Ingrid Klimke about the start of work with foals
In the past, trainers often took horses to training, starting at the draw age. While the foal grew and developed, he was taught the basic rules, which subsequently greatly facilitated the start of work under the saddle. Nowadays, the majority prefers to buy three- and four-year-old horses that are already hackneyed. In this case, the buyer often has no idea what happened to this horse before the purchase, how it worked at a young age before the race. Caring for a young horse, you will learn not only how to feed and care for her, but also how to approach her training in the future.
A three-year-old horse raised among people trusts his surroundings. Therefore, it will be easier to train when she is older – she will be more social than a horse who has grown “in the field”. However, despite this initial “advantage”, experience shows that horses that spent more time “in the wild” are as well trained in the long run as those raised “in the family”. The “wilds” are initially afraid, and they need more attention, but as soon as they get used to trusting people, they become very reliable.
It is extremely difficult to gain the trust of a young horse that has been mistreated or mistreated before you. With them, of course, it is not easy during basic training – you will have to gradually and carefully find out what problems they have in order to overcome them. At the same time, one should not forget that if you, gaining the trust of a horse, treat it too gently, you also run the risk of problems. Of course, the method of treating a horse is a personal matter for every rider, but one cannot try to humanize a horse.
Training starts at the draw
A good breeder lays the foundation for trust by properly breeding and interacting correctly with young horses. And this prepares them for subsequent work under the rider.
Training begins at the draw. The first days and weeks establish the basis for the further development of a trusting working partnership between a man and a horse. And what matters here is not the hours of aimless play with the foal, but the gaining of his trust. It begins with the training of foals in the stable. Foals are naturally inquisitive and after a while will try to make contact with a person. This process can be accelerated by adding a foal of courage. Go down to be the same height with him, and wait until the foal approaches you. Contact will develop. First you need to stay with a foal of the same “height” and stroke it. Then try to hold the foal in place (put your left hand under his neck and hug around the croup with your right hand). So the foal learns that freedom can be limited. His innate desire for freedom must slowly but surely yield to control.
As soon as the foal begins to let you hold it for a short time, you can familiarize it with the halter (it should not be too big), which fastens around the neck. The advantage is that you don’t have to touch the sensitive area of your ears. Wearing a halter, compliment the foal. This is enough for the first lesson. When the foal confidently accepts a halter, you can try to drive it.
To begin with, try to just go along with the foal – let it go on its own, do not pull it. This can be done in the stable. The next step is to bring the mare from the stable to the nearest levada for the chombur. In this case, the foal should be in halter. The first exit may excite the young mare, so you may need helpers. These short walks should be fun for the foal, and in addition, strengthen its self-confidence.
Short walks with the foalâ € ™ s mare should be fun for the foal and a way of quickly building his self-confidence. (Credit: Courtesy of Trafalgar Square Books)
Therefore, in these early days, when you drive it, it is especially important to be careful. Do not pull it by the bonnet. If the foal stops, the person leading the mare must go forward without stopping. The further the mare moves away from the foal, the more incentive he has to follow her. The man who leads the foal should not turn around and look at him. He must stop and wait for the foal to follow his mother.
As soon as the confidence of the foal is won and he goes, the baby will need to be praised immediately. A short word is enough. Excessive stroking and caressing at this age is dangerous because it makes the foal want to play, and this may encourage him to start to bite you, which is undesirable.
The foals are curious. They want to feel everything and try it on the tooth – a halter, an overalls, and sometimes a mane and a mother’s tail. Even your hand will be interesting to him. If you let the foal play with you, you will most likely find some bruises on yourself. You must distinguish between inquisitive tingling from an evil or dominant bite.