the help.

    Btw, until a year old the blanket training is only done maybe once every 2weeks, and only on for maybe a minute or 2 depending how they react to it, and it is never fastened.
         
        08-03-2009, 03:33 AM
      #8
    Weanling
    Aww sounds like my mare at 1. Ok I put a kid on her back once at that age, small kid for her age, I think 7 or so, neways, and I put a bridle on her, but didn't actually use the bit in her mouth, no steering, correcting, etc. I don't see a problem with the bridle as long as you aren't using the bit, but I don't see a reason to stick a kid on her very much. She's probably gotten the whole, OK human on my back is no big deal, my mare did, she was a breeze to get on, it was the peacocks that were the problem. I don't remember lunging, but I did round pen her, in a huge roundpen, a bit I believe, this was a long time ago though now that I think about it. I don't think I really worked her though, more turned her out, then kinda played with her. I did pony her a couple of times, and that is probably better for their overall condition then lunging. The thing about my horse, is she was in a pasture with other babies, so there was deffinate horse time, so make sure she gets to bond with other horses as much as you, and learn their rules too. I don't think you can do too much desensitizing at this age, unless you get stupid and decide to go overboard, I don't think you have to limit your agenda, just make it fun and short. I know my mare is beginner safe, very sweet, and can be ridden bridleless. This kind of start is a good thing, but don't ask too much of her physically. Mentally, it's like children, I was reading before kindergarten, did that mean my parents went to quick with me? Heck no, I just was ready for it.
         
        08-04-2009, 12:45 AM
      #9
    Foal
    It sounds like you are starting her correctly. If you continue this way, she will be a happy, well exposed all around girl. Good job. =]

    I still disagree with the child however, and I don't want this to turn into an argument, but I'm just going to state what I've seen happen.
    At an old, old trainer's barn, she had a stud. She bred horses on her farm, which were all very nice congress winning quarter horses. They were all very sane, and were known for producing very sane offspring. Most of them went off to be top children's hunters etc... She always trained them with her young students, and did the same as you mentioned with 2 people on either side securing the child. She had done this for years, and had no problems.

    Then one year, she had this magnificent filly. She was calm, well imprinted, and she was starting the training with the child. However, while they were lifting the child up to put her over the filly's back, one of her dogs got behind the filly and spooked her. Even though the filly had been around the dogs her entire life, she did not see the dog coming and it scared her. She swung around and her behind hit the woman who was lifting the child up, and knocked the kid out of her arms and onto the ground. The filly trampled the child, and resulted in a broken ankle in the filly, and a concussion and broken wrist for the child. They were minor injuries, but it could have been much, much more traumatic. Even though she'd been doing this for years, this incident just went to show that horses are wild animals at heart, and unpredictable, let alone a young foal that is just starting their training.

    I believe that a child should not be the "test dummy" for breaking a foal. This could have ended with much more severe injuries, or possibly death. Thank God it didn't.

    Now, I'm not criticizing you or your friend, and I'm sure that you guys are very knowledgeble. I'm just giving you something to think about, because I have experienced this, and I know it is something that could be potentially dangerous.

    Good luck with her training. Hope all goes well!
         

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