Training for young horses consists of ingredients that will differ than a more mature trained horse. We so often take for granted the little things our mature horse will and can do, like understanding how to pick up a foot so we may hold it for trimming, or being able to stay quietly in a stall for a short while, or load onto a trailer confidently.
I have also seen the above tasks go very wrong with many mature horses, the question is, “Why”?
My quest in training for young horses is to do it so well I will eliminate possible future problems from starting.
So, I would like to introduce to you......
My Little “Hero”
Hero was born May 5, 2008, and came to me just a few days before his first birth day in 2009, and he is a registered Quarter Horse.
I hope to do my best in delivering to you the step by step horse training I will implement with his development.
Here’s how sweet he can be!
Here’s a typical yearling's personality!
He has also shown that if he likes an idea he is as cool as a cucumber (say brushing him) but if you are suggesting something unfamiliar or even just not his idea (like picking up a foot), he will quickly let you know!
Please note that this is Hero’s personality and his environment that makes up his circumstances and they may be different for you. So how to proceed depends a lot on those two ingredients right there.
I will explain the best I can through these words the horse training techniques I will use under the different circumstances that arise.
I have always had a problem with this term because I do not want him “broken”. I want him to discover that people and events in his life have meaning and purpose but mostly I am hoping for a life long mutually beneficially relationship!
Here is a great example of a natural upbringing that I hope more horses will experience in life to come!
Hero’s First Trailer Ride
Since Hero lived about one and a half hours away from me and had never seen the inside of a horse trailer, I wanted to start that experience off right. So I hired the best in the business Mike Charters from DMC Horse Trailering, He is not only a professional in the business with the right compassion for the horses, he also has a trailer with stalls in it and I knew I could count on him to take his time as needed.
Thanks to Mike, Hero’s first trailer ride was accomplished with the least amount of stress possible.
Here is Hero taking his first steps down the ramp off the trailer.
From here I would just allow a few days or week to observe him, get to know his personality and he mine plus allow him time to adjust to his new environment. The goal is to let him find his feeling of safety.
Step by Step Horse Training
The next experience I would like any horse to have is the confidence to allow a person to touch them everywhere. And I mean everywhere! (You know the places I mean, that make many squirm, like sheath cleaning time!)
Thanks to the combination of the natural environment he was raised in, his disposition and the kindness of the previous owners, this task was accomplished with ease.
Grooming (especially with added scratching) is his favourite thing!
Training for young horses should be about relationship first then respect will have it’s place. Prove to them they have no reason to fear you and in turn you should not feel you need to fear them. If you do, seek a trainer who can help, or Ask Me!
There are so few books about clicker training a young horse that I thought I should share this one with you.
Here are some examples of training for young horses we have been working on.
Targeting all kinds of things helps to build a language and confidence in a young horse.
Picking up all feet and building duration for hoof trimming is essential. Since Hero is a very confident young horse he has often demonstrated his lack of patience in this task. Patience on my part and reminding myself how inexperienced he is in this process is very important for me to keep in mind. Along with not asking for too much too soon.
Playing with a ball creates curiosity, minimizes fear of moving objects and suggests new ideas about different things touching his body.
Following me created trust and leadership qualities, which then built into successfully trotting next to me.