I rescued a
13 month yearling from a nearby farm that was not able to take care of her. She
had been closed in a stall for 4 months with her mother and then the mother was
given away and she was left for the last 2 months alone. She (we named her Lily)
is very kind and had been handled somewhat by her previous owners. She will let
you touch her and groom her. But that is it.
am confused as to what I should do next. I have a 25 year old mare and an 11 year
old gelding. They are all getting along OK, the gelding does bully her somewhat
What is my next step in training? Alot
of articles about yearlings assume that certain ground training has been done.
I'm afraid to throw too much at her at one time but I need to teach her to stand
for the farrier and the vet. I don't know how much of your yearling training I
can apply because she doesn't have the foundation she should.
appreciate any guidelines or ideas you can give me, as I always seem to find answers
in your articles.
Thank you so much for taking
the time to read this and hopefully answer!
Linda Scano, Freehold NJ
Your question got my attention because
it is quite common, no matter what the age or training of a horse, for a horse
owner to wonder "Where do I start? What do I do first?" This is especially
true when someone gets a horse that has been raised or trained by someone else.
I have written books that outline in a progressive step-by-step fashion some of
the lessons a horse needs to know. My
two longeing books start out with a thorough in-hand ground training section that
is appropriate for a horse of any age. And the first portions of the longeing
program are free longeing, that is without a halter and longe line. All of these
would be appropriate for your horse.
and Long Lining the English and Western Horse
I devoted a whole book to all those things that you do on the ground with a horse
so the horse will have good manners for you, your farrier and your vet. The title
really tells it all, Horse
Handling and Grooming.
And I've written quite
a number of articles about ground training, in the Ground Training section on
the Horse Information
Here is one that should help you make
up your own priority list:
So armed with all of that knowledge
of what to do and how to do it, now I'm going to give you a little bit of the
philosophy necessary for working with your specific horse. This advice would apply
to any situation where a person gets a new horse and doesn't know what the horse
knows and what it needs to learn.
First, let me distill
it all down to this - Your horse will tell you what she needs to learn.
while you are thinking about that, toss this in..........Start with the most elementary
goal, accomplish it thoroughly and consistently before adding something new. It
is much better to do simple things well than to do more complicated things in
What this means specifically in your case
is that when you try to do something very basic, such as put a halter on a horse,
the horse will tell you what she needs work on. She might move her head away,
resist having you come near her ears and so on. That, then, is her telling you
what she needs to learn first. Touching the ears should be the lesson, rather
than the haltering. You need to remove the obstacles to safe and easy haltering
by getting her used to having her head handled. Then putting a halter on and taking
it off will be just another part of head handling
- it will not stress the horse, it will be just another rung in the ladder. When
you break things down into simple components and present them to a horse is an
understandable way, most horses react as if to say, "OK, what's next?"
basic lesson for all future ground work is being able to safely and smoothly halter
and unhalter the horse. Then you can begin to introduce proper leading and in-hand
maneuvers. Eventually you will add tying.
you need to do is start with the simplest thing and continue adding lessons until
the horse says "What?". That tells you where your horse needs work.
beauty of this approach is that it works all the way through a horse's training
up to the most advanced riding training. I often talk about "finding a horse's
holes" so I can work on them and make him whole. When we take shortcuts in
training and handling, we bypass important lessons and either allow pre-existing
"holes" to persist or even create them ourselves. But if we are thorough
and systematic, we will do what we need to do, taking as much time as it takes,
thereby helping a horse reach his full potential.
always, as you observe and train, it helps to Think
Like a Horse !
Please let me know how you make
out with your filly.
Best of luck,