Working with a foal - Page 2
 
 

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Working with a foal

This is a discussion on Working with a foal within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

     
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        12-10-2008, 08:00 PM
      #11
    Weanling
    I personally feel that doing that much with a baby would just blow its mind. Most babies aren't mentally ready for that much stimulation. It'd be like taking a human child and cramming almost all of the learning it will do its entire life in the first ten or so years of life. I personally would never expose a baby to that much, most of the babies I know are left out on pasture until their two with minimal handling and by the time they are ready to start their training, even with that minimal handling, they are just as far and as responsive as horses that have been handled constantly.
         
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        12-10-2008, 08:06 PM
      #12
    Trained
    Horses should be horses.
    But working with a horse for 5 at a time just brushing it and touching him isn't going to cause a melt down.
         
        12-10-2008, 08:06 PM
      #13
    Foal
    Okay, I think a lot of this depends on an age. For foals under the one year mark, I do agree that training and working with them should be limited. There is a time for everything, I am a firm believer that babies just need to be babies. This in turn will help them grow and become better, well rounded horses. Playing with them, teaching them boundaries, simple things are all okay. As far as trick training and poneying on trail rides goes, how old are we talking? Personally, I would never do this with a horse under two. It is just to much to comprehend, it can overload the foal. Again, I think it is safe to say that babies, just need to be babies.
         
        12-10-2008, 08:09 PM
      #14
    Trained
    I agree that trick training and poneying is too much.
    Getting them used to be touched and brushed and such I would do from the get go.
    When they reach a year or sometimes two is when I start trailering them places to see things, etc.

    I am -pretty- sure we are agreeing.
         
        12-10-2008, 08:20 PM
      #15
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Spastic_Dove    
    Horses should be horses.
    But working with a horse for 5 at a time just brushing it and touching him isn't going to cause a melt down.
    Oh for sure, that's what I mean by minimal. There's always a happy medium.
         
        12-10-2008, 11:42 PM
      #16
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by onetoomany    
    I personally feel that doing that much with a baby would just blow its mind. Most babies aren't mentally ready for that much stimulation. It'd be like taking a human child and cramming almost all of the learning it will do its entire life in the first ten or so years of life. I personally would never expose a baby to that much, most of the babies I know are left out on pasture until their two with minimal handling and by the time they are ready to start their training, even with that minimal handling, they are just as far and as responsive as horses that have been handled constantly.
    Baby horses are nothing like baby humans, mentally or physically.(Besides the fact that by around 10yo humans also have learned most of what they need to know) They are a precocial species which are designed to learn all they need to know in the first months of life. Further to that, they are far less open to strange situations if they haven't had these experiences from a young age.

    I'm not talking about 'cramming' or blowing minds anyway. I believe in doing things(at whatever age) in a non-confrontational, low stress, low pressure way. I'm not saying I'd be working at getting them excellent at x, y & z by the time they're yearlings or whatever - I think working to a preconceived schedule with horses can become a problem & can lead to over doing it.

    The babies I've had the pleasure to play with have been keen, confident & required very little further training by the age of 2-3, whereas I've also had quite a lot to do with horses that have been left unhandled & depending on their personalities, they can find it quite stressful, having to learn it all then.

    Quote:
    As far as trick training and poneying on trail rides goes, how old are we talking? Personally, I would never do this with a horse under two. It is just to much to comprehend, it can overload the foal. Again, I think it is safe to say that babies, just need to be babies.
    Why is trick training, for eg. Any different to anything else you would teach - picking up feet, for eg? IME the best way to get that 'well rounded horse' is to give them many & varied *good* experiences from a young age.

    As for ponying for eg, I'm a hoof care practitioner & concerned also with the physical side of horses being 'left to mature' in cushy paddocks without sufficient exercise. So many horses already have pathological hoof problems by 4-6 months with this treatment, which is so unhealthy for animals designed to do many miles per day from the day they were born.
         
        12-11-2008, 01:28 AM
      #17
    Foal
    Okay, yes trick training is very different, as in I find it useless information. Lets keep in my they are horses, not dogs. I would find that teaching a horse to properly lift up its hooves, is a little more relevant than teaching it to bow? Then again, that is just my opinion. So you are a hoof care practitioner? May I ask just what methods of hoof care you choose to follow? As far as letting babies be babies, I have done with my own mare. She's three now and I think she turned out pretty nicely, I don't know what your paddocks look like, but pretty sure mine are fairly well maintained...Not too cushy... Not too firm... Nope just right. I don't know though, I mean I guess she is still learning. Not at all like the 3 year olds that you have worked with who seem all set in training department. You know, because they don't still act young and green at that age or anything.
         
        12-11-2008, 01:32 AM
      #18
    Weanling
    You're telling me that you knew mostly everything you needed to know by you were 10? Call me skeptical. You knew how to make your way in life, provide for yourself in an economical sense, upper level mathmatics, classic British literature, philosophy, theology. Heck lets break it down, you had the common sense to make it through life by the time you were 10? WOW. I am impressed. Then again apparently you didn't know mostly everything by the time you were ten, as you still don't know the nature of an analogy.

    Yes they do know everything they need to know to get through their life in a few months... in the wild. When we take them out of that environment though and are requiring them to learn added forgien, behaviors we are introducing new patterns into their lives. We are expecting them to respond with a desired behavior to a stimulus. This is not instinctual learning and they most certianly would not be learning these behaviors on their own. Any creature that has too many stimuli introduced in a small amount of time will begin to stress.

    You also seem to be suffering under the misconception of "old dogs can't learn new tricks." Oddly enough, old dogs can learn new tricks! Lets take a parade for example. If you were to take a three month old foal and put it in a parade, it would freak because it would be over stimulated, no matter what kind of prep the foal has had. In another scenario we can take a ten year old horse that has been brought along slow and easy and put it in the same parade with much different results. Yes, the ten year old will be spooked, but not nearly so much as they have learned from a life time of experience to trust their handlers.

    Or maybe you just haven't really had experience with hot horses? Perhaps the horses you think are very sensitive and responsive are actually plugs to the rest of the world. Everything is relative.
         
        12-11-2008, 09:03 AM
      #19
    Yearling
    Lol.

    I completely agree with loosie, and I think people are silly. :P

    I work in the APHA/AQHA pleasure world. These people bring weanlings to the showgrounds (regardless of if they're showing), they trailer yearlings along to sit in the stalls and learn how to handle new environments, they walk babies around the showgrounds. These horses, at very young ages, are 'over exposed', and talk to behave like grown horses. And you know what the difference is?

    You can't tell the difference between a 2 year old and a 7 year old.

    These horses aren't unresponsive or dull because they're being introduced to new things all of the time (...just like babies in the wild would). At 2-3 years old they ground tie, have NO problems with new show grounds, and can move around the pen like any seasoned veteran. It makes me laugh when I see 'babies' at USEF shows that are 'green'. When they really just mean, 'poorly trained'. (Not saying all green babies at USEF shows are poorly trained--but in my experiences, it is the USUAL case.)

    There is no problem with walking babies, even for a mile or so. They'd be doing this in the wild, and promotes proper bone and hoof growth. By taking them to new environments, they never get bored.

    My weanling goes out 4-3 times a week, walking, exploring new trails, practicing paitence, stands to be tied, backs, is a gentleman with the farrier, loads, etc. At the start of the show season, he'll be going to shows to get used to it.

    You know what IS an overload, though? Letting a horse prance around and do nothing for three years and then demand he have a 30-minute to and hour attention span, demand him to respect people, load into trailers, show, ride, etc. That's why babies 'blow up' so often, why they don't settle at show grounds.

    I don't think that leaving a baby in a field forever is terribly bad, though. The end result is the same, it's really just personal preference. With my warmblood sporthorse colt who's going to stay a stallion, however, I'd like him to learn his manners when he's small, lol!

    I also agree that more often then not, babies are handled incorrectly, and THAT is why they are dull and unresponsive. It's not to say you can't handle them--it's to say that most of the time, it's just done poorly.
         
        12-11-2008, 09:25 AM
      #20
    Foal
    I have to agree with loosie and mayfieldk also. Now it's been awhile since I'v raised a foal, but the two I have raised were handled from day one. Both filliies turned out great, and when it was time to saddle up and ride, they both stood perfectly still for mounting and moved forward when asked.

    I have a 3mo old now and we also have a 10mo old. The 10mo old was left in a paddock with little ever done with him. His hooves were in terrible shape and it took a week to get him to allow us to pick up and clean out his feet. My 3mo old was well cared for and handled from day one. So when I got her she already allows me to handle her feet, she leads & ties. Her hooves are also in great condition. I believe that spending time with them and teaching ground manners from a young age gets better results in a much less stressfull and much safer manner. But to each their own. Everyone has what works for them.
         

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