how do YOU start a horse? - Page 2

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how do YOU start a horse?

This is a discussion on how do YOU start a horse? within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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        08-10-2012, 02:13 AM
    Originally Posted by Darrin    
    Well, I don't do it to make a living so I go slow.
    -Usually start with sacking out using various floppy things like shirts, coats, plastic sacks, tarps etc.
    -I put my weight on them in various ways so they get somewhat used to adjusting their balance. That's one of the most interesting sensations, a young horse trying to figure out how to walk with a rider on their back for the first time or two. I'll work up to the point I can put most my weight on them without reaction.
    -Next comes a junk saddle on their back, don't want to ruin a good one from a blowup (haven't had a blowup yet but you never know). Once they are ok with the saddle just sitting there I'll slowly cinch it up until they get used to that.
    -Then it's driving time. I wont crawl in the saddle until they understand go, whoa, left and right. Use a couple lunge lines so I can hang out well behind the rear end then have someone lead them as I drive from behind. Once I can drive without a helper they are ready for their first ride.
    -First time in the saddle I'll have a helper hold them while I jump up and down beside them. Then it's put a foot in the saddle and more jumping. That's good? Then it's time for my rump to hit the saddle. I don't give them time to think about what just happened and have my helper take off once I'm situated leading them. We then repeat the go, whoa, left and right exercises with the helper leading. Once that is down pat the helper fades away and riding has finally started.

    Like I said, I'm not making a living at it but enjoy raising and training my own horses. I know most trainers can be on their back in just a day or two but I take my time. This whole thing starts when I get them home and takes until they are actually old enough to crawl on their backs. Fastest time frame will be a couple of months even if already old enough to jump on up. I'm going to minimize my risk of getting hurt so I don't progress to the next step until sure the chance of getting hurt is small.

    Youngest I've ever started working on a foal was 6mos (sacking out step). By the time he was old enough to ride he acted like an old pro.
    Dude nothin wrong with that! We'd probably all be better off not to be on a timetable. Though at the same time, I think the better you get the less groundwork you have to do. Not so much because you're rushing the horse, more that your skills become such that you can handle those little spots that would get a greener rider in trouble.
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        08-10-2012, 11:27 AM
    Green Broke
    I am not sure what you are asking. I started them all in a surcingle and a side pull ground driving. We went everywhere after we got things figured out and could leave the pen.. lots of walking walking walking.... and graduated to a saddle and ground driving.

    Did a lot of handling, leaning on them, standing on a platfrom next to them to get them used to me being "up there" over top of them. Eventually graduate to leaning across the saddle with them standing there and easing off.. to mounting. BOTH SIDES. All a sort of sacking out process.

    Of course a lot of handling in this so that the whole getting on them first time is a big non event. Start out riding in the side pull but usually switch fiarly quickly to a rawhide core bosal and mecate and start laying that foundation. Eventually they graduate to a loose ring snaffle and then move up from there depending on discipline. Every horse could go back and be ridden in the bosal or side pull which can be handy if I do something and the horse starts to resist.

    I have had horses ride in a snaffle their entire lives.. and others graduate to a low curb (western) or a pelham or full bridle.
    Corporal likes this.
        08-10-2012, 01:29 PM
    Tend to start them similar to CowChicks methods but think I might have to give this a try on the next one I start. Just thought it was an interesting perspective that I had not thought of before.

    Have a good one!
    COWCHICK77 and Ian McDonald like this.
        08-10-2012, 01:49 PM
    Originally Posted by HanginH    
    Tend to start them similar to CowChicks methods but think I might have to give this a try on the next one I start. Just thought it was an interesting perspective that I had not thought of before.

    Les Vogt - Colts' First - YouTube

    Have a good one!
    I like this. I had seen a video on YT where Les was talking about starting colts this way but to see it like this is even better. Gives me some ideas!
        08-10-2012, 01:58 PM
    I actually subscribe to his channel and would love to go to a clinc one day. Really like some of his ideas and he seems to have a pretty good teaching style from what I have seen in his videos.
        08-10-2012, 02:07 PM
    Originally Posted by HanginH    
    I actually subscribe to his channel and would love to go to a clinc one day. Really like some of his ideas and he seems to have a pretty good teaching style from what I have seen in his videos.
    No doubt. I can see how doing it this way could give a horse more rate.
        08-10-2012, 05:11 PM
    I could only watch the first 6 minutes of that video(I hate my slow internet).
    That is a different approach! I like Les Vogt a lot.
    I would hate to do that to the point where I had to pedal a horse to get him to go anywhere though.
    Its kinda funny because the other day me and my husband were talking about how we don't want to lose that enthusiasm to want to travel and be curious like they are when they first go outside or go mash cows. We always like to let them go and just simply direct them rather than force to stay in one spot, hold them back or stop, then the stop comes on its own but you don't lose the want to cover country. You don't punish him for his willingness to travel but still reward the stop so you get the best of both.
    But some of that is the difference between strictly show cowhorses and outside ranch horses. Trainers don't mind a slow horse, they can always speed them up. But outside it is handier to have a horse that wants to travel, eventually you'll cover enough country that they slow!
        08-10-2012, 05:51 PM
    Julie Goodnight has a very good DVD series on colt starting. I agree with above. You can ALWAYS take too much time and patience and risk boring your horse, or rush it and risk an explosion. I also like Dennis Reis's methods bc he trains with small body movements and asks for the small response first, then builds on that.
    I believe its the daily handling that really cements your relationship with the horse.
        08-10-2012, 06:22 PM
    Green Broke
    I started breaking horses to ride and drive when I was 12. By the time I was in my 20's I had developed a penchant for re-schooling anything that would turn the men in my county ashen at the mere mention of "that horse" and it's why I'm in the shape I'm in today

    They're all different, they all require getting to know who they are. When working with my granddad's horses, I knew who they were from birth. They got handled every single day by my cousin and myself.

    They were broke to a driving bit and long-lined way before they had a riding bit in their mouth. They were broke to a saddle when they were yearlings but we didn't ride them, even though back then we were tiny enough to do that.

    We taught them nearly everything from the ground since there's a lot of days between birth and two years, when our small youthful selves would finally get on their backs.

    They all knew how to "whoa" "go", neck rein, back up before we ever got on them. We jumped logs together, side-by-side. Grandad kept us girls pretty skinny teaching all that stuff to the young ones, up and down the mile long tractor lane, crossing the creek, negotiating between trees

    Granddad had a waiting list for his Welsh/Morgan crosses as they were broke by kids. It was nothing for him to get $300 - $500 for a long two year old back in the early/mid 60's. Quite a bit of money back then, especially when there weren't any papers but he had a good reputation in our area

    The Widowmakers in my life were another matter. Most often they were hiding who they really were as a result of either abuse or just plain ignorance on the part of previous human(s) and the horse was ill-tempered and allowed to get away with everything.

    While I handled them every day, it was never a rigid form of work until I could figure out what it was going to take to get them to respond to me in a positive way. Some of the ruined horses took a lot longer to learn trust than others; some of them dumped me on the ground a few times before I finally won that war.

    Once the trust was there and I knew the horse had a good "whoa" and a "go", I called some friends, we loaded up and went trail riding since the best way to get a trail horse "sensible" is to stick them on the end of the ride. At least that's how we always did it and with great success.

    So, the basic answer to the OP's question is I break a horse according to what the horse tells me it's ready to do. I am not a professional and never desired to be. Therefore time is not money and the horse can progress as it's ready; again some faster than others and yet another reason to take invite a seasoned trail horse along if the horse being re-schooled has some big issues.

    Since I am strictly a trail rider, I have no need to push a horse hard; I nudge them along and was always fortunate to have another horse along to help with the nudging

    Even though I miss it, I have long-since retired from all that excitement. My current four are my last four. I handle them every day and they are broke to death. Unfortunate circumstances caused me to not ride any of them for nearly three years. The day I got back on all of them and took them, bareback, down the road, they went like they'd been ridden every day and that is because they are handled in a positive way every day. They aren't turned out in a field 24/7 with no human contact until I want something from them.

    Horse-handling is a two way bridle path - you get what you give:)
    Corporal likes this.
        08-10-2012, 06:28 PM
    Too true. I cannot say ENOUGH about having an older schoolmaster horse to help. My bossy, broke to death herd leader, "Tyke" made it easy to train new horses that I brought into his herd. In fact, if I made the mistake of buying a horse with training problems, the rest of the herd (finished and disciplined) would bully this horse after I've had a difficult session with him or her. I don't think non-horse people would understand how your horses want to help.

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