Dear Friend and Horseman,
Welcome to another Horse Training Tips Newsletter.
If you’ve been a reader
of my Horse Training Tips Newsletter for a while, you’re
aware some of my newsletters have really stirred up some controversy.
Especially concerning the handling and training of foals and young horses.
In case you missed those newsletters, one of the controversies was that I basically discourage the “Imprint Training” of newborn foals.
The reason is because a lot of people turn the foal into a horse that becomes belligerent, disrespectful towards humans and difficult to train…
Actually HURTING the colt’s chances of becoming a good performance horse.
I receive a ton of emails asking me what I suggest, as an alternative, to get the foal off to a good start.
I also get a lot of email from people who own yearlings they hope will develop into good performance horses. They want to know what they can do to prepare their baby and give him a head start.
Training Foals and Weanlings
Here are a
few suggestions that have worked well for me…
First off, let the foal be a horse!
I know that sounds like a smart-aleck remark but in reality, many people treat their foal like another human or their pet dog. That is a recipe for trouble. For any horse to be mentally and emotionally BALANCED, he needs to know he’s a horse.
And, he needs to be handled like a horse using “horse” psychology NOT “human” psychology.
When a mare is in the process of giving birth, don’t mess with her or the foal until they have strongly bonded as mother and baby.
Here is where the “Imprint” fanatics go crazy. They want to get their hands on the foal “immediately”, before it has had a chance to bond with its mother.
Let me warn you, intervening this way, can and sometimes does lead to problems.
I would suggest waiting a day after the birth before doing much with the baby.
After a day, then it’s perfectly fine to introduce yourself or do whatever you want with the foal.
Always keep in mind though, that this cute little baby is still a horse and should be treated like a horse.
The baby needs to learn that you are his “leader” not his “playmate”.
It’s good to teach the foal that you are there to care for him and protect him but that you also expect him to “behave” in a certain way.
All horses need to know that when a human is handling them, there are rules, boundaries and limitations. Horses NEED and EXPECT this guidance.
Their mother sets the rules when they are interacting with her. They expect you to set the rules when they are interacting with you. If you fail to do this, you’ll create a juvenile delinquent that is disrespectful and pushes you around.
Ideally, by the time the baby is a yearling, you should have taught him to lead well and stand tied to be groomed. He should know how to be lunged on a lunge-line.
He should be good about having his feet trimmed and so on.
When its time to start the colt under saddle as a 2-year-old, things will go much better if he is well mannered and respects people but is not afraid of them.
Sending a colt that is afraid of people to a professional trainer, will be more stressful for the colt and will take the trainer more time to get the colt started.
On the other side of that coin, sending a colt to the trainer that is bad mannered and disrespectful will also slow down the training process.
These are just a few of the things I recommend for your baby.
If you would like to see how to do this training, I strongly recommend getting my video, “Training the Foal and Weanling“.
Take care and good luck with your babies.
Well, this wraps it up for this newsletter. I hope you liked it.
Until next time, have fun training your horse.