Everyone has different methods for getting their young horses going. Well I have my own personal philosophy on how I start my young ones and I figured I would share it with you today. As most of you know, almost 2 months ago I traded Miley, the lesson pony for Diva, the 2 year old. Well since I have had Diva it seems like all it has done is rain. I have not made nearly as much headway as I would have liked. That is okay though, she has made progress. When I got Diva she was WAY behind the curve. I like to have my 2 year olds pretty easy to deal with. This is just a quick overview of my training schedule with the horses that are raised here on the farm. As foals I let them be foals. I will pet on them and love them, but for the most part I leave them alone. When we wean them they get a halter put on and we start halter breaking them. By the time we put them back out they know how to lead and load on a trailer and have started being desensitized. Then they go back out to pasture to play and grow for a while. I try to let the babies be babies. As yearlings, they are brought in during the summer. They continue their halter training, get a trailer loading refresher, get hauled to some shows and learn to stand tied at the trailer, then they are started in the round pen. After they understand the round pen we continue desensitizing them, lunging them,and getting them soft to pressure. We also pony them with our older broke horses. That way they can go on trail rides and get used to seeing all the sites, they cross creeks, bridges, go up and down hills. After they have been in for a few months and are pretty good at everything they go back out until they are 2 year olds. As 2 year olds they are brought in, get a refresher course, and then start with saddle work. They will get about 10 rides then go back out till they are 3. As 3 year olds, the training actually starts. We believe in letting the horses be horses. Several people really start riding their horses as 2 year olds where we just like to get them started. Then as 3 year olds it is easy, bring them in, give them a refresher, then start work. They are stronger and more mentally mature as 3 year olds. I have had tons of success with this program. Even waiting till my horses are 3 I do not have an issue getting them ready for the 4 year old futurities. My goal is to have happy, successful horses that last.
Bella is a yearling this year. She will start getting worked with this summer. Hopefully we will have some interns to help us out! (For more about our internship program see here: http://wp.me/p21WYd-38)
Well Diva is behind the curve. She has had VERY little work done. When I first got her she was barely halter broke and it was a HUGE struggle to get her on the trailer. She is getting better, but we still have a long way to go. Now she is easy to load, can walk and trot on the lead line, when I stop she stops, she is starting to get soft to pressure, she backs up, she is starting to lunge and round pen. She has done great with all the desensitizing. We have also started ponying her. The other day I ponied her and took her on a trail ride. She has gotten better and by the end of the ride we were actually trotting some. Here are some pictures from our ride. (It is really had to get pictures when you are riding)
How do you start with your young ones? I would love to hear from you!