When to Begin Training Your Horse, by Jackie Brittain

leading2Training should begin at foaling. The young foal is very easy to handle and you can instill a trusting relationship from the start. Working with foals is more for building confidence and only working for short periods of time.

The biggest caution in this procedure is to be in control of the mare when working with the foal. Mares in nature have very protective urges due to hormonal changes. You may think you know your mare but she can be very aggressive at this time.

Make your introduction to your foal gently and use their curiosity to your advantage. Once you can touch your foal and stroke it, as if you were lightly brushing, and move close to its side putting your right arm over its back and around its neck. You are in position to go for you first walk with your foal.

Have the mare led and stay close to her with the foal and off you go on your walk. It is very easy to bond with your foal during this exercise and it is important to stay calm and close to the foal in a reassuring manner.

Kona and Abbie go for a walk.This is a great lesson and expand the touch and stroking to down the legs and lift the legs as if to clean their hooves. You can also start with putting on a halter (preferably leather foal halter). Again stand next to you foals shoulder with your right arm over the back and around the neck.

Next bring the halter under the neck and up to the head placing the noseband from underneath the chin so as not to scare the foal. Going straight to the face from the front is quite frightening. The main lesson is to build confidence and trust by repeating your movements consistently and quietly and above all for very short sessions!


Jackie Brittain
Merriewold Morgans Trainer