How much work should I do with my yearling? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 07-14-2011, 12:34 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Arizona
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How much work should I do with my yearling?

I guess what I'm asking is, how often do I NEED to be working with him?

The background story is, he is a year old and I have been working with him nearly every other day since he was born. Little things like grooming, picking up his feet, tying, ponying, leading, moving away from pressure, etc. And it got to the point this past spring where I was just getting SO frustrated because he was acting like everything was a big game. He was nippy, playful, climbing on my other horse when I was ponying, etc.

Finally a good friend offered to take him for a month and put him in her pasture with her horses, so he could learn some manners from them (because he pretty well walked all over his mom and my gelding).

He is back home now, and he seems to have matured some. I don't want to overdue anything and get all frustrated again (I was almost to the point of giving up on him).

So he can do the following:

tie, groom, pick/trim feet, lead (although with attitude), pony (although after he climbed on the horse I was leading him from, I sort of gave up on that), trailer loads, moves off of fingertip pressure, disengages hindquarters and shoulders, walks in a circle around me on a lead rope (like the beginning of lunging but only at a walk). I've saddled him a few times (he totally doesn't care) and he's been bathed twice (not a big fan of bathing, but he tolerates it). Can be fly sprayed.

So do you think it is okay to let him "sit" for a while, in other words, just take him out and tie and groom him, then put him away? And not really work with him seriously for a while? He really needs more work with leading in particular, but I really don't want to get all frustrated again. I am afraid if I push things, it will get to the point I end up giving him away, and I really don't want to do that. I really want to be able to ride him someday. But I feel like I'm taking the easy way out and not trying to train him if I just let him sit.

So what do you think? My best friend says to take him out maybe once a month and work with him, instead of all the time like I have been. To give him more time to mature. Because up until this point he seems to think life is just a game and me and the other horses are there only for his entertainment.

PS. Our main problems have been nipping and chewing. The nipping/chewing seems to have improved a good bit lately.

PSS. He was gelded at 5 months and is a year old tomorrow.
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post #2 of 6 Old 07-14-2011, 03:51 AM
Join Date: May 2011
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in the long and short of things, i think you need to bear in mind that your little'un is exactly that - a baby! I have had my youngster since 4 months old, and he is now 13months. we tie up (but only when not left alone, otherwise he stresses), grooms, rugs up, fly sprays (reluctantly), baths (even more reluctantly) and lead beautifully, although i hasten to add that it has taken a good while to get out of the nipping/jig-jog/bolshy stage! he was an absolute devil for it, and although now he is generally a pleasure to handle the same cannot be said for the same young trouble-maker 3 months ago! so i wouldn't worry too much, he will grow out of it :)
sounds to me like you've been doing more than enough with him! you should be pleased with yourself to have got that far, rather that frustrated you can't go further :) i think your youngster would benefit now from just some quality time with you, where he can just enjoy your company without too much being asked of him. This way, as he begins to mature a bit more, he will appreciate that not everything is play time, and therefore when you decide to do a bit more ground work with him he will recognise that you can mean relaxation as well as work and he might not play up for you as much. But the long and short of it is, he is still only a yearling! you need to be careful you dont ask too much too soon and take away his childhood (so to speak) as then you might not only have a mischeivous pony looking to play around for you, but you could also have an unhappy one who doesn't want to be around you if you're always asking too much.
Hope this helps! :)
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post #3 of 6 Old 07-14-2011, 04:46 AM
Join Date: May 2011
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You can do everything but ride the youngster, however i wouldn't run him much don't want to stress the knee's too much until he is 3 or 4 they are still forming.

If you check my pics Baylee is just over 2 and has been saddled and worn one for hours, however she wont be ridden until next spring. She gets ponied a lot, worked on and off lead, she's already desensitized and starting to learn the correct leads.

just remember sometimes young horses may not have the attention span of an older one

Last edited by ledge; 07-14-2011 at 04:48 AM. Reason: added link for baylee's pic
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post #4 of 6 Old 07-14-2011, 05:30 AM
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Location: Australia
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Unfortunately it's a hard decision with youngsters - you want to spend hours with them doing a lot of work, but as has happened with yours, something that is all too common in overhandled youngsters, they get too big for their boots and will start treating you like a play mate rather than a boss.

I think it's time for your yearling to go back out into the paddock in a herd environment (5+ horses) and not see people for a few months. He needs a good solid few months to mature and remember that he's a horse, not a dog. All youngsters need to get bitten, kicked and shoved around by other horses so they don't get too cocky!

I know it's tempting to do too much handling, I just brought a beautiful hannoverian weanling and all I want to do is spend time with him, but the best thing at this young age is for them to just do absolute basics with humans (lead, tie, stand for farrier, worm and load) but otherwise, spend the rest of their time out in the paddock to just be a young horse!

~Horse & Hound Artistry~.

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post #5 of 6 Old 07-14-2011, 11:08 AM
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Mannford, Ok
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I do small lessons with my yearling, 15 min or so, but spend lots of time relaxing with her. My 3 yr old is a great corrector with her though, so she gets human & horse interaction. I am of course teachng her to stand quiet while I treat her wounds, which she does great but I make sure to reward her for it too! Babies are such a treat to have but stressful at the same time!
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post #6 of 6 Old 07-14-2011, 11:53 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Manitoba
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Sounds like you have done a lot with your yearling. I like mine to have done similar things. I agree with the suggestion to just turn him out in a herd environment for the summer. Once he comes back, reestablish that you are the alpha and get him leading the way you want to.
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