Specialist topic - starting a young horse

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Murray

Well-known Member
Staff member
This sticky thread is only to be used by specialists as per the list below. If you would like to be added to this list please send me a private message. The idea of this thread is so all members have easy access to information provided by our specialist members pertaining to their area of expertise.

1. GeeJay Horse Handlers Trainers & Re Educators
2. Horsewest
3. Western Ranch


cheers...admin
 

Western Ranch

Active Member
Day to day starting of Hamid Karzai Bascar

We would like to share with you how we work with young horses. But first we would like to clearly state that this is NOT a guide on how to start a horse. Every horse is different and needs his own approach. The horse we choose is a special horse that might prove to be a challenge from time to time, just to make it more interesting. Hamid Karzai Bascar is a Quarab, his sire is a pure blood Arabian and his dam is a registered Quarter horse. Hamid has been in a herd of horses all of his young life. He hasn't had a lot of handling by humans. This is his story...
 

Western Ranch

Active Member
Day 1


Hamid arrived at the ranch a few days ago. We gave him a bit more time to get accustomed to his new surroundings. The young ones that we get for starting get the first day they arrive to settle in, the next day we start working with them. All new horses get their own private paddocks. We feed them twice a day, which gives us the opportunity to get to know them a bit and keep a good eye on them.
 
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Western Ranch

Active Member
Day 2


Today's the first day we start working with Hamid. Hamid didn't accept the halter in the paddock yet, so we used Winchester (our all round gelding) as a pony horse. We got Hamid to follow Winchester into the round yard. We started as always with a join up and follow up. After Hamid did this really well, we brushed and touched him all over and picked up and cleaned his four hooves. This was the time to practice to put the halter on and taking it off. He is very sensitive around his pole and ears but reluctantly let us put the halter on him. To get his mind of the halter we put the saddle blanket and saddle on his back. He accepted this without any trouble. After letting him go through the walk, trot and canter with the saddle on his back we decided it was enough for his first day.
 

Western Ranch

Active Member
Day 3


We wanted to see if we would be able to put the halter on Hamid in the paddock but he wasn't ready for it yet. So with a little help and mental support from Winchester at the gate we could get Hamid to accept the halter in the paddock and bring him on the lead rope to the round yard. We did another join up and follow up. Brushed him and cleaned his feed. He did all of this well. Time to put the bridle with bit in. Every time we wanted to put it on, he took off. We worked him some more until in the end we could get it on. But he wasn't happy with it at all! It's clear that we have to take it easy on him and give him heaps off trust and confidence. After we got the bridle on we saddled him and let him walk with the saddle a bit. He accepted it again without a worry. We took saddle and bridle off and practiced a few times putting the halter on and off. After almost 2 hours, which is a long session we brought Hamid back to his paddock and gave him his evening meal.
 

Western Ranch

Active Member
Day 4


We still had to use Winchester at the gate to let Hamid accept the halter. We don't worry about that too much. When he will get more confidence and trust he will turn around. After the long lesson yesterday we decided that we would make this a shorter session. And we would make it easy on him so he would gain some confidence. We brushed and touched him all over again and he was less flighty as the days before. Even in his pole area he was better. After practicing the halter a few times it was time for the bridle. Because he took of yesterday I held him on a lead rope and halter today. First time I tried to put the bridle on, he took off again. But because I still had the lead rope I could stop him and ask him to come back straight away. Now he knew that he couldn't get out of it. After that he let me put it on and he settled down. Very well done! It was a big step for this horse. And that was it for today. It pays off to stop at the right time so the horse feels good about it all.
 

Western Ranch

Active Member
Day 5


Today Hamid has a day off. We work our horses 5 days a week, to give them a break and let the lessons sink in. Hamid needs a lot of groundwork done. Most horses we get in are already more accustomed to human interaction. We move them trough the steps quicker, by day 5 we might already be riding in the arena. Every horse is different and needs his own time. Hamid will catch up soon enough. More important is that all training is done thorough before moving to the next step. We want all experiences to be positive, this way the horse gains more and more trust and willingly takes the following steps.
 

Western Ranch

Active Member
Day 6


This is Hamid's big day!We were able to walk into the paddock and put the halter on him without any difficulty. He followed into the round yard where he got his routine of touching, brushing and feet cleaned. Hamid is a lot more relaxed and calmer while handling him. So relaxed that we decided he would be up for a challenge. We put the bridle and saddle on him and Erwin put a step next to him. He didn't agree with it that Erwin went to stand on the step. He scared away. After a couple of tries he stood still and we could start putting some pressure on the saddle and in the stirrups. We kept that up for a while until he felt fairly confident. Then the leg went over and Erwin was in the saddle. Hamid scared and took off in a canter. After a couple of rounds he stopped and stood still. We praised him and told him everything was ok. When he was relaxed again, we slowly started walking him around and stopping him. He was still very wary of every movement of the rider but he didn't take off anymore. Only when Erwin got off he side stepped away from him. All in all a good day for this nervous young horse.
 

Western Ranch

Active Member
Day 7


Today will be the second day under saddle. Getting the halter on in the paddock isn't an issue any more, we are past that problem. After grooming him we chucked the saddle on and did the same routine as yesterday with the step. He didn't worry about it at all, so on we went. When Erwin got on him, he didn't take of. He was still a bit nervous but we praised him for his good efforts and let him stand for a while. Then we walked him around the arena, Monique walked beside him to give him some moral support. Movements from my side in the saddle yesterday made him spook, so we trained on that. While walking around I started to slowly flap my legs, wave my hands and make noises. With this horse it's important to take it slow and give him trust each and every step of the way. While getting out of the saddle he was a little nervous, did half a side step but was relaxed. Just for the practice I got on and of again and he stood just nicely. That was enough for today. Because he still doesn't like the bridle to go over his face we will work on that tomorrow.
 

Western Ranch

Active Member
Day 8


We're not riding today because I want to work on Hamid's head shyness. He shy's when you want to put the bridle over his ears and come with your hands and bridle close to his eyes. We started work with Hamid on the halter/lead rope. I used a stick with a cloth on the end. I started walking from one side and touching him with the cloth to walking in a small circle to the other side and repeating it. Starting slow and touching him from tail to his head. Then approaching him faster and working faster with the cloth. Praising him each time by giving him a pet between his eyes and walking away again. When he was quiet and relaxed with that we replaced the shirt with a plastic shopping bag. It went all very smooth and I ended with a massage, starting on his neck and ending on his ears. We used the halter in the fashion you normally put a bridle on. Putting it over his nose and then with the neck strap done up over his ears. After a few times I was happy with the result and Hamid felt good about it. He's not there yet but he did great. We went for his first bush walk and it surprised me how relaxed he was.
 

Western Ranch

Active Member
Day 9


The sun was shining this morning after a couple of windy and rainy days. A nice day for a ride. In the round yard we always start with brushing and cleaning the hooves. Horses love routine. It especially helps nervous horses like Hamid to settle down, he knows what's coming. After a short repeat of yesterdays lesson with the bag, we saddled and bridled Hamid. He is fairly confident with Erwin getting on him, he stands nice and still. After a couple of rounds on the lead rope, it was up to Hamid and Erwin to start steering by themselves. Hamid got a little confused that all of a sudden he had to listen only to the rider on top of him and not just follow me on the ground. It didn't take him long to figure out what Erwin wanted though. He did just fine with his first steering lesson. He also got the idea of 'whoa' pretty quick. It still amazes me how quick horses learn and how intelligent they are.
 

Western Ranch

Active Member
Day 10


A well earned day of rest for Hamid. After 4 days of working with him in a row, he deserves a break. When a horse is doing well it is sometimes hard to stop. You always want more. But especially with a horse as Hamid it is important to give them time to think things over. He might be physically up for the job, but he has to be ready for it mentally as well.
 

Western Ranch

Active Member
Day 11


Hamid is getting better with putting the bridle on. We have to take real care and slide it slowly across his head and over his ears. But he still needs the control of the halter underneath so he can't pull back.
Erwin started riding him in a walk and practicing steering and the halt. This went well so he asked Hamid for a trot. Which he did. When trying to steer in the trot, the pressure was to much for him and he took off into a fast canter. He was obviously not ready yet, so we took him back a step to a walk.
One time during the training Hamid went into a controlled canter by himself. Normally we don't let the horse change gaits when not asked for, but in this case we let him. This way he can get a natural feel for the gait without any extra pressure.
 

Western Ranch

Active Member
Day 12


It was raining a bit when we got Hamid out of the paddock. A good day to saddle him in the stable. Hamid never has been inside, so it was a bit scary for him to be under cover while the rain made loud noises on the roof. He was a bit more nervous when saddling but he was ok. When it stopped raining we went into the round yard for work. We wanted to take it a step slower then yesterday. Just confirming the steering and stopping lesson. No trot today. Hamid responded well to everything we asked from him, so it was a short lesson. Always stop on a good note. And when the horse does what you wanted done within 15 minutes, well then he can go back into the paddock after a nice brush down.
 

Western Ranch

Active Member
Day 13


Even when we are not riding we are studying. Hamid is interested in Richard Shrake's Resistance Free Training. It is always good to keep an open mind and explore different techniques. You can learn something new from every trainer, instructor or author. Pick up what feels right to you. This way you accumulate a nice horsemanship toolbox that you can use whenever needed. But most of all, listen to your horse, he's you biggest teacher.
 

Western Ranch

Active Member
Day 14


A fresh start after a day of rest. Hamid responded well to the repeat lesson of walking, steering and stopping. So the trot was on the program again. We always start our training with something the horse has learned the day before and if done well we add a new step. Today it was trotting and steering in the trot. Hamid still goes into a fast trot when Erwin applies pressure when steering in the trot, but he doesn't take off in a canter anymore. At the end of the session he was getting a bit better at it. He showed us some nice movements. A good foundation to built on.
 

Murray

Well-known Member
Staff member
Feedback on thread to date...

Hi Western Ranch,

As a horseman I find this thread very interesting and informative and always look forward to the next progress report! As the administrator I think that our members are very fortunate that you have made the effort to post a day by day progress report on how a professional horse trainer starts a new horse. I am sure that all members will find this information invaluable and as a consequence it will become a very popular reference point within the Stockyard Discussion Forums.

Therefore, on behalf of all members I take this opportunity to thank you very much for this great initiative and the excellent presentation of this thread!:)*

cheers..admin
 

kiraSpark

Gold Member
I agree with you too Admin, I am finding it very interesting and am filing away all this information for when I might need it too. Thanks again Western Ranch! And the little pictures are great!
 

Western Ranch

Active Member
Thanks

Thanks Admin and Kirapark for your kind words. It's good to know that our day to day update about Hamid's progress is being appreciated. So lets get on with it ...
 
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