Exercising a Young Horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 01-18-2020, 01:07 PM Thread Starter
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Exercising a Young Horse

Hello! I'm raising/training my first foal, who will now be 2 in March. She's a bit of a stink, and I confess I'm having a rough time with her. Her ground manners are all pretty good; she stands tied, loads, backs, supples, yields hind quarters, stands for the farrier, etc. She will be going to a professional trainer this summer to have her ground manners polished and start working under saddle (by working I mean ponying under saddle, getting comfy with tack in general).

I only own her and her mother, so she is VERY buddy sour. It makes training incredibly difficult. Right now we are focusing on hand walking, because I don't like to lunge them a lot this young. She has gotten so much better hand walking; we've established much more respect so she doesn't try to run me down, no longer bucks, pulls, etc. But oh my Lord the amount of spooking and prancing this girl can do is unreal!

I think her issues are thus; 50% buddy sour, 50% not getting enough exercise. Her mom is my only other horse, and they are dry lotted for the winter. Their dry lot is almost 1 acre, but her mom is older and very laid back; there's not a lot of movement going on.

The last thing I want is for her to see her training sessions with me as "crazy time". I don't want to just get her out and lunge her until she drops, but when I work her she's wound up so tight! How can I help her relax on our hand walks? How do I increase her exercise? I have two young kids, so I really don't have a ton of time.

I'm doing my best. Thank you!
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Last edited by loosie; 01-24-2020 at 05:39 AM.
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post #2 of 3 Old 01-18-2020, 03:15 PM
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Where are you located? I would say just leave her be for now and when winter is fading and weather is more favorable and you have more time then start back spending it with her. If you don't have a copy of Cherry Hills 101 Ground Training get a copy and use this time to read. I'd also get familiar with ground driving and practice on an older trained animal so you have skills if you decide to try this with the youngster.

Some horse people change their horse, they change their tack and discipline, they change their instructor; they never change themselves.
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post #3 of 3 Old 01-24-2020, 08:02 PM
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Hi,

Re energy/exercise, any way you can give her another buddy? Be good for her to learn to socialise & play with other horses appropriately, not just for exercise. If not, I appreciate it may be quite slippery in the paddock at this time of year depending where you are. Do you have an arena or some large area with good footing you can put her in & encourage her to just run off some steam while loose before putting her on lead & asking her for 'manners'?

As for 'buddy sour', first & foremost you need to become well trusted as a worthy leader who is going to be considerate of her feelings & look out for her, never put her into 'sink or swim' situations - she needs to feel safe to go off with you & leave Mum. I'd do this with lots of 'approach & retreat' type exercises. Such as taking her 'away' but not very far or long - maybe to start with only 6m & in sight or some such - before bringing her back, before she gets really upset. IOW, don't ask for more than she can give you, and gradually you will find she can give you more. Once she learns you are considerate of her, she will be more trusting & willing to go off with you. Next thing on that note is to make sure it is rewarding to go off with you. Whether food treats, scratches in a fav spot... make sure to positively reinforce her for it, make it worth her while, so she learns to WANT to go off with you.
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