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Foal training milestones. What do you expect then to know by when?

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  • Foal training milestones. What do you expect then to know by when?

    Being new to breeding and having not had a foal for almost 10 years I was wondering if you all that have been breeding for many years have a milestone training chart for your foals.

    I know every foal is different but figured I would see what you all expect your foals to know by what ages up to about a year old.

    TIA for your input.

  • #2
    I start with imprinting. Before they've been weaned I get them used to being haltered and leading. Once weaned we work on standing quietly for grooming, picking up their feet, standing still for bathing, accepting my hands or a rope or a blanket anywhere on their body, and loading in a trailer. Each baby progresses differently but most get his down within a few months of weaning. Yearling year we work on in hand patterns, learning to accept a saddle, and if we get the time trailering out for small shows for halter classes to get exposure.

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    • #3
      My filly is just 4 months old and I used the clippers on her yesterday. I didn't bore her to death with them, and when she started get bored and ancy I was done. They are all different. I start with brushing them with a soft brush the first week they are born, in the stall. I don't make them stand still for that, I just let them enjoy it. I pick up all the legs quickly and drop them before they can pull away. I don't really ask them to stand still for grooming in the aisle until they are weaned. I always start clipping them young, because it is much easier to get a little foal to accept clipping then it is a 1 or 2 year old.
      Derby Lyn Farms Website

      Derby Lyn Farms on Facebook!

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      • #4
        I'll be very interested to read the responses; I too wonder what expectations are (or should be), though of course I'm sure it will vary.

        My 9 month old filly gets led into and out of the pasture into her stall (by the side of the halter, they don't use the leadrope), and I am out 2-3 times a week working with her and handling her--in the stall only. I groom and rub her everywhere, brush her mane and tail, do some Masterson Method touches and releases, work in her mouth, touch her ears, do some touches on her poll, neck, shoulders, etc., pick up and pick out feet, practice with a Rider's Rasp. I've trimmed her mane with a Solo comb, and have run small clippers near her (and put them on the ground so that she can investigate them and get used to the buzzing sound.) She was bathed (did NOT like it!) and braided for her inspection, but she was only 2 and a half months old at the time--so I will have to re-visit the bathing "post weaning." The stalls are big, so I am able to practice leading--from both sides and in both directions--and I have taught her to "whoa", "back", yield her HQ (from both directions), move her shoulders away from me, and respect my space.

        After our session is over, she will take treats (pieces of apple or carrot) gently from the palm of my hand, and is NOT allowed to "mug me", but must wait politely. Everything is done calmly and slowly, and any "brattitude" is corrected immediately; she responds very well (though it sometimes takes her awhile to get into her "blissed out Zen state"; she wants to be busy and curious and a bit pushy--especially if she hasn't been worked with for awhile. I wish I were able to work with her more! She's very smart, and is a tester. On the few occasions when I've been able to get out to work with her on back-to-back days, she is a dream to work with the second of the two days.

        I can't work on tying unless I do it in the stall, there is a high tie ring that I could thread a long line through (and just work on some gentle pressure and release stuff), but I'm a bit nervous about this...No way to cross tie, and I can't work with her outside the stall at this point. I would like to work on some trailer loading this year, but *really* need to practice leading outside before trying this!

        Is there anything else that I should be doing with my "coming yearling"? My last foal was doing all of these things by this age (in and out of the stall), but I had him in a co-op situation with one other foal, so had a lot more freedom and flexibility (also, he was easier, not, um, NEARLY as stinking SMART! :-/)
        "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

        "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

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        • #5
          By weaning my foals lead, trailer load, pick up feet for farrier and stand for grooming. I half tie (cross tie on one side/have a lead rope that I can "give" with on the other). I do not cross tie babies.
          Providence Farm
          http://providencefarmpintos.blogspot.com/

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          • #6
            I forgot about clipping but like the other poster mentioned we also have them used to being clipped anywhere on their body with multiple kinds of clippers within a few months of weaning typically.

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            • #7
              I think it really depends on the individual and what goals you have for them. Some of ours show on the line as foals so they have to get used to "big kid" things much quicker than a foal that stays on the farm.

              Very generally speaking mine get their first farrier experience at 1 month (so halter and lead by then). By 4-6 months cross tie, bathe, clip, have been braided, and have trailered with mama. By a year (we have one yearling colt right now so I can say what he does) cross tie, straight tie, bathe, clip (trim and body), trailer, stand like a soldier for grooming, stand for farrier like all the grownups (most of the time better than them!), walk/trot in hand, trailer, hang out in the ring while I teach, and wear a bridle.

              After a year is all about doing these skills away from home. A new environment can make the best youngster forget their manners!

              These are all practical skills for my youngsters. I do small frequent sessions and they typically pick up each new task with ease. Keeping it positive (yet firm) and fun work for me and they enjoy their one on one time. It's so rewarding to lay a great foundation for a youngster. They will carry it for life!
              Nani Lio Farm, LLC
              www.naniliofarm.com

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                Thanks everyone for the replies. It's just nice to see what others are/do with there babies.

                My filly is almost three weeks old and she is leading ok but not reliable without a butt rope. She will be going her inspection at the end of August so not like there is a rush but I am a strong believer in training them now before they are big enough to really give you a run for your money.

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                • #9
                  I haves similar practice as Nani Lio. I show USDF Sport Horse Prospects starting with current year foals. My horses are shown in hand along side mom every three weeks from the time they're born till the end of the show season (Labor day). Plus I usually have the farrier out in the first week to make sure everything is normal and check for hoof issues the vet might have missed.

                  Imprint at birth, and halter/leading, grooming and feet handling from day one. I've found that to horses, what they experience regularly is "normal" to them. So for my horse trailering, going to new, and different places, waving flags, PA Systems, being led, petted, prodded, braided, clipped/trimmed and, taken on walks, are all perfectly normal. Besides its easier to work with a small foal than a large weanling or yearling. Desensitize a small foals to clippers who was never taught they scarey, is A LOT easier than working with a huge and powerful yearling.

                  If they don't know something is scarey unless they think its out of ordinary, so make everything ordinary. It's similar to puppies, socialized and worldly puppies and foals make for we'll behaved and experienced adults.

                  We do it by making everything a fun game that lasts 4 minutes or less I.e. Clippers are fun because we get scratches and vibrating back rubs, picking up feet is fun because legs get to be massaged and then we get to run around! Putting haters on is fun b/c I get my head scratched! Being braided is fun, b/c I'm a foal and every part of me is itchy! Being trailered is fun b/c we get to go to new places where new and more people will pet me and scratch me and tell me I'm adorable!


                  Originally posted by NaniLio View Post
                  I think it really depends on the individual and what goals you have for them. Some of ours show on the line as foals so they have to get used to "big kid" things much quicker than a foal that stays on the farm.

                  Very generally speaking mine get their first farrier experience at 1 month (so halter and lead by then). By 4-6 months cross tie, bathe, clip, have been braided, and have trailered with mama. By a year (we have one yearling colt right now so I can say what he does) cross tie, straight tie, bathe, clip (trim and body), trailer, stand like a soldier for grooming, stand for farrier like all the grownups (most of the time better than them!), walk/trot in hand, trailer, hang out in the ring while I teach, and wear a bridle.

                  After a year is all about doing these skills away from home. A new environment can make the best youngster forget their manners!

                  These are all practical skills for my youngsters. I do small frequent sessions and they typically pick up each new task with ease. Keeping it positive (yet firm) and fun work for me and they enjoy their one on one time. It's so rewarding to lay a great foundation for a youngster. They will carry it for life!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I agree with NaniLio and ScarletHare. Mine also show on the line. My philosophy is to begin as you intend to continue. Make as many aspects of routine show horse life, as easy as possible from the very beginning.

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