Walking through water can be one of the hardest things for a horse to accept, and his fear is often based on his past experiences. If he’s never seen it before, or if he’s been forced into it or struggled with by a rider over crossing water, then it’s going to be a big obstacle for him to overcome. No matter how much horse experience you have, when you’re working to overcome something like this you have to have a lot of patience and be willing to spend the time it takes to help the horse get past his fear of crossing water.
I attended a training clinic several years ago, put on by a good friend of mine, Kevin Wescott, a horse trainer from west-central Nebraska. It was a general horsemanship clinic, where local people brought their own horses and asked Kevin to help them through issues they were having, or give advice on their riding, and so on. I was there with my mare Daisy, whose behavior at this clinic you might remember from my previous blog post. But aside from that, I observed something at this clinic that has stuck in my mind ever since.
I had our weanling colt on the lead line the other day, working on halter training a little bit more, and I thought it would be a good time to introduce him to the horse trailer. I wasn’t there when my husband went to pick him up, when we first purchased him, but I heard that he was hard to load, and wouldn’t follow his mother into the trailer. They had to use portable corral panels to box him into a small space behind the trailer and then adjust them smaller until he was forced to jump in. So I knew that trailer loading was an area we needed to work on with him.
When you have a foal, everything is sweetness and light. But only for so long. Then the life lessons begin and they have to learn to wear a halter, to follow a leader, to stand tied, and face their biggest fear of all—being separated from their mommy. It is a difficult change for both mare and foal, to give up that comfort and connection. But weaning a foal helps develop the disposition a horse needs to have—a working horse has to be able to go out and do a job without throwing a fuss when it is separated from other horses. Weaning is a very important step in the life of a foal.
As you know, we have been working on halter breaking the new stud colt we purchased a month ago. It’s been awhile since I’ve had a horse this young to work with, so I’m trying to remember any tricks on how to train a foal to lead, and am looking back through some old horse training articles I’ve written to see what advice I’ve given to others on this topic. Every horse is different, and with this particular colt, we’ve been able to slide right past some trouble spots that might affect others.
I always enjoy reading horse training articles and stories about amazing horsemen. I am always inspired by the things they have learned from the thousands of horses they’ve handled, and thrilled when they share their knowledge with us. Here are some horse quotes from some of the best horse trainers in the world.
I have always been a non-confrontational person. And believe it or not, it carries over to how I deal with horses, too. It’s not that horses scare me or that I’m afraid to push my luck or take chances around them. I grew up with horses and I’ve never been seriously hurt by a horse, so I’ve never had any fear to overcome. But I have seen horses get hurt in bad situations, and spent subsequent years thinking of what I could have done differently that might have prevented their injury, and it makes me cautious and more respectful when handling them.
I was at my folks’ house last weekend, and was looking through some boxes of old photos, and came upon a letter I had written them many years ago when I was a lonely school teacher just out of college, with only horses to keep me from feeling homesick. Reading through it gave me a mix of feelings—happy to remember the fun day on horseback, sad to think that I ended up buying and losing this mare in a horrible accident, and very glad that I had written it all down in a letter so I could treasure the memories more completely.
Writing in response to a recent question from a reader of my horse blog, I’d like to address the issue of how to correct a horse that bites you when you’re handling it. In this day and age of political correctness, what kind of discipline is acceptable to train a horse to not bite?
Training a horse can be really hard and really easy. It depends on how well you can communicate to the horse and how well you can read what the horse is thinking. If you can recognize the moment in which the horse is trying to work for you and reward him for it, it creates a trust and a learning progression that will develop a strong foundation in the horse’s training.
Whether you’re paying someone to train your horse, give you lessons, or simply choosing which trainer to watch and follow on RFDtv, it’s important to understand what you’re learning and make an educated choice concerning trainers.
I had a reader contact me through my blog awhile back. She said that she and her family had acquired two yearling horses, and were having a little trouble getting them gentled down. These are just a few ideas to help you work through the first steps of gentling and training your horse.
I’m a little baffled today. We brought a couple new horses home to train over the weekend, and last night was the first chance I got to work with Toby. He’s a solid Paint, nine year old gelding, supposedly greenbroke but too nervous and wild for my brother to ride, so he sent him to my place for some training.
There’s one in every bunch. The horse that keeps his eye on you and no matter what enticement you offer from your pocket, he won’t let you catch him. Is there a cure for the horse that is hard to catch? Well, here are a few tips that might eliminate some wasted time and frustration when you’re trying to catch your horse.
If you are around horse people for any length of time, you are going to meet with strong personalities who are assured they are correct, to the point of everyone else being wrong. I would admit that I have been there….but I think I’ve arrived at the realization that I can never know enough, there is always more to learn, and anyone who will share their viewpoint with me is someone I can gain knowledge from.
I started out to the barn last night with a goal in mind. With my sorrel mare, Daisy, there are a few improvements to be made. I would like her to be lighter, more responsive, have a better headset, and develop a strong topline. After asking the advice of a few horse friends, as well as reading up on some training articles, the conclusion I arrived at was that we needed to start with flexion.
A reader of my blog contacted me the other day, asking for my advice with a problem she is having with her horse. She wrote that her high-headed well-broke gelding has developed a couple of issues since she started working on collection and lowering his head.