Why Young horse training is never scary, and always fun!

What methods do you follow to start a young horse?

Often people find that starting a young horse is scary. In reality with the correct method, and foundation starting a young horse is extremely fun, rewarding, and never scary.

Using a combination of natural horsemanship, the TRT Method it’s easy to tap into a horse’s inner energy to build confidence and mastery. 

You NEVER need 2 people to teach a young horse to lunge.

Grab your natural horsemanship halter, preferably with 2 knots. 16ft. Natural horsemanship lead rope with a leather tip. parelli whip, bareback pad, rope reins, and treats.

Start by moving the whip all over there body. If they move make sure to not stop and continue the rubbing or touching them in that certain place with the whip till they do stop. Rub the legs. Play with the whip over your head and have them follow you. Place it in there Back gently then onto the sand and slowly make the sound of it hitting the sand louder and louder, but remember to always be gentle when you place it on there back.

Take your long natural horsemanship rope, and rub it over there back around, and slide it down to there butt. When you slightly pull the rope they will move there hindquarters and move away from pressure.

Move all different parts of there body with your cues. The main ones I focus on is the shoulder and hip. If you look at the hip they should immediately move there haunches over. If you want to move the shoulder you slowly cross your front legs and open your hand. The shoulder will move, and only the horses front legs cross. The hind legs must not move. You want to do leg yields on the rail with them, and off the rail.

Teach them to back by wiggling your rope and then come to you. You can go up on your pressures when they don’t respond to a small cue. You can move the hip in every direction so they come to you while they are learning this.

If your horse is learning to lunge or scared of objects play the touch it game. Touch every object in the arena, and you can place treats around the arena.

Then you can have them lunge at the walk going by the object then look at the haunches and turn the hip in once they pass the object. Then point with your finger moving the shoulder over so they do the same thing to the other side. Repeat this at the walk, trot and canter. If your horse is hyper and not focused this works perfectly to get the attention on you.

Play with tarps, and different objects.

Play stick to me. This is where when you lead them they follow you, and you stay by there shoulder. They stop with your body by the shoulder they trot and change tempos with you by there shoulder. They back up when you back up by your shoulder.

Introduce the bareback pad to them and play games like jumping all over them and having a big yoga or beach ball all around them. Have them follow you with it. Once they can do all these things with no halter, and no whip then you know your horse is 100% trusting and focused on you.

You can slowly introduce pieces of the saddle by moving saddle pads, and saddles all over there body. Throwing saddle pads in the air and make it a fun game where they WANT to touch the saddle and the saddle pads.

THE GIRTH. You don’t latch your girth at first. You rub there belly. Then you can slowly put us around the belly, and loosen and tighten it before putting it in the whole. Keep it very loose. Walk them forward one step loosen and tighten it again just playing with that back and forth. When you tighten don’t put it in the hole. Your slowly sliding the girth up and down. If your young horse moves with the girth, flinches, try’s to run forward, etc you simply back your horse up. At this stage your horse is so in tune with you that the smallest pressure, and they will back up. You can increase your backing up aid to a longer amount of time the more times they try to go forward or tighten with the girth. This makes it simply and easy for the horses, and you! Once they back up scratch them. Then repeat loosening and tightening with the girth. Your horse will learn to stand perfectly still.

Switch up days between the bareback pad and saddle. No stirrups with the saddle till the horse is like a schoolmaster when putting the saddle on.

Play games with the saddle by jumping all over them, taking a lunge whip and putting it through the stirrup, and lunging them with the stirrup around the lunge whip, while you move the stirrup.

Your horse will be able to do all of this with no whip, no halter. All from your cues and body energy. It’s truly the safest and most rewarding thing about starting a young horse. Once your horse is 150% confident and relaxed you can begin the phase of riding your young horse.

How to start

Start your young horse always with a bareback pad and natural horsemanship halter with rope reins attached. Have your lead rope on the halter as well. Put the mounting block on the edge of the round pen, and stand on it. Move your horse to come up to you like your going to mount and give them a treat as you lean your stomach over there body. Then continue doing this to both sides multiple times till it’s effortless.

The next day you repeat this start by leaning over there body, and giving them a treat. Then have a person lead the horse forward at a walk one step then stop. Continue doing this, and when the horse is confident you can move from your belly and slide your leg over the horses back. Continue this at the walk for the rest of the day. Move your legs all over the horses body, and till they relax there back.

You repeat all this in the bareback pad at the walk and the trot stay in your natural horsemanship halter and rope reins. You will feel when your horse is ready for the saddle. Once they have mastered the bareback pad.

Pony your young horse on trails with the saddle, and even have someone pony you! Don’t start with the bridle till they are steering, cantering, and moving off your leg perfectly in the big area in the natural horsemanship halter and rope reins. When you do start with the bridle make sure you keep the rope reins and halter on with the bridle. It’s all about patience, confidence, and ground work. There are 100+ more confidence building techniques I use, and I’m happy to share more or answer any questions. 

By Skye Simpson Dressage Shares Insight on the Sport

Skye Simpson is an FEI Dressage & Natural Horsemanship Trainer located in Banning, California.

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