HORSE TRAINING FACTS & MISCONCEPTIONS
Dear Friend and Horseman,
Welcome to another “Horse Training Insider”.
In this issue, I’m going to point out some of the most important facts and misconceptions horse owners have about training a horse.
Starting a colt… and advancing an OLDER horse.
So, if you plan on training your own horse or having it trained by a professional trainer, you should absolutely read this.
You need to start your colt no later than 3-years old. Why? Because the older a horse gets the more set in his ways he becomes. Thus making him much more difficult to start.
The horse is going to resist you more… and he’s not going to accept “change” without a serious struggle.
Many owners think they are doing their horse a favor by not starting them at 2 or 3 years old. They wait until the horse is 4 or 5. The truth is, in reality, they are making it way harder on the horse.
2 and 3 year olds give up and easily accept the training. Older horses usually do not. They resist it every step of the way. Making the training much more stressful for them.
Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule but they are far and few between.
The oldest horse I ever started under saddle was a 15 year old Morgan stallion. He was a joy to start and train… but he was the exception.
Side Note: Best not to purchase an un-started colt who’s been injured by a mountain lion or bear attack. The chances of that colt accepting a saddle is pretty slim. Not impossible but not easy.
The last one I started would panic so bad, he’d blindly buck head-first into a fence and knock himself out. After several knock-outs, I called it quits. He never got started again.
Foundation training is the way a horse responds to a particular cue or a particular form of pressure applied by the rider.
If this is not done right, it’s impossible to advance the horse in an easy, logical way he understands.
This applies to young colts as well as older horses.
If you send your horse to a professional trainer… and your horse doesn’t have good foundation training, expect advancing that horse to take a lot longer.
I should point out, the first month of training will usually be teaching the horse to “search” for the “correct response”.
Until the horse learns how to search for a correct response, advancing the training will be slow to come.
I often hear horse owners say, “I can put the foundation training on my horse myself. I just don’t know how to do the advanced stuff”.
Owners say that, not realizing their belief is a misconception.
If a rider doesn’t understand the “advanced” training, it’s impossible for him to apply the “foundation” training.
As an example, imagine a construction contractor being hired to lay the foundation for a building. Unless the contractor knows the exact design, size and weight of the building, he doesn’t have the information necessary to lay an appropriate foundation.
This is the reason why I always encourage my clients to learn as much as they can about training a horse.
Here the horse’s natural aptitude to work cattle plays a HUGE part in how well the training goes. Also his athletic ability.
Hopefully, the horse has a lot of cow.
If he does, then nothing will be more fun for the horse than working cattle.
A lot of good training can be accomplished when working cattle without the horse even realizing he’s being trained.
A cow is the best tool I know for helping a horse overcome problems and advance quickly.
However, a horse that doesn’t have much cow will take much longer and will never be as good as a horse that is loaded with cow.
And if the horse doesn’t have ANY cow or isn’t an athlete, having a trainer work cattle on him is pretty much a waste of money.
Better off to just put a handle on the horse and call it good.
It takes about three months on cattle to get an idea of the horse’s aptitude as a cutting or cow horse.
It takes six to eight months to know if he’s a legitimate cutting or cow horse prospect.
With most horses, six to eight months on cattle is enough for them to do a decent job at team penning, sorting and ranch cutting.
A “competition” cutting horse usually needs 12 to 18 months of concentrated training before he’s ready to go to his first show.
And usually another 6 to 8 months of show experience to get solid.
HORSE TRAINING ISN’T ALWAYS PRETTY.
It’s been my experience that most horse owners don’t realize that training horses doesn’t always go smoothly.
They think if the horse ever gets upset, resists or gets scared, the trainer must be doing something wrong.
THE REALITY IS…
There will sometimes be highs, lows and a few rough spots along the way. There will also be times when advancing “one” part of the training, will “mess up” a different part of the training.
MOST of the time, the training will go smoothly and the horse will come along fine. However, there can be short periods of time when it’s not looking so great.
The BIGGEST PROBLEMS usually occur the FIRST MONTH.
When a horse first comes into “concentrated” training with a professional trainer, the horse is usually NOT in the correct FRAME OF MIND to accept the training.
More than likely, the horse’s previous training has been pretty inconsistent or very low-key.
He’s really never been asked to do much… let alone do it lightly and respond immediately.
He’s in the habit of being heavy, taking his sweet time responding or maybe NOT responding at all.
Nor does he know how to concentrate or how to SEARCH to find the release of pressure.
When this new training is introduced, most horses will initially RESIST it and want to ARGUE about it.
If the trainer hangs in there and insists the horse respond, some horses will then get really WORRIED about it.
So, that first month or two, its not uncommon for the horse to waffle back and forth between resisting and being worried.
For some horses, this is normal.
A good trainer will know how to work through this without it getting out of hand.
And of course, it’s this first month the owner wants to see some big progress. He wants to see results to justify the training fee he’s paying.
In reality, seldom will there be any big results that first month.
The trainer is more concerned with teaching the horse to LEARN HOW TO LEARN. (read this sentence again)
He knows until that is accomplished, RESULTS will not happen… at least not any good ones.
Once a foundation of “UNDERSTANDING” is established, the horse will settle in, have a good attitude and be willing to quietly learn.
In the second month of training, things will start to get better.
And its usually the third month when the real advances come.
Now, I realize not every horse owner can afford to have their horse trained by a professional trainer.
And many owners who have spare time available, prefer to have the satisfaction of training their horse themselves.
For those folks, I highly recommend my…
Or they can get a huge DISCOUNT by ordering my…
Okay, that’s all for now.
Larry Trocha Training Stable