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Are you ready for your own young horse ?
- Young animals and of course especially horses have a strong appeal to us. A sweet foal is fascinating and tempt us easily to try to educate and train the youngster itself. But do we really assess this situation realistically and objective?
- I personally know many very good but also not so good examples of self- training of young horses by non- professionals.
- But what should you consider when you have to make such an important decision? There are a few questions you can ask yourself to help you with this. I´ll mention here a short list of some influencing factors.
- For example:
- - Do I have the time to work with my horse constantly, even in bad weather conditions ?
- - Is there someone available who can help me when problems arise ?- Do I have the knowledge and endurance for a persistent, demanding project during the following two or three years ?- Am I someone who can constantly work on something even if major problems arise ?
- - Do I stay rather quiet in conflict situations in my normal life ?
- - Am I willing to give up real riding pleasure the first year or more? A young horse which has just been broken may offer less pleasure than an adult one with relevant experience .
- - Can I accept to be always the " teacher " ? Sometimes you want to have "just a little ride" ... and this often is not possible due to the ever changing requirements
- - How do I deal with injuries? Young horses without riding experience are more likely to leap aside, to buck, to rear, to refuse the jump etc. Am I sporty enough to simply put away any injuries ?
- - Do I have sufficient financial resources available to hand over the horse to a professional trainer if that is necessary ?
- This list could still be continued. Maybe with the following pictures you can get an idea what you can expect.
- From one instant to another the attitude of the young horse may change and the rider has to react quickly. This is not an exeption. Until your horse devellops the required muscles and is able to carry your weight in balance there will be many moments like this.
- What sometimes can be a reason to buy a young horse is the price of the horse. A very well trained horse will cost considerably more. But a well-ridden horse also gives its rider a lot. This important argument and is often overlooked. I don´t have to ride an adult horse every day to consolidate exercises and movements. This horse already knows his job. I can just enjoy my hobby. And that's the reason to buy a horse for most riders. It offers great advantages to ride a well trained horse. I can ride together with others without much excitement, enjoy cross country rides or trails, participate in interesting weekend clínics, just try new exercises, and basically have fun.
- Of course, there is a risk that the purchase of a well traind horse may involve, you have to do a lot of research before you spend out an important amount of money. But as a coach I would advise most riders into an adult and experienced, well-trained horse. For me it's always more pleasant to assist a rider with a good horse to further promote as to find a (quick) solution for an already clearly pronounced young horse problem. One must not forget the setbacks or stagnation in training and the unfortunately psychological burden of it. How many sleepless nights I spend myself as a trainer because there turned up problems that I had never experienced before with a horse. Indeed, a solution can be achieved often but mostly not from one day to another. Many riders could be happier with an appropriate horse. Unfortunately, there are much less well ridden older and healthy horses as young, inexperienced animals. The sport horse market is full of young "cracks" who want to be trained. But, not everyone can do it. A good horse is expensive, a good young horse training is often much more expensive. Especially if problems have already manifested and a trainer is needed to find an efficient solution. Of course quickly, without any auxiliar reins and horse friendly. That is already a difficult task, but then the training eventually ends up in the hands of professionals. And there it often belongs, I think.
- Of course, there are always some very good examples of riders who (can) accept the challenge to train their young horse gradually itself. Riders with young horses are well advised when they choose themselves equestrian facilities where other riders have the same or similar concerns. In an environment with a lot of know how, you can always get a quick, short advice or practical help. At home, in your own arena it would be more difficult. Regular lessons and courses with the youngster do help, but also the exchange with other young horse owners and trainers. Online platforms for horse training and expertise-oriented forums are also a good source of knowledge and can be a very good support for the young horse owner.
- Also, the time factor of training should never be underestimated. A horse is at least two years a remoute and should be treated and promoted with care. Two years is a long time and one could have already been on several small equestrian events, trail rides, competitions or other equestrian events with an older, experienced horse ;)
- Another issue are training errors that occur. They can not be avoided and it's even good for the rider to make mistakes. It´s for me the ultimately way to learn a lot. However, errors must be corrected and this accordingly takes time.
- The training of the horse itself, however, can be a very good measure to grow in character and personal.
- If you want to learn and have self control you may develop helpful character traits which can be used in other areas of life too. However, in most cases riders with their young horses are overwhelmed and stressed. Contact even under pressure, make it more difficult than necessary and is not a sign of strength. I would not say that people who want to train their young horse itself are just looking for trouble but you should assess things realistically. To be able to assess themselfes and their abilities well indicates a certain maturity and understanding and those people mostly make good decisions and are happier with the result in the long term.
Wintertraining or gymnastic from the ground
- In hand work with young horses is primarily to teach them basic signals for each additional following work. The simpler one starts and the shorter one keeps the training time the faster one will achieve initial learning success.
Lunging also belongs to in hand work and should not to be understood as just leaving the horse running . For working with horses it is important to repeat these in hand signals as often as possible, especially vocal signals in order to strengthen the reaction of the horse.
There are also whip- and touch signals one can use as training aids, and also praising when the horse performs the desired reaction. Repeating such signals consolidates the behavior of our partner- the horse. With young horses it is important to be cautious and quiet during in hand work as they may show unexpectedly severe reactions . Gloves and sturdy shoes should be considered as daily working equipment to avoid accidents or burnt palms .
Young horses often learn very quickly. They are still unspoilt and curious. If you would like to see successes quickly should practice systematically and regularly . The workouts usually last about 20 minutes , if possible twice a day. Practices that are too long are tiring for the horse and makes it sullen. It is always beneficial to finish the workout when the horse has performed an exercise particularly well . The horse remembers the most recently coached practice better and it feels rewarded once it shows the required response .
The most important thing about success in learning is the reward of the young horse . Standing quietly near the trainer and getting frequent strokes often causes relaxation of the young and often still excited horse. It is important to take time with young horses . Caressing the horse is a break , also for the coach .
The horses often get used to quiet work very quickly and then don´t tend engagea in unexpected capers anymore. It is always good to let the horse live in a free and natural way so it can move around by itself and finally goes relaxed to work. If you have the opportunity you should let the horse graze. A balanced horse is a good riding partner .
Work in hand with young horses is not so much concerned with learning complex movements . Instead the horses learn basic movements , especially in walk . The transitions are made at the beginning mainly from combinations of walk and hold , shoulder in exercises on a circle, and to rein back .
The advantage of this work is the possibility to observe the horse exactly in its reactions and to praise it in right moment, no later than two seconds after the successful execution of the exercise. The sooner the praise of the instructor is done the sooner does the horse connect the praise with the performed movement. To determine the number of repetitions , it is important to have a " good eye " . Many exercisers finish too early or overextend the training session with infinite loops . Neither t one or the other leads to the desired success. There is no recipe for the number of repetitions but the principle is to be satisfied with little progress . However, each time a little more progress is desirable. Here the advice of an experienced trainer helps recognize the needs of the horse at this moment. Ultimately, the main goal of our training is maintaining the health of the horse , even if we like to have further sub- goals such harmony in the movement or tournament ambitions.
- Working from the ground with older horses
- Older horses also need regular exercise and a good workout even if it may go a bit more quiet here . The mobilization exercises are useful and get the horse flexible in an advanced age. When a horse was injured , the training should be coordinated with the respective veterinarian. He can help in compiling a training plan.
A varied opportunity to work for older horses is to work with the double lunge . In the videos I will also show this training opportunity . As a lunge leader you will need some practice for handling the " Lunge salad ' but after a few units you can succeed with the first change of reins in the walk. Also, particularly dominant horses can be trained very well with the double lunge . By observing the reaction of the horse the lunge leader can take immediate action and make some corrections from the ground, especially in case of alpha male horses this can be quite successful . However, if you want to move forward with this work, you usually need a very good instructor , who can teach the working techniques with these 16 m long lunges. Beginners should practice with the double lunge first without a real horse. This helps to avoid crushed fingers or further injuries.
- You can take these lunges for example and knot it on a tree o another object to practice take and give the reins and collocate them fast. You can simulate capers and your reaction to this. You can also use another person like your “horse” to give the training game more fun.