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Eos 10-09-2011 07:44 PM

New to the horse world and needing suggestions on training young horses
 
So I am new to owning horses but have had plenty of experience riding and caring for them when I was younger, I just never had to choose what to feed them or what size saddle etc..

I am hoping that all of you horse people will be able to help me.

I have two 3 year old Percheron`s that we`ve had since they were 10 months old, for being baby horses they are fairly well behaved.

I realize we will most likely have to buy more than one saddle as they are still growing but I was hoping some of you could please suggest what type of saddle (preferably western) might be good for training?
How do you measure a horse for a saddle?
I`m hoping we will be able to get away with a used saddle, the biggest we can find until they are full grown and then we will get a proper draft horse saddle.

Also, any suggestions on how to train horses to tie? I`m afraid to tie them because I don`t want them to hurt themselves trying to break free.

What type and size bit should I get? and how to I `measure`them for a bit?

Any thing else you can suggest?

EveningShadows 10-09-2011 08:34 PM

If they're only "fairly well behaved" on the ground it sounds like they're not yet ready for saddles and bits...get them round penning, lunging, leading and respecting your space at all times. Yielding their hindquarters and shoulders every time you ask, being respectful when you work around them in the barn and pick out their feet - if they don't respect you FULLY on the ground, they'll have no respect for you on their backs.

I see no reason why used tack cannot be found - for 3 year old drafts you'll probably want to look for a wide tree. I'd find someone willing to let you try the saddle on your horses and have someone with experience in fitting saddles come over to approve the fit. VERY important that the saddle doesn't pinch or push on any nerves or make sore spots or it'll cause bad behavior that might be misinterpreted as baby shinanigans instead of ill fitting tack.

To measure the mouth I first borrowed a bit from someone, put it in, and decided if it was too big/small. For Percherons I'd say between a 5" and 6" for now, might have to buy bigger as they age. I have a 1/2 Clyde and she's a 5 1/4" as a 4 year old.

As for the tying...I'm old school. I'd rather have a horse/foal haul back and step up not getting free than have them break a twine and learn that hauling back means they're free every time. Granted there is POTENTIAL for the horse to injure themselves by doing this (pull a muscle or strain something) but I'd rather give a week/month off to heal and not deal with it again than constantly worry about when they're going to haul back on me.

To teach my 1/2 Clyde to tie I picked a nice, SOLID Oak tree with no low branches, single trunk. Tied a rope just above eye level for her so even when she hauled back she couldn't get leverage on it, and tied her short - maybe 3 feet long? I called it my patience post. We worked at tying in intervals, starting with short amounts of time til she stood still and didn't pull on it, increasing the amount of time each time. That being said, I NEVER left her unattended and always had a knife in hand incase of emergency. She had her moments of don't wanna be here anymore and hauled back on it, gave a couple good wrenches and stepped up like a respectable member of equine society. Once she was still and calm, I unclipped her and lots of pets and grooming and such...

Have to weigh the pro's and con's on this one I think and each to their own. I know some members here would prefer to tie with twine and if they haul back and get free, so be it - go catch them and tie them again with twine. I prefer to know my horse will be where I tied her when I get back from wherever I needed to go.

Crossties are tougher...work on the tying period and work off of that. Crossties, ironically, I always have up with twine. A horse in crossties should know how to tie and not be a threat to haul back - but when tied from both sides of the face, if they spook forward or whatnot, it's possible for them to flip themselves on their backs and that's just dangerous for everyone...

Good luck with your babies though and let us know how you do with tying and saddle fitting.

Eos 10-09-2011 08:52 PM

Thanks for the tips!

I've already been on my mares back with only a bareback pad, she didn't buck or act out in anyway, she just kept looking back at my feet and tried nibbling my shoe once.

They stand for the farrier and to get their feet picked out and compared to some older trained horses they are well behaved.

I will definitely work on getting them used to tying, I'm not worried about losing a rope or two, I guess I just need to be tough and let them get over the initial fear.

Thanks again for the tips! I'll ask more questions when I have some.

EveningShadows 10-09-2011 09:15 PM

It's either be tough and they'll get over the initial fear or forever cater to their dislike of being stationary. You're setting them up and molding them into the horses you want them to be. Better to bite the bullet now and teach them to stand tied quiet.

And most of my youngsters didn't give me guff until ride 8-9. The first handful of rides are always curious and pleasant unless you skipped steps in the groundwork!

Good luck though and be sure to post progress!

its lbs not miles 10-09-2011 10:46 PM

Wish you asked that when they were 10 months :lol:
Loved having them younger than a year to start with. By the time the young ones were 2 we could walk them along the highway with speeding traffic going by and could saddle them before they were 3. It was so great to have all the ground work done before they were old enough to train under the saddle.
Much different than starting with a 3 or 4 year old.
As for the saddle, EveningShadows pretty much covered that. It's not rocket science. Get one that fits well, but don't break the bank at this point, because as you said you'll end up getting a different one before it's over since their backs do change with age (and they're still at the young stage)


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