Handle or leave a baby?

paddy555

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But if we start thinking that way, they don't ever deserve to have their world turned completely upside down when they are brought into work at three or four.

I would much rather see a youngster regularly doing fun and easy stuff with a human who is managing it well than have it suddenly put through a massive change in its life, which is what I see happen to young stock which are largely unhandled after learning the basics.
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that is exactly what I am trying to say.
 

paddy555

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Paddy - as long as they learn to be caught, led, pick feet up young then they don’t forget (although May test the boundaries 😉).

It’s not about letting them run completely ferel from the outset. It’s about not overdoing it. In my opinion there is no need to be handling every day, taking for walks, grooming, faffing with tarp walking or god forbid parelli shite.

Check them and give them a pat every day. Headcollar goes on for vet/farrier/moving fields. If you run into an issue, sort it with a short spell of targeted handling. Then leave them be.

I speak to many people who break horses. I’ve seen loads of youngsters grow up in different environments and this, in my opinion, is the best way - as supported by the vast majority of pro handlers.
all of this is repeated so many times but what does it actually mean.
I'm not suggesting they forget at all but what is wrong with what you call overdoing it? By teaching them I don't mean grooming, picking up feet and basic leading. That is a given for a youngster.
I mean further training. What is wrong with tarp walking? What is wrong with sliding the tarp over the back, under the belly, between the legs?
What is wrong with it walking over poles and L backing down them? What is wrong with taking the wheely bin for a walk in the road on one of your walks or dragging an oil can behind it? What is wrong with playing football and kicking the ball between it's legs and throwing it at it's sides? As some stage a child is going to do precisely that at a picnic place, better it learns to be bombproof as a matter of course.
The youngster is not stressed, it's stress levels keep deteriorating as it is subject slowly to more stress. It enjoys learning and learns to learn even more.
There is no "breaking" the horse up to the stage of being mounted and wandering a few steps with a rider to learn what weight is, learnt about traffic and machinery, being long reined out and been led in all sorts of positions. He has not been broken. He has just slowly assimilated all of that knowledge. There is no breaking.
Now he is ready for someone to start actually riding, walking and trotting and then riding out. (of course that may not be the early years handler, they may not have the confidence for this stage)
How easy it has all been. :)

the majority of pro handlers to me is questionable along with the idea of we have always done it that way.

I would be interested to hear why over doing it is bad.
 

paddy555

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No they don't, but they are often less enthusiastic about being ridden, almost sour, and IME don't progress as fast. Over time they are fine, usually, but I find heavily shown young horses are often a bit dull.
mine aren't shown, I am talking about training not showing, although of course travelling and showing is more good varied experience.

I would suggest less enthusiastic ridden may well be down to their first proper rider. That may not be the early years trainer. If that (breaking) rider is poor, lacks confidence or fails to motivate the horse then obviously it will not be so keen.
 

stangs

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But if we start thinking that way, they don't ever deserve to have their world turned completely upside down when they are brought into work at three or four.
Surely if their world is being turned upside down when they get broken in, then they're being broken in too quickly?

At 3 or 4 imo, they ought to be being introduced to the world in the same way that people on this thread are introducing 2yos to it. Backing can always be postponed whereas they'll never get their baby years back. Age 2 is for having fun with fieldmates, knowing basic husbandry skills, maybe doing some fun new things (like going for a walk or exploring the arena - both with other horses) but only once every couple months.
 

Cortez

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mine aren't shown, I am talking about training not showing, although of course travelling and showing is more good varied experience.

I would suggest less enthusiastic ridden may well be down to their first proper rider. That may not be the early years trainer. If that (breaking) rider is poor, lacks confidence or fails to motivate the horse then obviously it will not be so keen.
Erm, their first rider would have been me.
There is plenty of time in a horse’s life, he doesn’t need all that stuff thrown at him as a baby. I have seen first hand what happens when inexperienced people decide to have a foal and “bond” with it. There was a trend years ago to imprint train foals: that didn’t end well in the examples I saw. Now if you’re more experienced you’ll know when to step back and will undoubtably produce young horses that are a delight, but I am relating my experience of many, many foals over a lot of years.
 

paddy555

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I still can't see any reason from the replies as to why a young horse cannot learn nor that he can be over taught so I give up. The more any horse can learn at any age seems to be a great advantage to prepare and enable him to cope with life in the human world.
The only reason I can make out not to do much is because of the handlers nothing to do with the horses. That's not a reason just an area for education.

For those you advocate just a small amount of handling for routine tasks and then out with others in the field until they are 3 or 4 I have no idea how I could make that work if I wanted to keep the horse barefoot unless he was at a barefoot livery with variations in the track. You would end up at 3 or 4 with a very new to ride horse on surfaces he may well not cope with. All his feet would cope with would be a grass field. You would miss all those early years of conditioning. To me in an ideal world the young horses should be going out riding either loose or on a leadrope all of which would educate them as well.
 

ycbm

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Surely if their world is being turned upside down when they get broken in, then they're being broken in too quickly?

I just don't see the benefit to a horse to allow it to spend years in a lifestyle that it isn't going to have again until its no longer fit to ride. I see benefits to the owners/handlers, and that's fine if that's what they want to do. But not fine if they want to tell others that they shouldn't be doing it, which this thread is coming close to at times.
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windand rain

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Might be wrong but it is the idea of a regimented daily 30 minute walk followed by 20 minutes in a school then an hours groom etc that most professionals don't like, The foal forced to interact with humans for longer than being horses etc. I like paddy55 ideas to a point but not daily or even regularly at all hence my haphazzard approach. by the time they are ready to be backed they have been out and about, met traffic, been long reined independently around the town (the quiet safe bits) loaded, lead, trot up in hand in straightish lines, stay in a stable tie up have a bath which sounds like a lot but may have only been caught once or twice a month if that
 

paddy555

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Might be wrong but it is the idea of a regimented daily 30 minute walk followed by 20 minutes in a school then an hours groom etc that most professionals don't like, The foal forced to interact with humans for longer than being horses etc. I like paddy55 ideas to a point but not daily or even regularly at all hence my haphazzard approach. by the time they are ready to be backed they have been out and about, met traffic, been long reined independently around the town (the quiet safe bits) loaded, lead, trot up in hand in straightish lines, stay in a stable tie up have a bath which sounds like a lot but may have only been caught once or twice a month if that
I cannot recall ever putting time or day limits on it. I am not sure the average yearling would work for those lengths of time, they have to learn to learn and to start with those are for minutes as they don't have concentration for longer. As they learn the times get longer. If I take one for a walk it may well be for an hour, shock horror, as that is what the babysitting horse is going out for. If I groom it then it may last 10 minutes.
I have a small yard that faces onto the road. If cattle are wandering up and down the road then it may be shut in there with some hay for as long as they are providing a useful service wandering past.

We may walk out on the road daily and then it will go into Kevin mode and that will be it for a few weeks until it joins the real world again.Usually if an interesting opportunity comes up for example the digger is digging out the dung heap I grab it. I drive the digger back and lead the horse off it.

These are not foals.
They are yearlings, 2yo 3yo and possibly early 4yo.

This is a clip I copied to save me writing it out.
Flat racehorses are broken-in at around 18 months of age, having already been very well handled and used to having a bit in its mouth, as well as usually having been lunged and led out in hand. They will also be used to wearing rugs, being shod and generally examined by a variety of people.

this is way more that I would have done with a 18 m or 2yo. I would never lunge ever, nor bit it nor shoe it.
I most certainly would not be on it's back.So if it is perfectly acceptable for a TB to have all this done why on earth can't the ordinary horse owner do some handling and interesting exercises.



I don't care what people do, it is up to them. What I find annoying is when people ask a question on here about a youngster and they immediately get told they are wrong. It must go to a youngstock livery, must be left in a field to play with it's mates until it is 3 or 4. It should only have very minimal handling to do the essentials otherwise it will be ruined.
There is nothing nicer for someone with a young horse to train it early on especially if they want to keep it. It gives a real connection with the horse. (that is connection not bonding with a cuddly foal BTW)
 

milliepops

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There is nothing nicer for someone with a young horse to train it early on especially if they want to keep it. It gives a real connection with the horse. (that is connection not bonding with a cuddly foal BTW)
I'm pretty sure i've broken all the HHO rules with my homebred but I have to agree with this statement, i enjoy time with her as much or more than all the others combined. i cuddled her, i still do (i cuddle any horse that invites it :eek:) but i've also done a fair bit of generalised training and handling and i find her very easy to read and understand. she is an information sponge - when i've done stuff with the 3yo she is clearly keen to be involved with anything new.
Anyway i'll be backing her myself so if I've b00gered it up, it's only me that will suffer :p
 

windand rain

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I'm pretty sure i've broken all the HHO rules with my homebred but I have to agree with this statement, i enjoy time with her as much or more than all the others combined. i cuddled her, i still do (i cuddle any horse that invites it :eek:) but i've also done a fair bit of generalised training and handling and i find her very easy to read and understand. she is an information sponge - when i've done stuff with the 3yo she is clearly keen to be involved with anything new.
Anyway i'll be backing her myself so if I've b00gered it up, it's only me that will suffer :p
Me too I don't like rules and I apologise to paddy55 I didn't mean you I meant it depends on the mind set of both horse and handler as to the quality of handling treating them like young horses is positive treating them like human babies is useless and of course there a million routes in between
 

Asha

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I’m assuming here that my set up is pretty similar to most peoples .
my foals are handled from the minute they are born. They are taught to lead / be groomed / caught and have feet picked up etc . Once that’s established I don’t purposely do a great deal with them . However mine do come in daily when the weather is bad and on the way in and out they are expected to walk over that bit of Haylage wrap that’s blown off the bale .. so similar to paddy555 asking them to walk over tarp ?? Our yard is a mixture of terrain .. concrete / arena / chipping etc … so similar to paddy555 going for walks . If they come in wet and are a bit shivery they get a fleece our towel on them to dry them off . So again used to stuff being thrown over them .
when I’m clipping a grown up .. they watch and get a look at the clippers
I could go on and on .. my point being we don’t purposely do groundwork with any youngster until they are an age to be backed . I’d rather leave them be , They have years ahead of them to do purposeful work .But that doesn’t mean they are feral and so far those that have been backed have taken it all in there stride . ( not hundreds admittedly)

so my point being that most of the people on here whilst doing limited stuff with youngsters will more than likely be doing all the stuff paddy555 has suggested but in a less formal / structured manner .
 

paddy555

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[QUOTE="windand rain, post: 14819225, member: 101350" it is the idea of a regimented daily 30 minute walk followed by 20 minutes in a school then an hours groom etc [/QUOTE]

I don't even do that with mature horses. Nothing I do is formal. I have an agenda that I want the yearling,,2,3yo to be able to do XYZ but that is done when I have time, when it is in a good conducive training mood and when opportunities present themselves. There is no timetable, it could take months or years or it could be tomorrow.

The tarpaulin seems to be causing amusement. When I ride out of here about 200 yards up the road is a very mucky farmyard the road goes through. Messy farmer, silage bags and silage wrapping everywhere and usually lying all over the road and often blocking it. Unless the horse can walk over it then we will be going nowhere. As they march over the plastic then I can see the tarp. training has done it's job. Plastic is boring. :D

Sometimes we go for a walk in hand and OH comes on his bike. So we are going bike training and we need to as we have a lot round here.


None of this is training the horse as in regimented schooling, it is simply training the youngster to cope with the many things and situations in the human world where it is going to be living that are thrown at it. That will make his life a lot less stressful and easier and it will be safer for everyone.

Milliepops,
OMG, I was horrified by the "cuddling" I thought that was just me.:p
 

Horses_Rule

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Everyone is an expert when it comes to these things. I just think you reap what you sow with young horses. Most of my babies I have taught basics feet, tying up leading etc and left. However my 18month old I have atm had fistulous withers over the summer and lost a lot of condition so this winter she is being treated like a ‘normal’ horse. Comes in at night out in the day abit of tlc to get her back on track. The daily handling is doing her the world of good, teaching the stable manners and so on. Once the summer comes she’ll go out back into a herd 24/7. I really believe in quality of handling not quantity but I do agree it’s alot to expect and I’ve seen it where 3 year olds are brought in for backing and are just terrified of life and we expect them to deal with it, then let us sit on them and kick them around in arenas and roads when they haven’t been exposed to anything. With these levels of stress people are probably setting their young horses up for ulcer issues from the beginning.I don’t think it’s ‘over handling’ that’s the issue just the type of handling or people that ruins them.
 

windand rain

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I actually think that no one is an expert as what works for one may well not work for another it's a bit play is by ear and be prepared to adapt to the personality involved. A vague plan is a good idea but the ability to adapt is key
 

Ellietotz

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I'm inexperienced with youngsters and I'm currently learning with my own foal.
For me, overhandling would be cuddling them all the time, scratching, letting them lean on you and scratch you back as it sets no boundaries, letting them chase you (massive pet peeve, it's just stupid and dangerous). All the "nice" things you would do to maybe bond with an established adult horse, I wouldn't do with a foal. Certainly no treats from the hand either. Everything is quite strict when he is being handled. I tend to pay him no attention when he is turned out and just get on with jobs as I've learned to do with my mare who was overhandled and spoilt and has no sense of personal space.

I have no schedules with what I do, it's too dark in the evenings to do anything at the moment anyway. He comes out once or twice on the weekend to tie up, brush, pick up feet, back up/stand etc and I might add in putting a towel on his back or rubbing his belly with it to dry off or spray some pig oil/fly spray to get him used sprays and walk through puddles on purpose on the way back to the field, letting him see chickens and cars that pull in. Though the "extras" aren't every single time, just once every couple of weeks when he is out to have that general exposure to normal things. During the week, he is mostly left to it turned out 24/7 and I always make sure I'm setting boundaries as the norm.
 
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