What age should you halter break? - Page 2

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What age should you halter break?

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  • At what age should i halter break a foal

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    01-15-2013, 10:07 PM
Day one....we attack them! We love on them, pet them all over, put the halter on, just get them used to human contact because they are going to be getting handled everyday from that point. I would rather teach them to lead when they are younger (not day one, a few days later) vs a few months and getting drug all over.

We always find it is easier while they are younger...because by the 1 month mark they are being moved between pastures and it is nice to be able to lead them instead of fighting one....especially if they are loose and run up the wrong side of the fence and start a frenzy since mom is on the other side :) Much easier to lead them and avoid issues.
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    01-15-2013, 10:22 PM

For the reason Peppy stated - they can get injured early on! Then what? Does your foal's first experience of humans have to be discomfort? IMO, not if you can avoid it. IF the mare will let you without trying to murder you, I believe foals should at least be willing to wear a halter and walk next to a human by the time they are two or three weeks old. Some mares will not allow this - never put yourself in the situation of having something attached to the foal and you, and an angry mare who is not OK with it! People get killed that way.

A family friend bred a half-Arabian out of her mixed breed mare. He was basically unhandled when he tangled in a fence. He had the vet care he needed but healed with a very contracted tendon, which needed surgery to correct. He went on the trailer to a university-based vet hospital with his mother and was then forcibly weaned when Mom was taken back home that same day. He came home dangerous.

It was a long hard slog for his poor owner to care for his surgical wounds, and meanwhile she had to cope with his dangerous behaviour and is "too nice" - she didn't want to discipline him because he was hurting.

After he was healed he was even MORE dangerous because now he was feeling good and had learned he could get away with it! It's been difficult for his owner to learn to be more firm with him, but now he's not dangerous any more. We briefly had him on our property to teach him some more manners because his owner just physically did not have the strength or the endurance to up the ante when he did, but he went home about a month ago and so far all is well.

Anyway... moral of the story is, unhandled babies are a danger to themselves, and potentially become a danger to others!
    01-15-2013, 11:04 PM
Green Broke
Between my sister and me, we have 5 horses. Two we've had since they hit the ground and the other came from a friend. Those 3 were handled from the day they were born. Haltered, feet played with, touched everywhere, etc... They are way more trusting than the other 2. They don't have as strong a flight response as the other two. They also are more likely to rely on their person's judgement in dangerous situations.
    01-15-2013, 11:59 PM
Originally Posted by LoveTheSaddlebreds    
My old trainer has a halter on them within their first day and leads them with mommy with a halter and lead wherever they go. SO I agree - day one!
Same here! You don't have to bully them by any means... But it's nice to have them smaller and so dependent when you start.
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    01-16-2013, 01:51 AM
We wait until they are weaned. When you have that luxury of being able to wait, there is no real harm in it. I do try to work with them every day, and do as much handling as they allow until they are weaned. While they are with the mare, I give them a choice, because when they are weaned, they lose that. They HAVE to learn when they are weaned(for us, not saying for everyone). It is much simpler when they let me mess with them in the field. They are generally accepting of everything. If they do not allow me to mess with them out there, it gets a little tough, but they just get a crash course in everything I would have done outside.
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    01-16-2013, 09:10 AM
Green Broke
Day one or within the first week at the latest.

My granddad's philosophy was "git to handlin' that foal afore it gits to handlin' you"

They were broke to lead in less than a month. We let the mare do all that work. Pretty easy to teach a foal to "lead" when it's following its dam and then gradually expand on the process
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    01-16-2013, 10:18 AM
I start on day two with first turnout. They get a halter hung on them with a lead but are small enough at that point so I can get a hand on the bum to push to minimise any pulling. I am usually by myself so broodies are just loose to follow along behind. There is also a school of thought that having jr go first encourages a foal to be independant and not herd bound. Within a couple of days (once they get the idea that going out to the paddock is good, and have their own forward momentum) I can switch to the lead alongside mom, again good natured broodies are critical so I can focus on jr.
I have bought unhandled weanlings, I found them easy enough to get basic halterbreaking done, usually do use a bum rope a bit due to their size and again being alone. I have found that they are more inclined to plant their feet and resist moving at a later date (had them until 2 and 3 yr olds) then the ones who learnt as sucklings. I don't know if it is that they have that memory of me being "stronger" then them or is it the bought foals were differrent genetics (nature vs nurture?)

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