New Friesian yearling.
I used to have horses years ago. I was into hunter/jumpers for ten years but that was a long time ago. I just recently moved to a place where I could keep horses and I now have a yearling Friesian stallion. Let's see.... he's 15 months old now, and I've had him for a couple of months. My discipline of choice will be dressage.
I've never had a youngster before. I'm curious to know what I can be doing with him at this point, and I've gotten conflicting advice so far. He leads pretty well, ties, loads. I've been working on him lifting his feet and we're getting pretty good at that. I bought some natural horsemanship books and I really like the approach. I really need to teach him to respect my space, that's been a bit of a problem, though he respects the lead and follows well. It's like... oh gee, you were standing there?
I have a round pen and someone said, oh you have to wait until he's two, and someone else said, heck you can start lunging when they're one. I'd love to get some advice! Thanks.
I wouldn't do a bunch of circles when he is young. I'm just posting that so I can say that you have to post pictures since you used New and Friesian in the title. It's mandatory! : )
Joe, I haven't gotten around to taking any pictures yet, but I will. :) He's getting fuzzy for winter already. Thanks for the advice too.
Pretty horse in your avatar.
The lunge/round pen debate is a tricky one - I'm not a huge fan of lunging, but we use round pens which I vastly prefer especially for youngsters. In a round pen, they can find their own balance and make their own judgment calls. You don't want to run them in circles, but it's good for learning respect and commands. I typically begin round penning at between a year and 2 years, but they're very short sessions.
At this age I'm usually getting them used to everything I can - they can't be ridden, but they can certainly be getting accustomed to a lightweight English saddle and a bridle. A lot of in hand work is invaluable - I like to "mock" train for showmanship, just reaching them to pivot away and give to pressure, to square up and remain still, and all sorts of other goodies you may never use in a showring but will keep your horse focused and learning.
If I can't ride 'em, I bombard 'em - loading, clipping, handling, farrier work, getting used to equipment, bathing, tarp work, desensitization, voice commands, etc. Anything I can think of to work on, we do because I find it really help produce a well mannered horse. Nothing is saying these things have to be done, but if you can't ride then why not right?
I think light lunging would be good at this age - just keep the sessions short and interesting. Don't worry too much about the canter - keep it mostly at the walk and trot, and work more on commands than actually running in circles!
Good luck! Im sure he will end up to be stunning!!!
With youngsters and lunging, I never use a roundpen and never go faster than a walk until they understand what it means when you send them away from you, and when you ask them to stop. Free-lunging in a roundpen can initiate the flight instinct, which you never want to do, especially with a baby ... a lot of people mistake chasing their horse around the rail of a roundpen with a buggy whip for lunging. Once you can establish whoa's and go's on the lunge-line, you can translate that to free-lunging.
PS, I second the picture request! :-)
I would be VERY cautious with lunging a youngster, particularly a friesian youngster as they are a slow maturing breed. There is plenty you can work on in hand, as macabre posted above. I would wait until 2 at least before attempting any circle work, particularly if your round yard is fairly small (less than 20m)
I wanted to write and thank you guys for this post. This question has come up with training my own 1.5 year old thoroughbred filly. I haven't been sure how much to train her and when to introduce things like lunging because I really don't want to push her too much and end up with health or behavioral problems later.
Right now she knows how to walk in hand (I haven't had much success teaching her to trot in hand, some advice there would be appreciated). She is an angel at backing up and giving to pressure. She picks up all feet great and baths. I haven't had to move her much but she doesn't give too much trouble loading into a trailer.
I purchased her at just under five months and spent the first three months I had her "sacking" her out daily. She isn't afraid of much at all now and is the first horse to greet you in the field. She's very personable and is eager to learn.
What else can I train her now while she is a baby?
Thanks so much! God Bless
Tara, I think now that you've done so much with her, it's always a good idea to turn her out for at least 6 months with a bunch of other horses. It's great to teach them the basics, but they need to learn to be in a herd situation. There have been a few 'backyard breeder' instances where I am, where the owner/breeder has handled the foal/youngsters so much, they they become TOO personable and give a huge amount of grief to break. A horse that has SOME fear is actually far easier to break, than one that is not scared, a confident horse will be the one that gives you an attitude, and you don't want that with a breaker.
I second the idea that you cannot post without pictures when your title includes "Friesian"..... ;)
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