Hello, I'm new, and looking for advice on my foal.
Hello everyone! I'm new here.
I have a 18month old foal that is the light of my life and the reason I get up in the morning. Briefly (haha....!), she's currently stood at 15hh but is going to be huge, SO much bone, and is skewbald. She's a charity rescue and she's called WHW Puzzle.
Basically, she loves me. But I struggle with my authority around horses, and sometimes this means that when she's having a baby moment, she'll ignore me and do what she wants. I'm not naive enough to believe she'll ALWAYS listen, as sometimes she is going to be a baby!! But I really struggle with my nerves around horses anyway and she can make it worse!
I'm looking for exercises that I can do in our 20x40 school. Although it is securely fenced, I'm nervous about letting her off a lead rope or lunge line completely as its not my school so I'm a bit nervous about her trashing the place!
I'm really open to any ideas, so please suggest away!
You can try mirroring her moves and what she is doing. This can be fun and get her attention too. Do you have an equine ball. those can also be a lot of fun. Just remember to keep it brief with the youngster since her attention span is probably quite short and she probably loses interest easily, so making it fuun for her should help. Good luck with your baby!
Hi! Thank you so much for your reply =] that sounds great, mirroring her moves.
When you say keep it short, should I, for example, just do one thing for 5mins and then put her back in her box/field, or do you mean just keep alternating what I do, so spend perhaps half hour with her but doing lots of different things of 5mins each?
I was also wondering whether I can teach her voice commands that we'll use when she's ridden, e.g. walk on, trot on etc. I know I cant lunge her shes still far too young but if I walk/run along side her?
Also worth adding that I show her (only little silly shows) in the summer. Last summer we only went to two, entered a few novelty classes and I let her do whatever she wanted (like eating the grass, giving me kisses...!) so long as she stood still.
I would just switch it up with her. You can do lots of things with her on a leadline. Walking, halting, trotting, turns, giving to pressure...even ground driving. At that age, they have such a short attention span...it is best to keep the lessons small and to the point. If, say, you are asking her to back...the second she makes an effort, take the pressure away and move on to something else. Good luck!
If you have something like showmanship there, it can be great for youngsters.
It teaches them to stand, move their bodies, trot, and have generally really good ground manners.
By now she should be able to be touched all over her body, have her feet picked up and handled, brushed, etc.
If not you can work on that with her.
She's old enough now that she should be able to focus for a little longer on one thing, but it depends on the horse. I would just be watching what she is telling you. If she seems to be getting frazzled and confused reward the simplest effort in the right direction and then move onto something else. Always quit the day on a good note.
I think 15-30 minutes of varied work on her should be okay. But again, look for what she is telling you.
I don't really remember how long you should really train before their mind wanders but I think the voice commands would be a good idea! Start out doing whoa and don't change until she gets it perfect (you don't want to try teaching her more than one at a time as it can make her a bit confused)
Wow that showmanship stuff looks really good, I havent done that sort of stuff in depth with her yet but I'll definitely try!
She is touched all over, picks all 4 feet up, has seen the dentist and the farrier on regular cycles with the oldies, wears a rug (both her fleece and her rustley horse eating one...!) and I can lean fully over her and have a 'leg up' (without swinging my leg over and sitting on her!!) on both sides.
WHW did a fantastic job with her, when we got her at 8months she was a dream. She loads herself onto the trailer already, shes a superstar.
Thank you so much guys, you've been so friendly =] keep any thoughts coming! xxx
Flamehead, you sound a lot like me! My mare blessed me with my first ever foal in July. He is 5 months old now, and I am absolutely ga-ga over him! I am so in love, it is crazy. Any thing that goes wrong worries me sick!
Even though I have known from the get-go I must demand respect, I admit I smothered him quite a bit when he was little. Heck, now too. So he is sweet and gentle and does basically everything I ask, but he's also very mouthy and I worry we will have respect issues as he gets older if I don't draw the line now. But really, I make him sound worse than he is. He is very gentle and easy to work with.
Anyway, yes, they can learn voice commands. This is the first horse I have trained from scratch, and a neighbor with more experience taught me to use a kissing sound as a cue to move his feet. He picked up on that right away. I also have a habit of telling my horses "back" when I am asking them to back up, and "over" when asking them to step over away from pressure on the hip or barrel. So I use those with him too and he moves over away from pressure as good as my adult horses now. :-) (I still have to poke him with a finger to get the response, but I feel the verbal command backs it up)
So what I've done with my foal is:
practice leading (from both sides) at a walk and a trot
move away from my finger pressing him at his shoulder, barrel, chest and hip (butt area is kind of difficult because he wants to be scratched, lol!)
pick up his feet
pony off another horse
grooming in general- because I think it's good bonding for us and he enjoys it
and going for walks around the property (one of the harder things for him for some reason. That is where he frequently gets playful and acts up)
Another thing you can go is make a bit of an obstacle course to lead her around and over. Such as walking over something like a sheet or a tarp.
So I am training my first baby ever and have a lot to learn myself, but what I figure I should do, is do everything (in small increments) that I would want him to do as an adult. Even getting ready for a saddle- my guy is too small for that, but I do buckle a cinch around his belly when I pony him out. Has your girl worn a saddle yet? Even if they are too young to ride, my neighbor will put a lightweight saddle on her yearlings and 2 yr olds when she ponys them out, so they are used to the feel of it.
Well, that's all I can think of right now. :D
Trailhorserider, the obstacle course is something I thought about doing ages ago and had completely forgotten! Well done you for reminding me, thank you!
You're right, I'm totally gaga about her. I'm relatively new to horses and honestly, you could rent her out as "horse ownership for dummies"!
Loads of really great ideas there, thank you so so so much. xxxxx
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