Tips For Training Young Horses
Horses have been trained and used by man for thousands of years. There are many books written on training and just as many experts with their own training methods. All trainers need the proper training methods for a particular horse in order to develop the young horse's physique and behavior for its intended use.
As a general rule, there are some common, effective training routines and techniques that have withstood the test of time and are widely used by all trainers today. Always keep in mind that each horse has its own individual personality and one should always be open to try out diverse techniques and combine different training methods.
The main parameters to keep in mind for training a young horse are: age, breed, regimen and environment. Most trainers will agree that a good age to begin training a horse is around five years. A five year old is young enough to respond to instruction but too young to receive harsh treatment that could damage and hinder their normal physical development. The main focus at this first stage is to train the horse to carry the saddle without rejecting it.
All horse training routines must take into account the breed. Horses too have their differences and some learn quicker than others. Mountain horses can be trained at the age of two years to sustain a saddle and be trained under the saddle. Arabian horses however, are extremely slow in their development and at the age of two are totally inadequate for any type of training. Again within the individual breeds, each horse has its own individual and genetic rate of development. A fast mare can pass on her ability to her offspring. The training must take into account all these differences.
Use a regime appropriate to the age and ability. Even though training can be begun from two to five years depending on the breed, the young horse must never be subject to the harsh, lengthy and difficult training given to fully grown horses. Young horses must begin with training sessions that are made up of fifteen to thirty minute periods. Several short sessions are better than one long grueling session in order to prevent the horse turning taciturn or frightened.
It is important to have the right training environment for young horses. This includes the riding surface. Deep, soft sand for example is not the right surface for young horses as they will have to learn and make the extra effort to move their hooves in and out of the loose sand. Silly as it sounds it is a learned skill. Any training ground with an incline will only add additional stress to the developing muscles and bones in the young horses' growing legs which could cause injuries. A level, not too hard or too soft field with short grass would be the preferred training ground. Stones must be removed to prevent hoof damage.
Remember, a properly trained horse is a pleasure to ride or work with.