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Possibly getting colt need some input!!!
I may possibly be getting a 4 month old colt mid august. I was wondering what exactly do you teach a weanling? He's already trailer broke, halter/lead broke, he picks up all 4 feet without a problem, he's very friendly and curious, he can be groomed with no problem, he stands tied well. Is there anything more to teach him at this point?
My aunt used to breed and sell Appaloosas (thats what he is, an Appy) so I know I can use her as a resource but I'd like to know you guy's opinions.
Desensitize him to clippers, spray bottles, plastic bags, blankets, flags, whatever you can imagine. Even if you think he will never be confronted with an item in his life, those kind of exercises build confidence. Teach him to back consistently in a straight line, drop his head to poll pressure, yield hindquarters and forequarters. Teach him to trot next to you on the lead. Take him through obstacle courses, over tarps, through water, over ground poles. Take him for walks around the property.
Re: Possibly getting colt need some input!!!
You can do a lot with foals. They are like kids, they will need regular reminders of what they already know. expose them arenas, other horses, traffic, clippers, blankets, sprays etc
Work a lot with their feet, show them things that would normally scare them. Expose them now and teach to trust you. There are a few really good books on raising youngsters with ideas. The internet is also full of information.
great advice sara!!! well she pretty much summed it up for you. a desenitized(sp) horse as a weanling makes for a great show horse. oh if you keep him a stallion i would suggest putting vix vapor rub in his nose when at a show, trailride or anything of that nature so he dose not become the stallion on prowl =).
I hate that - it's happened a couple of times on this forum - I wrote a reply to this thread earlier & it was there, but has disappeared!!??
I wrote that horses are mentally ready to learn everything they need to know soon after birth, so you can teach him everything you can think of - aside of course from weightbearing. Desensitising and teaching yielding are the most important 'exercises' IME.
But IMO, more important than the specifics of what you teach him is how you teach him and the attitudes you produce. You want him to learn that he can trust and respect you - that you are considerate and respectFUL of his feelings. You want to teach him that everything you do with him is Good and rewarding. Desesnistise him to scaries in a positive and non-confrontational way. Using approach & retreat, lots of positive reinforcement and teaching tricks are all good ingredients to create a willing, fun attitude.
It's great that he's had a start on some things already, but I wouldn't consider him 'broke' to even these few things until he's got a lot more experience & repetition under his belt.
As a hoofcare practitioner, I appreciate the difference between hooves that have been regularly trimmed since birth, to those that have been neglected for the first year or 2, as is unfortunately common. It's great to see he's had his feet played with already. Doing what you can to ensure he's good for the farrier ASAP will be to his benefit.
One thing you mentioned that I would strongly caution against is firmly tying a baby, especially by the head or neck. Accidents & injuries can happen to grown horses who pull back, but they are far more likely in babies who aren't as strong. 'Staggers' is one neurological 'disorder' which has been associated to young horses being tied & fighting.
I would not start teaching a horse to tie until he'd been well taught to yield in all ways, and desensitised to all sorts. After this, I would teach them to 'tie' using a long rope wrapped a few times around a rail with me on the end, or with the help of a 'tie ring' or such. I wouldn't tie even a grown horse firmly until those preliminaries were well taught, to minimise the risk of injury & accidents... & bad attitudes towards being restrained.
sara is so right. anything you can possibly imagine, get him used to. then start putting the saddle pad on and then the saddle. with the saddle on him, make noises like slapping the stirrups against the saddle.
I hate pushing a product, but I found Clinton Anderson's dvd series "Handling Foals, Weanlings and Yearlings" to be extremely helpful. When I got my weanling, he was pretty much where yours is training-wise and I was wondering the same thing "what the heck am I gonna do with him...?"
Needless to say, I've found a LOT to do. Desensitizing is very formulaic and easy once you learn the basic process. What the videos have helped me with most is sensitizing him to pressure and gaining control of his feet. He's always been very good-natured and calm, but he was also slow to react when I ask him to move and downright pushy sometimes.
Now, I can put a finger on his nose, say "back" and he will...which is great when you enter the stall with an armful of hay. If he gets crooked in the crossties, I can basically look hard at his butt, shake my finger, and he'll step over straight in back. He no longer crowds me in his stall or at the gate of the paddock. Those are just a couple of examples which make life a little easier, but having control of the feet becomes invaluable when you take a colt into new situations.
It could be going to a scary new place, like a show barn, it could be just walking past the flirty mare in heat a few stalls down, but having those ingrained ground work exercises gives you and your horse a safety zone to fall back to. He'll have a lot more respect for you as the leader who keeps him safe, and you'll have tried and true methods to deal with anything he might do, from bolting to rearing or striking.
I didn't mean to write so much, but I really sympathize with you. Wikke is the first horse I've owned this young; I had a lot of the same thoughts before he came home with me :P
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