Working with young horses is a lot different than working with older horses. This is because young horses are just like young children; they are taught in the simplest ways because they have shorter attention spans. This is why the earlier you start training a young horse, the easier it will be for them to learn the concepts. But, if you’ve never worked with a horse that’s between one to three years old, you need to learn different strategies, so you know how to approach other learning sessions. That is why in this article, we will list down some methods to train your young horse.
- Limit the time of the training sessions – If you’ve worked with older horses before, you probably noticed that it’s easy to let the time get away from you. You may not notice that you’re training and riding them for hours. But it is entirely different for young horses, especially those under a year old. This is because their attention span a lot shorter, they are still learning how to get along with humans, and their bodies are still not fully developed. That is why taking a young horse out for training for over an hour can put a lot of stress on their body and mind. Take note that under a year old, horses should not be trained for more than 15 minutes at a time. You can add 5 to 10 minutes to your training once your horse becomes a yearling. But, it still depends on how mentally developed your horse is.
- Start on small goals that are easy to accomplish – Because you will only train your horse for a few minutes, you should focus on achieving small goals so that you can accomplish them within the session. Remember that your young horse may not be able to catch up with the concept your teaching within your training session but do not be disappointed. It’s okay even if your horse starts thinking and considering the concept you taught, and it should be enough.
- Familiarize your young horse to human touch – Keep in mind that the earlier you introduce a new trick to your young horse, the easier it will be for them to catch up with it than when they are older. That is why while your horse is still young, it’s the right time to get them used to be touched all over their body. Trust us, and no one wants a horse that threatens to kick every time they are being handled. To familiarize your young horse with human touch, you can start by rubbing your hand over their neck to their face. If you feel that your horse likes being petted in a specific spot, stop and take time to rub them in that location. This strategy will teach your horse that your touch feels good, and it will also help them reach those scratch parts for them.
- Let human touch be a reward for your young horse – To help your horse to be more comfortable with the human touch, you can incorporate it as a reward during your training sessions when you see that your horse does something good, pet and rub them all over their body. Because just like humans, horses find it easier to accept a reward compared to punishment.
- Teach your young horse to respect personal space – The first thing you should teach your horse, whether they are young or old, is to respect your personal space. Because if they do not respect your personal space, then it’s only a matter of time before your get kicked, pushed over, or stepped on. If your horse knows how to respect your personal space, they will pay more attention to you and look at you as their leader. To teach your horse to mind your personal space, you can simply lead them around and correct them each time they start to get ahead of you. Keep in mind that most young horses do not lead well, so you have to start demanding them to respect your space so they will change.