I am asking this question as part hypothetical, part reality. At this point though, mostly hypothetical.
I am a new rider. I am just beginning lessons again after almost 15 years away from horses. I am a voracious reader and have spent years reading about horses, but have spent that time not actually being near horses.
Unfortunately, I can't fight the horse fever. I am more strongly wanting a horse of my own every day.
It has always been my dream to have an unbroken foal and break it. I think that bond is something unbeatable.
If I were to work with a trainer about half the time, and the other half of the time be alone with the horse, what are my chances of doing this right? I want a horse, but not at the expense of it being done badly.
And whether or not, you are afraid of messing things up. Because, the reality is...no body is perfect. And you will make mistakes. But the difference is, do you learn from them and do you keep common sense so that those mistakes are not physically damaging to the horse or you.
So...like, for example, that you don't push the horse so far that it rears and flips over. But that you do insist that the horse does what you want without giving the horse a release of pressure that might reward a "wrong" answer that can turn into a bad habit.
You can't be afraid of messing up. If you are. You can make mistakes that cause bad habits that can be tough to change.
If you are at all impatient, it won't work. If you wear a watch and think "shouldn't this of been done by now?" or "that's good enough, I'm bored of this. Let's just do the next step and see what happens"..... then it's not going to work.
BUT if you are an exceptional listener and you take every detail your trainer says to you (given you find a truly good trainer who has yours and the horse's best interest at heart, who is also not going to rush anything...and I mean NOT rushing anything at all, but baby stepping through it all)..... then, yeah, it can work just fine.
Look for a trainer who is willing to take the time to go through every single step of training with you. No rush jobs at all. The more details you are aware of, the better life you make for the horse (which is the most important thing. Clear communication for a good partnership)
One of my best clients that I have ever had....was a 53 year old business man who rode a horse when he was 12 and none since. He wanted to get a horse to start himself. He wanted it to count. He got a Mustang from the BLM. A wild Mustang that has never been handled before.
Everyone....and I do mean everyone...thought he was crazy and going to die. Everyone was worried about him.
He started out by reading and watching everything he could about Natural Horsmanship (your best bet because it is geared toward newbies. It's got baby steps that are easy to follow with the help of a trainer)....and he started out with Parelli.
The owner wasn't clear about the part on sensitizing (the use of pressure and the horse looking for the release, being rewarded for that).
He desensitized the horse a lot. So, when the horse was no longer scared of being touched (he could groom her) he started to teach the horse to give to pressure. Well, the horse said NO (she bucked and charged on a lead line). And so, the owner called me.
I gave him lessons once a week. For 2 hours each lesson. Left him with homework. We baby stepped through everything, leaving no lesson undone. Tied up all loose ends. I didn't allow him to progress and I refused to progress til he and the horse were on the same page about how to use pressure and how to use release of pressure.
This is your most important lesson: Timing (how much pressure to use, and when to use it) and most of all...when to take it away (the release).
After 1 month of once a week, I came over 3 times a week and worked more with the horse as I left the owner with homework, too.... and by the end of the 3rd month, I rode the horse for the first time, and on that same day, I let the owner ride, too. I was that comfortable with the owner's progress and that comfortable with the horse.
This client has worked hard to understand and has put enough effort into the training that he really was able to learn how to ride on his green broke horse. I rode the horse every day for a few months after that to really get her going....and the owner rode 2-3 times a week, too.
I trained them both for One Year. It took him the entire year of training, to get to where he could handle the horse by himself without much of my help toward the end of that year. He rode the horse on the side of the road, all over his property up and down hills, etc...
Starting a foal, like you want to do...is a very doable idea....IF you don't make the common mistake of turning the foal into a pushy, resentful of pressure horse by only desensitizing it.
You MUST treat it like it was a small Horse and that means, teach the foal, from day 1 that you move his (or her) feet. That means, you put your finger on the foal's left hip, the foal should move that hip away from the pressure. Or if you put your finger on his shoulder, same thing, he moves away. Or if you ask him to lead, he doesn't pull you all over the place, you don't allow him to become pushy, but to respect your space.
Of course, I'm talking about....being very easy with the foal, because of age. But you can do a lot with a foal, regardless. Lots of mini lessons to teach him to give to pressure, so that when he is old enough (4-5 years old) to carry a rider he'll not know that he has the option to buck, bolt, rear, etc.... none of that will come into play....(can you wait that long to ride the horse? Yes, some people start to ride at the age of 2 but that is too young. The horse's knees might be closed, but the spine is still developing til the age of 5. So, at least waiting til the horse is 3 with extremely light riding if you're in a hurry to ride....4 is better)......
Sorry for the long post! But I can't just give a yes or no answer to anything.
So....yes. You can learn to train a hose from foal to saddle time. As long as you commit to the Time it takes to do it right.
My job as a NH trainer (I specialize in green on green) is to teach people like you to train your own horses. I gave you that one example, but I can give you too many more...some have had their horses since they were born....so, they imprinted the foals and raised them....then when the horse was old enough to ride at closer to 4 years of age, they had called me and we got to work together....and so I can say with confidence, that yes, if you're commited to it....you can train your own horse. It's not rocket science & it doesn't have to be dangerous or a big mess...if you don't allow that to happen....and that means...major patience.