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Horse Articles :: Gentle Breaking a Horse
Gentle Breaking a Horse
To train a horse properly, the cost can be in the amount
of time consumed. If you wish to buy a well-trained horse
you must expect to pay for this training. The ability to train
depends on knowledge and experience, but anyone with the basic
knowledge of horsemanship can train a horse.
Today people want a gentle-broke animal. However, the new
owner must be warned not to buy a horse that has been started
by an inexperienced horseman. Usually this is the reason for
selling. The animal may have been so misused that it cannot
be retrained and the result may be much trouble and possibly
Any professional trainer taking on a new horse will ask what
has been done. The time it takes to undo bad training will
be added to the usual training price, and also the disposition
of the animal will be taken into consideration before acceptance.
If the new owner has found a gentle colt, unspoiled, there
is no reason to forego the job of training if a careful step-by-step
plan is followed and if each lesson will not be hurried.
The young owner must be impressed with the importance of moving
quietly and slowly around a young colt. The baby first must
get used to the feel of hands. To hold the animal gently,
slip the left arm under the colt's neck while the right arm
encircles the rump.
At first the colt might try to free himself, but he will soon
learn to stand quietly. The next step is to pat the colt over
the whole body, scratch around the ears, and rub his back.
The colt must tolerate this handling before taking the next
Handling the colt's feet is in the next lesson. Keeping the
right hand on the halter, the free hand should be run down
the hind leg, grasping the lower part of the pastern. Lift
the leg slowly, moving it forward and back. The colt may lose
his balance and jerk his foot. Try again and again, until
the colt learns to balance. Pick up each foot every day and
move it about until the colt does not object and learns to
balance. It is important to praise the colt after each successful
Start talking to the colt so he will begin to understand the
tones of the voice. The colt will start to enjoy each lesson
because of the petting and the praise, and eventually there
will be no sign of fear. About this time the colt will try
to play. Colt play consists of striking, biting, and kicking.
These antics are cute in a tiny foal, but as the animal grows
and becomes stronger they can be dangerous. Now the colt must
be taught what no means.
Limit each lesson to periods of ten minutes, gradually increasing
the time as the colt grows older. He will lose interest if
the lesson is too long. No matter what age, never work on
a lesson longer than twenty minutes for the best results.
This appears to be the animal's limit of concentration. Be
sure to finish the lesson with the act the colt knows well.
Never quit on a failure.
The average horse learns about twelve words. These must be
used as commands. The colt will learn quickly that a sharp
"no" means something is wrong. Say the word sharply. If the
colt tries to bite, strike him lightly on the nose and say
"no." For the first ten days of the foal's life he has no
teeth. He chews on anything and everything just as a puppy
does. Baby teeth are sharp, so the foal must be taught he
must not bite people.
The same words should be used for each command, such as "hold
it," when the colt is to stand quietly; "come," to bring the
colt to you; "easy," if the colt becomes restless and impatient.
A halter can be put on the colt when he is two months old.
The eventual quiet, well-mannered colt results from slow,
unhurried training. Your hard work will pay off and you will
be able to enjoy your well-trained horse.
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