Help?! Young Horses - The Horse Forum
  • 8 Post By ApuetsoT
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post #1 of 6 Old 08-13-2017, 11:47 PM Thread Starter
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Question Help?! Young Horses

I want to start working with young horses, but I don't know where to start. If I get a weanling from a breeder, what are they usually already taught? In what order should I teach them things (for example, first leading, then grooming etc). I probably sound stupid, but I'm very curious :)
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post #2 of 6 Old 08-13-2017, 11:56 PM
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If you want to work with young horses, what you need to do is find a trainer that will let you apprentice and learn everything you can from them.
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post #3 of 6 Old 08-14-2017, 01:35 AM
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I agree with Apuetso T but I also have my own opinion on starting a horse by yourself as I had no choice but to start my own and he turned out quite nice :)

If you want to start a weanling by yourself as a choice just know you will go through some mental challenges. They have a completely different mindset then a say... 3/4 year old. Weanlings are still learning things from their moms at this point. I have always let my younger horses roam in pastures until 2/3 sometimes even still with their moms. I do understand some places do things differently and have no biased opinion over anything.

What comes first in training a young horse is ALWAYS set your horses physical boundaries. Know what your horse can and cannot do. Young horses knees still need to close up, Their backs are not strong, They are still lanky and wonky. Then after understanding that a young horse cannot be ridden nor pushed as physically hard as a said 3 year old in training you can begin to establish a solid ground breaking/ desensitizing work.

Usually people halter break horses when they are a little bit older unless they are moving them from stalls to pastures/ grooming them, etc. etc. So your weanling may or may not be halter broke when you get him/her. If not that will be one of the first things you will want to focus on. I think any trainer should establish trust between the horse and them especially with a young horse like this. They will need to attach themselves to you.

If you can some how incorporate games into your training it will keep a younger horses mind more focused on whats happening with you rather then a horse running around in the round pen next to you. It will also keep the young horse from getting bored with its training.

How I would start step by step would be somewhere along the lines of this list.
-Gain trust
-Introduce Halter/ Lead rope ( attach a short lead rope and let young horse walk around with it on and slightly use it to lead slowly introducing pressure and release)
-Teach how to lead/Walk next to you appropriately
- Start desensitizing noises/movements / grooming/ bathes
-Introduce into walking next to other horses, objects, tractors, on rough terrain
-Teach Tying/ standing still if you didn't do that already
-Introduce young horse to trailer/ tying in trailer if not yet taught that

All those things are important first steps to a solid horse. I may have missed a few as It is late here where I am ..... Can never sleep hahaha. If you have any questions please feel free to message me. I am always open to emailing or texting and helping you through this journey if you are unable to get a trainer :)

Much luck from California!!
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post #4 of 6 Old 08-14-2017, 04:23 AM
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Great posts above. I agree that 'where to start' should be under the wing of an experienced trainer if at all poss. & ensure you have experience training other horses, before jumping in the deep end - too much can too easily go wrong if you dont know what youre doing, for me to think its an acceptable risk, both for horse and person.

While many people hardly handle babies much at all, i want them well handled as young as possible. For hoof care, vet care & other management issues if nothing else.

I would not hard tie, or crank, tie up or overflex legs, or put weight on the horse for quite some time due to immaturity, as serious physical issues can result. However, babies can(& should, early as, IMO) learn to yield to pressure, give their feet & 'tie up' in a safe manner.
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post #5 of 6 Old 08-24-2017, 04:20 PM
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I'm of the school the sooner you start working with them the better. I've had great success with imprinting foals. As mentioned do not give them more work than their young mind and body can handle.

For me the first step is to establish who is the herd leader. This needs to be done with every horse you are around. Being the herd leader that your horse trust will make everything else you do much easier. Herd behavior is deeply ingrained in animals. If the herd leader is calm the rest of the herd will follow. Also if the leader is nervous so will be the herd. Even when things may look bad remember they will look to the leader for reassurance. If you aren't the leader you will be hoping the leader will do what you want to. Sometimes they will. The rest of the time .... oh well.

Other horse's don't bite, kick, or run over the herd leader. They will also move out of the leaders space when asked.

Horse's as they age will go through stages like humans. For me 3-4 are like teenagers for example and will test you more.

In the spring when a colt has long itchy hair, for me that is the best time to start grooming. When they realize how good it feels when you are removing all that itchy hair the learn that grooming is a very good thing. Be sure to rub them all over. You can have successfully experience at other times for teach grooming, but mother nature is helping us out here.

Along with some of the great suggestions others have posted along with some others that are too come should help.

You are building a horse for the future not breaking a horse to your whims.

The bottom line though green horse people should not be starting young horse's. To easy to make a mistake and maybe ruin a otherwise great horse. Find a qualified person and build a relationship with them. Your horse's will thank you for it.

Remember every time you are around a horse and every thing you do you are training a horse . Everyone is a trainer, some are just worth paying for what they did. Do you want your training to be positive or negative? ?
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post #6 of 6 Old 08-24-2017, 04:48 PM
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Most weanlings you buy from quality sellers will be vaccinated, have had their hooves trimmed, and will be halter broke and stand tied. Some go the extra mile and haul their babies to a show or two, or a roping so they get out to see the world, and may have started a little bit of desensitization. Some people, particularly show folks, will have weanings and yearlings that are as broke as they can be-- they'll stand tied, stand for clipping and the farrier and grooming, they've been hauled, shown in halter and lunge line, exposed to dogs and atvs and lawnmowers and cattle and bicycles and tarps and bridges and have been ponied on trail rides, and nothing bothers them. Those youngsters are usually going to cost a pretty penny, too.

Weanlings off some large-scale breeders, western ranches, and BYB's can be wild as March hares and have had little or no handling. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but probably not what you want if you're just starting out. You can easily hurt a youngster teaching him to stand tied, for instance, so if he already knows that so much the better. If you don't have the facilities to safely teach him, then best get something with at least the basics.

I agree with finding someone experienced and learning from them. Sometimes you learn what not to do as much as what to do, but it's all learning. The bare minimum of equipment I want for working with young horses is a sturdy, safe place with good footing to tie where they won't get hurt if they freak out a bit, a round pen, and strong, solid pasture and corral fencing. A baby will go through or over fencing a lot more readily than an adult horse, and if you've only been around solid, broke adult horses, it's a whole 'nuther ball game. Things you wouldn't think a horse could get hurt on will get your youngster injured. Things an adult horse won't bat an eye at can scare a baby. Youngsters are not horses you can make mistakes with-- an older horse may stand tied to anything, a youngster may for a while, then test it and realize he can get away or pull back and scare himself. He may load one day and put up a fight the next. He'll stay nicely in the pasture fence for months, but if you take out his buddy, he may well go through or over it.

If you have a round pen or sturdy corral, gentling down a wild, snorty youngster is a pretty simple process, but it's easy to screw them up and make them untrusting if you do it wrong. If you absolutely cannot find someone to work with you and must go on your own, spend the money for a nice youngster who has had a lot of quality handling and is well-bred with a good temperament. Some bloodlines tend to be much more easily trained and forgiving of mistakes than others, and that's a big deal when you're starting out with young horses. If the horse has a good mind, good conformation, and a good pedigree with papers, he'll be marketable if you decide youngsters aren't for you, and chances are that even if you make some mistakes, you won't ruin him and he'll still turn out to be a solid citizen.
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