Teaching a foal to lead? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 03-27-2012, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
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Teaching a foal to lead?

When is a good time (age) to begin teaching a foal how to lead with a halter and lead rope? How should you do it?
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post #2 of 6 Old 03-27-2012, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by howrsegirl123 View Post
When is a good time (age) to begin teaching a foal how to lead with a halter and lead rope? How should you do it?
Right away. I put a halter on them the first day or two and will lead them around while someone leads the dam around. The more you work with them when they are young the easyer it will be later.
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post #3 of 6 Old 03-27-2012, 08:15 PM
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If you don't know how to do it, please get someone to come and help you. When you first put pressure on a halter, a lot of foals will freak out, pull back, leap and twist etc. to get away from the pressure. Invest in a bum rope, and teach the foal first to move from pressure on the bum rope with only light pressure on the halter. This gives you more control and a reduced risk of damaging the foal's neck or poll.

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post #4 of 6 Old 03-27-2012, 08:37 PM
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It might be best to get the foal used to being handled all over. A good plan is to get him used to having your arm around his chest and applying a little pressure for just a few moments then around his rump. Do this a lot, gradually lengthening how long you hold him. You may need to do this for the vet and it's better if it's something he's familiar with. A foal's attention span is extremely short so your window of opportunity is less than a minute. Repetition is what teaches.
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post #5 of 6 Old 03-31-2012, 04:51 AM
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Agreed. From the first few days you need to be handling and getting them used to you, and have a halter on as soon as possible. Foals are completely unpredictable so make sure you keep mom nearby and led by a separate person if you are inexperience with foals and you need to be always ready for a forward/sideways leap, screeching halt, a nip, or other sassiness. Do not tolerate nips, they may even seem cute when it is a nibble, but you foal doesnt see it that way. No, they are plotting to test you and see how far they can push you, ESPECIALLY colts! Give a little smack to the nose or a quick pinch, be assertive but don't over do it! Consider what mom would do if the foal bit her, and 'nip' back accordingly! Use your voice as well. Although the first few months it wont make a difference :)
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post #6 of 6 Old 03-31-2012, 07:23 AM
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I handle them from the start. I will also restrain them with a hand around their chest and another around their butt. This will imprint that a person is stronger than they are!
I do not halter them for a few days, and when I do it is always a leather foal slip.

When it comes to leading to start I will use a length of towelling which will be long enough to go around their lower neck and use a hand on their butt. Letting them follow their dam. After a while I will attach a rope to the slip and go from there.

Although it is absolutely correct to say you should push a foal forward come a few weeks old I will exert pressure on the rope if a foal plants, immediately it gives either with a step forward or just lowering its head I will relax the pressure. This teaches it to yield to poll pressure thus teaching it a valuable lesson.
One thing you often seen done which to my mind is a deadly sin is people grabbing a foals tail and pulling it to the side to make it go forward. This can misalign the dock which in turn tightens the muscles around the withers.
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