Appropriate and Optimal training for a Yearling
There is a similar thread posted that I read through, but rather than hijacking that one with my questions, I thought I would start a fresh thread since it is a slightly different topic.
I am wondering about the opinion of others on the subject of training yearlings. What do you think a yearling should know how to do?
My current yearling is picking up lessons as fast as I can present them to him. I find myself continually fascinated by how willingly and easily he learns.
I spend about 15-30 minutes on sessions that I vary quite a bit in consideration of his attention span. Currently, he is starting to learn voice commands (stand, halt, walk, easy, good, trot), He will free lunge at a walk and easy trot, transitioning as signaled. He will lead at a walk and trot, responding to cues. He also accepts and investigates new 'scary' objects. He loads and unloads in a trailer calmly. He stands tied and stands untied. He stands for the farrier. He backs. He stands for blanketing. He is staring to understand the cues for lunging on the line, though I'm keeping that very slow and easy in consideration of his growing state. That's all that comes to mind at the moment, but this has been in just over a month that we have worked on these things.
I guess I am just asking about this, partially to see if others think he's on par with where he should be. I am also wondering about what other things I can add in to keep it fresh. He is the smartest, most willing and calm horse that I have trained, and I'm loving it.
I have a tendency to get really wordy! :)
I guess what I'm getting at in this thread is... What would you like your yearling to be able to do?
My boy is picking up lessons as fast as I throw them at him and I really want to keep up the forward momentum.
I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on this.
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How is he for bathing, clipping, tying, trailering?
He's apprehensive, but standing quietly for bathing, though I'm being really quiet and deliberate about it. He also ties without issue, but I'm being pretty careful there too until I know he is very good with giving to pressure (he is... But I don't want to deal with a puller later on). I am just introducing the clippers, and haven't actually clipped yet, but I can run them all over him and he really likes the tickle on his muzzle. :)
Thanks for the response!
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Can you haul him somewhere nearby and just get him used to going to new places--even just the next barn over or to a friend's place across town? Eventually you can haul him to noisier or more exciting places or make him work when you get there, but he IS a baby. It is nice when you take a youngster to his first show and it's no big deal!
How is he with water? I hate it when horses make big moves to skirt puddles. He should eventually know how to walk through water in hand and later, under saddle. You never know when you might need that skill!
What about flapping (flags and tarps) and loud, sudden noises or movements like a backfire or birds flying out of the grass? Having things flung across his back or brushing his sides (think rider taking off jacket)? Being flysprayed?
How is he around things like minis, cows, or carriages? I once heard of a horse at a CCI*** spooking at someone schooling a four in hand, dumping the rider, breaking its leg, and being put down. My friend couldn't ride her horse near cows and would scratch events when XC went by a cow pasture and the cows were out. I have seen numerous horses spook at minis.
You can also have fun and trick train him--just make sure you don't teach him anything that could lead to later undesirable behavior (pawing and the like).
As an adult ammy eventer, I want a horse that can go to a show and not be a complete doofus or loose his mind. I want him comfortable with normal grooming, maintenance, tacking, etc. or taking off a jacket while riding. I want to be able to do things like walk near the bit check tent and not have the horse become tense before a dressage test. I want him to go through water without a thought. Basically I want a horse that is confident in himself and is willing to at least try what I ask of him.
Sounds like a nice horse in the making and like you are doing a great job getting a good foundation on him!
Thanks for all the great ideas. I don't have a trailer, but I do know a few people I can get to haul for me. This will definitely be on my to do list.
Thanks for the water idea. I've let him investigate some puddles, but I think I need to seek out a body of water I can work on taking him through.
I really appreciate the idea o other animals and contraptions! I am definitely going to try to find ways to give him these exposures!
I am also looking for a horse that I can show and take to other events... And I want him to keep a cool head. :)
I think he may be a really fabulous horse. I can't wait to see where his talents lie.
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My boy knows how to lead, stand, tie, back, yield to pressure, flex to pressure, yield hindquarters, stand for trimming, and trailer. He's also a pro about getting shots and being wormed. How is your boy on that? I would much rather fight and win with a 5-600 pound yearling over shots and worming than a full grown horse. Can you do the sending exercise? Send him from your side to the other and yielding his hindquarters with a whoa. A GREAT exercise for trailer loading. My boy literally hops into the trailer with a point of the finger. Backing out, not so much haha. He's getting better though.
How is he with things around his head? Does he yield to poll pressure? Can you mess with his ears? My boy used to have no problem with things(like tarps and stuff) going over and covering his head. But since his accident he FLIPS out. Something I am slowly working on but I don't want to overload him too much. Can you touch him anywhere? How is he for sheath cleaning? You may not have gotten to that yet. But I'll tell you I'm glad that Henny looooves it. A little too much, I think. :wink:
Oh, and we demand pictures!
I'm not sure about how he does with shots because he had them done in Oregon before we had him brought up here... but the vet did say that he was a gentleman.
I like the idea of working with the wormer! I've started working with inserting my finger into the corner of his mouth, but I have a tube of wormer that I can practice with too.
I'm not quite sure how you do the sending, but I have been able to send him from a leading position into a lunge circle... might be similar?
I haven't actually cleaned his sheath yet, but have handled the area, and it seems that will go well when I actually do the deed... my least favorite thing to do I think! :)
It sounds like I could use some practice with him on flexing. Could you be more specific on the sort of flexing exercises you are doing at this point?
Also, I love your guy's name... Henry. He has to be a great guy with such a great name. Reuben's full name is Reuben J Cogburn (hence my username), which is a John Wayne character.... but also a sandwich, which is just silly. :) My poor boy gets called Ruby a lot.
Here are a couple photos, but I'll post some better ones after taking them today... I just realized how poor a job I've been doing at being a photo taking mom! :)
The Sending Exercise is where the horse starts on one side of you and you send them to your other side and yield their hind quarters. Like a half lunge circle. You can send them through gates(very convenient) and send them into the trailer(also very, very convenient.)
Flexing is really easy, but it may take a couple times to get it. Stand at their hip and rest your arm on it. Pull their heads to the side and wait for them to reach towards you instead of just resting against the halter. At the slightest give, release pressure and give them lots of pats. He may think you're trying to turn him, so he may try yielding his hindquarters to you. But you need to keep at his hip and keep pressure on the halter until he stops and gives to you so he knows what you're asking. The flexing exercise is great for under saddle work in the future. It gets them "loosey goosey" instead of having a straight unbendable neck due to always neck-reining. It makes them more "supple" I guess you can call it.
Thank you! :) His name is actually Hennessy, but I just call him Henny. Your boy is adorable! Working with babies is so much fun. I much prefer teaching babies new things than reteaching spoiled grown horses. If my boy has any training problems, they're no one's fault but mine as I've owned him since he was 4 months old. It makes you a lot prouder of the little stinkers when they're so well behaved haha.
Thanks Kayella! I've got a nice new list of things to work on now. Both the sending and flexing exercises will be perfect.
I agree about preferring to start your own. I like trying to anticipate and prevent possible behavior/training issues before they arise! It's funny because on one hand I am excited for the day that I start him under saddle, but I'm also not in any rush because he is so fun at this stage. I'm excited about long lining as a transitional phase. :)
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