Training program for a young horse?
Hey guys! I'm sure some of you guys have seen my otherr posts about my lovley baby, LaKota :) he is six months old, and I was curious about what can I do training wise with him at this age? We have been handling feet, ears, mouth, we are working on tying, does fly spray, all that. What can I do from now, until he turns three (when I plan to start backing lightly)
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I put saddle pads on my young horses and when they get to be around one I have a super light nylon saddle i put on them as well. I also teach my young horses to move to hand pressure it helps when they get old if they will move off or away such as in going through a gate or if then horse is bumping you. I usually add a voice command such a back or over. Even if they move a little praise them it also teaches them to respect your space. I just have to lightly touch all my horses and I have control of their body on the ground and later you can transfer this to riding in the saddle. I also like to show horses new and interesting things its good to show horses new things aren't always so scary. Well I'm sure there is more thats all i can think of right now.
Do some clinton anderson groundwork. I'm not normally a huge fan of following a large group in a "fad trainer" but I actually and susprisingly REALLY like his methods for babies. Just yielding all the body parts, doing the lunging for respect (Not for long periods of time, just a couple circles each way and then call it quits)
Desnsitize a little,rub some saddle pads along him, touch the "Oh-no" spots, then just leave him alone and let him be a horse for awhile. mess with him again after he's a yearling, give him his first saddle, maybe have a light rider shift over his back (But don't actually ride, just get him used to the weight for about five seconds at a time) and get him suppling in a snaffle bit.
After you do that once or twice as a yearling, I say toss them back to the pasture again and wait a couple months and do it again. IMO it's okay to do these things like sitting on your babies (From the time they are yearlings though, onward) I mean, its not like you're asking for perfection or for them to be loping circles or even walk. And you don't do it every single day, just do it once until they relax then leave them be for six months, do it again, don't mess with the til they're two.
EDIT: Forgot something. How I got the most gentle, seasoned, calm and desnsitized horses I have ever owned was to just take them EVERYWHERE with me from the time they were babies. They come with me to shows, to walmart, down the trail with the big horses, and all over the place. Then they see differant things and it becomes routine, not a new experience.
I personally don't recommend getting on a young horses back for any period of time till they are old enough and large enough. Getting on a young horses back is a gamble in hurting their spinal health and can cause injury or sway back. There is no reason to get in a hurry to put on a rider for now ground work and desensitizing is best. I had a horse who I didn't ride till he was three because he was a small two year old and I felt that riding him would not be best for his health so I just did work with a saddle on his back. When I got on him when he was three he has been my easiest green horse I have ever had. If I put someone on him and didn't say anything you would hardly know I've only been riding him for a month. I mess with my young horses as often a possible. I build a relationship with respect and trust so by the time they are ready to ride the horse is trusting when you get on their back. I have yet to have a horse I've raised from the time they were a weanling to the time it was time to ride ever try to buck me off. I had 7 babies raised and broke by myself so far and many of other peoples young horses so this is the best advice I can give you.
I will agree that no young horse should carry a rider for damage; but literally stepping over and sliding off the other side isn't going to break their backs; And you don't do it more than twice, tops, and you don't sit there for hours upon hours, just a second or not even that. I only do it once, then leave the horse alone for six months or until they're ready to be started. That, and we're doing this to a yearling, NOT the age the horse is now.
I agree with PBR on this one. No wieght at all on a baby that young.
Set up your trail obstacles and teach him to walk over the bridge, go through the gate (you can actually make him do it as if you were on him), walk him over poles and over tarps. Keep his mind fresh and working.
If he loves doing it you learn all about their personality as you work with them like this. Most of all spend the time getting to know his likes and dislikes, his weaknesses and strengths as you do ground work as later on when you do ride him you will know what to expect of him.
There are plenty of groundwork exercises that clinton anderson does, without backing them. He usually starts that around 2.
Flex his head from side to side (touch his belly) This gets them soft
Yeild his hindquarters and forquarters.
Move off of pressure.
Work on backing.
Get him used to scarey things, tarps, barrels, plastic bags.
Desensitize him with the lead rope. gently toss it all over his body until he stands still and it relaxed about it.
Spend lots of time with him. Grooming, playing, touching, rubbing, and slowly start doing some of the ground work that will get them ready for saddle breaking by the time he's 3 or 4. I was ground driving my youngest colt by 6 months old, just put a halter on him and clipped 2 long lines to the halter and we 'drove' all around our pastures, taught him whoa, back up, and turning on direct rein. Now as a yearling, we'll continue with that but I'll add a bareback pad with girth and stirrups, surcingle, and by the end of the year a lightweight english saddle for him to carry on our 'driving' sessions. As a 2 year old, I'll start getting him used to a nice, fat snaffle bit and headstall and start incorporating the use of side reins and draw reins in our ground driving lessons, by the time he's 3 he'll be used to the bit, saddle and steering and have a headset. All that will be left is to actually climb on him and get him used to leg cues.
Doing what your describing on a yearling can absolutely injure their backs. And why throw him out in the field for six months? Brush him play with him pick up his feet the more time u spend with them, even if it's just to maybe brush them and talk to him, the easier he will be to train come saddle time. You don't have to listen to me but I hope you will reconsider getting on your yearlings back. It's not worth the risk. I have personally seen people injure their young horses getting on their back that young.
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