Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Northern Illinois
I think as long as you work in short spurts with em, you can do quite a lot in the first year.
I try to get them to lead, tie nice, give to pressure, yield their hind, desensitize to a whip, pick up all 4 feet, stand for vet/farrier, stand calm in a trailer, allow you to touch their ears and little man parts, bathe, and get used to being brushed. I think that covers the basics. If you have access to a place to do it, take him on short walks to expose him to some out-of-the-pasture stuff. Or take him to a local show when he gets older, just for some experience.
This can be done in the first year, but I think it is more important with youngsters to teach them WELL than to teach them quickly. Don't wanna overwhelm them or inadvertently teach them bad habits.
The most important thing to teach them, in my opinion, is respect. Start from the get-go teaching them to respect your space and to be submissive no matter what you are doing with them, and it will be much easier in the long run. Don't let them get away with ANY nipping, kicking, or otherwise disrespectful crap. It amazes me how many people think its cute when a foal nips (not that you would, just saying). This applies to every time you are around them, but especially at feeding time and in their stalls. A good basis of manners on a horse is priceless, and will make them much more trainable and a lot safer when they are full grown.
** Don't be the rider who gallops all night and never sees the horse that is beneath him **