Oh so you are interested in training young horses? I bet you just can’t
resist the sweet fuzzy mane and long wobbly legs of a newborn foal, or
the frisky antics of the 2 and 3 year old’s!
It is so easy to fall in love with young horses!
But beyond the cuteness of a young horse there is much they need to learn to live a safe and fulfilling life in the world of people.
A solid foundation can greatly reduce equine behavior problems down the road.
Young horse training requires a high level of horsemanship.
Imagine you just brought home a new puppy to live in your home. They are
cute and cuddly and oh-so-sweet! They are fluffy, fun to play with and a
puppy nip doesn’t hurt that bad. What if the puppy goes potty in the house, and
he runs off out the front door and won’t come back when you call him!
It is cute and somewhat funny when the puppy is little but you wouldn’t be laughing if it was a full grown St. Bernard doing his business on your carpet.
The bite from a full sized dog can cause serious injury.
What does this have to do with training young horses?
This information is not to scare you but when training young horses you must always remember and respect what a scared horse is capable of.
Ground training young horses will build a language of communication that will transfer over to when you start riding him.
Flexing the head around to one side is preparation for a one-rein stop when mounted
Better to find out that he is bothered by something BEFORE you are up on his back!
Here are some checks to use with young horse training to see how you are doing:
Be polite when tightening the cinch. Not too much and not too fast
Make sure it IS tight enough so the saddle doesn't roll. Then move him around a bit and tighten it some more.
These are just a few ideas to get you started.
Teaching the young horse to step on and over things will build his confidence for trailer and float loading
Start by teaching basic skills such as
When you are training young horses for farrier he needs to be able to pick up his feet, let you hold them between your legs, and tap on his feet with a hoof pick to simulate shoeing.
For the vet he needs to be OK with you handling everywhere on his body including under the tail, in the ears etc.
When the horse is older than a year, but especially when training a 2 year old horse, you can introduce
Use a rope hackamore when you start riding. You CAN still teach him to carry a regular bridle with a bit but don't use it until he goes well in the hackamore.
The standard training bits for young horses are a variety of snaffle bits such as eggbutt, d-ring, and full cheek varieties.
My favorite is the french link or 3 jointed snaffle bit. It does not collapse like a regular snaffle and pinch the tongue and/or lips.
Make wearing the tack part of the horse's routine so he becomes
confident with each piece of equipment.
The round corral or a small fenced area is the best place to be for the first ride when training young horses.
Do each step in order and don't move on until he is completely OK, even BORED with what you are doing.
This may take several sessions.
After enough sessions that he is confident with you up there as a passenger, you can start to direct him.
Enjoy your experience training young horses and remember to take things as slow as the horse needs you to!
is your job to get him ready for all the experiences he is bound to
have in his life. You are the key to his success in the human world by what you teach him about people and the things they do.
He is the ultimate judge of when he is ready to accept a rider but you must be in tune enough with him to know when that is!