training my colt?

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training my colt?

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    10-27-2006, 11:55 AM
training my colt?

Looking for any suggestions or insight w/ training my colt...share your experiences or storys anything would be great.
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    10-29-2006, 06:34 PM
Hello, I am a Quarter Horse trainer in Florida and have been working with young horses from foal to finish all of my life.

Keep in mind that there are many differences in opinions between trainers and horse people alike and how they bring up their young ones. I will offer my personal humble opinion.....

For me personally, I am a firm believer that foals should be handled as soon as possible for several reasons. First of all, it is much easier to handle a lightweight youngster and teach them the basics of handling, grooming, etc. than to wait until they are 2 years, 3 years, or for some trainers 4 years of age and almost 1,000 pounds until they are handled.

Throughout the time I have been working with many different types of breeds, it has allowed me to see the differences and results of starting horses at different ages. My personal conclusion is that the younger these horses are when learning the basics, the easier and more cooperative they are later on when it's time to break them for riding.

This does NOT mean that the foals are treated like adult horses in training and do not have their normal lives of playfullness and foal behavior. None of this will take away from his youth (as some trainers think). Some trainers believe that horses "should be left alone to be horses" until they are older. That is respectable as it is their opinion, and I am simply stating my opinion here to the controversy. Just as we are given some basic disciplines to learn as children from our own parents, I have seen much safer circumstances and more readily trainable horses when worked with as foals. You would only be working with these young horses for a half an hour a day, sometimes an hour a day. That is not taking away all of the other time they have during the day to be babies.

If this is your first foal that you are working with, I would advise you to seek the help of a trainer who can come to your barn and work with the two of you together. There are also many wonderful books and videos to help you as well.

In the mean time, I would suggest that you have an assistant handler with you to help hold your baby while you introduce yourself and start familiarizing your foal with your presence. Use your hands at first very carefully all over your foals body to help the foal learn to remain calm and to help "desensitize" him. Never flinch or remove your hands if your baby kicks, tries to jump, or dances around. Stay with your foal, and keep your hands on him and keep going along doing what you are doing as if nothing ever happened. Once he learns that you are not going to hurt him, and it actually feels good to be handled, then incorporate a few basic grooming supplies very slowly and gently. Soon enough, your foal will stand quietly and enjoy the experience.

Well I seem to be writing a book here, so I will leave you with that for starters. In your future posts, it would be helpful to know the breed, exact age, level of training (or what you are working on at the moment with your horse), riding style, etc. of the horse you would like help with....Good Luck...Bonnie : )
    10-30-2006, 12:52 AM
training my colt.

Thanks so much for the words of wisdom. Here is a lil more detail description of my guy. Bullet is a paint and is 5-1/2 mo old now. I have been with him everyday since he has been 2 DAYS old. ( Yes everyday....My breeder lives about 2000 feet up the road fortunately for me I was able to spend every evening in the barn with him and Mama) First I just sat quietly in the barn on a bale of hay just kinda hangin out.....I first gained Mamas trust and she is an absolute sweetheart with me...Bullet was curious of me but shy at the same time not wanting to approach the stalls edge....after about a week or so he ventured over to the edge to get a closer look....I spoke "with him" and about after about a month or so he would whinney when I came in. ( along with the others that where in the same barn....what a great greeting I got~!)
Our new barn has been delayed due to bad weather ( phooey) so I moved Bullet to a friends barn where he stays in the paddock during the day and has his own stall at night. ( Yes I go there every day still.) Lately he has become a bit "moody" at times...not really as receptive to my appearance all the time...sometimes it seems like he couldn't be bothered if I was there. I always try to stay in the paddock with him but give him his room. When he is acting like this he seems to eventually come to me and give me a nudge with his nose and then he seems to be fine. I really have been feeling comfortable with how things have been going w/ lead training, and desensitizing, etc.
My friend ( whose barn he is at) tells me that he is a maniac and acts hurendous ( sp?) when she tries to tend to him if I am not there....he got a couple burrs on his halter and she went to get them out and she said he went nuts, there are a few other things that happened that she has mentioned. A couple times while I was there he turned and it seemed like he was going to kick but I spoke out his name and he stopped. I guess I am getting concerned with what my friends stories are about his acting up so to say. Because right now I am not there 24/7 I don't see everything...but I find it hard to believe that he acts "so terrible" only with her. I know he is young....and there are tons of hours before his is totally trained/educated. Like I said he should be coming home ( weather permitting ~ good lord this weathers killing me lol) soon....and I am trying not to be over reactive....( which I has a slight feeling that my friend might be) She has had horses her whole life and I truly respect her knowledge...I just cannot understand why Bullet would only act out with her...unless he plain just don't care for her?
    10-30-2006, 02:50 AM
Bullet is more familiar with you because of the many hours you have spent with him, but your friend is working with Bullet in a different way with more "hands on" handling, so she may be feeling a little frustrated if Bullet gets out of hand or acts like a typical growing foal.

Both of you are doing a good thing, not a bad thing. You are spending time around him, and she is more hands on. However, the two of you would be helping Bullet out much better if you worked together, using your friends handling techniques and your patience. One of THE MOST important things to remember when working young foals is that having an assitant there in the beginning stages makes a world of difference to the training application. When you are by yourself and the foal is scooting around the stall, hiding behind Mom, and jumping at every slight touch you might be able to sneak in, it is not the right way to begin with a foal because they learn evasion right away. But if you start with two people together, the foal has no choice but to be captured or lured into a safe haven where both people can very gently constrain the foal until it calms down. Lots of times they will rear when captured, squeal for help from Mom, kick, try to lay down, etc. But if both people are there togther then the foal settles, one person uses hands on techniques and accomplishes a huge goal---one that may take forever, if not never, for one person to do alone. It usually takes a very calm foal in his natural dispostion to be trained in the beginning by a single person. Other foals that are rambunctious or beyond should be handled by two people. If you work alone, you may be risking the fact that you may teach your foal to run off from human touch and disobey, and even learn to be spoiled. If Bullet is already showing signs of acting up, then this should be a clear sign that two people are needed together to work with him before he becomes a problem foal.

From what I am able to gather in your post, Bullet needs more physical hands on work. He is going through very rapid changes not only in his height and weight, but mentally as well, and Mom is getting weary of him so he will find tricks to play not only on her but others horses and people as well (this is normal and natural behavior). He is a horse, and a growing boy no less. The quality time you have been spending on him just being around him (but not actually working with him hands on) will change as you have mentioned- you said he seems bored already. Yes, that is true. He knows you are there. But standing by him for hours and days does not guarantee your safety and trust in him to you or you to him, nor replace the hands on feeling he requires for proper training. He will jump at your touch, rear at a halter being tugged, flinch when a brush is wisked across his coat, etc. The only way to get past that is hands on practice, guaranteed that it is done properly. You could just as easily be teaching him improperly if you do not have experience working young foals. I say that with the utmost sincerity and apology if it seems harsh. However, you have qualities that all people should have when working with horses--patience and a true dedication to your horses well being.

At 5 1/2 months, he is at weaning stage or nearing it. What are your plans for weaning him in the next few months? This is important, and something for you to be knowledgeable of as well for his own safety and for the mare.

Hopefully you could ask your friend to work together with you and Bullet for lots of hands on training. If there is anything else you could offer to explain how he acts when you work with him hands on, then I will try to help you further....Please keep me updated if you can~ :)
    10-30-2006, 08:44 AM
training my colt

I truly appreciate your input/advice ( and no your not being harsh). Infact I was a little leary of posting. I posted on another forum and was basically chewed out by a member for getting such an young horse and having to ask questions! I don't understand why people are rude on forums...aren't forums basically used for swapping stories/advice? Huh lol.
Any who. I did not mention Bullet is weaned....he was not paying attention to Mama nor feeding off of her etc etc. Often he didn't even go near her besides for having to be in the barn with her and that was sometimes a chore to bring him in.
When I go to my friends she is usaually there about 75 % of the time. Other times we take turns cleaning, feeding, etc around each others work/home schedule/ ( we both have kids). Like I said I never have seen Bullet act any differently than the other colts I have been around when I am there.
I have never trained a colt myself, She on the otherhand has had 2 other colts. She now actually has one that is 1 month older than mine and 4 full grown horses.
From what your posts read I am kinda on track. I do however plan on getting someone here when he comes home just for some extra help. I will be hiring someone to come....not that I don't want her to help....just some outside professional would maybe be best for me right now.
We do the same things at the barn....we just take turns when the other is not there or do things
I hate to say it she is a dear dear friend....but sometimes I cannot help but think that right now in her life she truly appreciates the barn help I give her and is kinda afraid I won't be there for her if she needs me and that is the reason that she makes a big stink about his behavaviour...NOT saying that he is a perfect angel....just kinda wierd that I have only seen this :"hurendous" Behaviour that he pertrays....
Oh geesh...I am rambling...
I will keep you posted and again I thank you for your advice.....and kindness.
    10-30-2006, 05:33 PM
That's great to hear you have decided to hire someone to help you when he comes home. You will learn so much when that happens.

Good Luck with everything.....

    10-31-2006, 02:54 PM
Hi there!

Well maybe you should try join up? Join up has built up a fantastic bond between me and my horse! Xxx
    12-08-2006, 03:20 AM
Handle tons & be patient patient patient. It's a sad day when the young learn their strength.. and use it. :roll:
    12-27-2006, 03:27 AM
I am going to respectfully disagree with the others on this. If you have the capability, turn the horse out n pasture with other horses, and leave him til he's a long yealring. Then start him under saddle, but not riding. Then turn him back out on pasture til he's two. Then start him under a rider for 30 days. Turn him back out on pasture. Start working him for real when he is 3 or 4.

Too many people make pets out fo their horses, and the horse never learns how to be a horse. He needs to learn respect and such from other horses. That's how he learns the body language that he needs to learn. Even the legends of "Natural Horsemanship" will tell you this. Dorrances, Hunt, etc.....
    12-27-2006, 04:52 PM
Thats a very interesting take on Training that you have Cowpuncher! I had never heard of people doing that before, but it makes sense. Its not what I do when I train, but it is a very valid method =)

Personally, when I am training a horse, I spend the first year of their life (after they are separated from mom) bomb proofing them.. well not bomb proofing... more along the lines of getting them used to anything and everything. This is when I will hand walk them off the property and down the road to start expanding "home" to them. So when the time comes a few years later for trail riding, they wont be too barn sour. I also do all the basics which include, but are not limited to: picking up all four feet, bathing, teaching them to walk through water, blanketing, clipping (completely optional), loading into a trailer/riding in a trailer, trail course obstacles (walking over poles, weaving cones, walking over little bridges, etc). And then I sack them out. This is always fun for me. The horses that live around the round pen hate it though. This is when I do things to the horse that I believe will make them uncomfortable. I have many sessions that I do, and I only introduce one new item a day. Some of the things I do are: Throwing an empty feed sack over their back/rubbing it on their body, throwing a soccer ball around, riding a bicycle around the pen, making them walk over a tarp, walk through an archway with ribbons hanging down from it, etc.. stupid little things that a horse shouldnt have to deal with, but may come in handy down the line. Since I lived in the city, allot of this came in handy. When I was out on trail rides, I've seen kids throwing balls, jump roping, and doing other things that should spook a horse.

When the horse turns two, I start the fun stuff. Saddling. Usually, saddle breaking goes in this order for me (each point is done on a different day): I put an older heavy western saddle on the horse's back but do not cinch it. Put a bareback pad on the horse's back and cinch it. Put the western saddle back on the horse and cinch it. This alone takes a while. Then, we start working more: Put a bridle on the horse. Put a bridle on the horse and ground drive. Put a saddle on the horse, and a bridle on the horse, and ground drive. I pretty much continue this work, along with some things that I taught them when they were younger (sacking out, walking them off the property, etc).

Finally, when the horse turns three, I begin riding. I start by teaching the horse to simply stand by the mounting block. Then, once they are comfortable standing there, lean on the saddle. Then get on the saddle. By this time, the horse will be ready to be green broke (i consider a green broke horse a horse that can be walked, trotted, or cantered SAFELY. A green broke horse is like the foundation that is laid for the house. Once the foundation is laid you can build any kind of house.. a log cabin, a victorian, a mansion, etc. I green break all the horses the same, so the owner can put whatever discipline they wish on it.

That was long winded, I hope I didnt bore o_o!

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