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Young Horses

3832780 This is just a short post – I wrote a longer one on a different topic, then decided I needed some pictures for it before I publish – so I wrote this one to keep everyone entertained in the meantime! I just got a new yearling (coming two-year old) in on the farm to be backed and we did our first training session today so I was musing about youngsters all day. Those that have owned or handled young horses know they require a little extra patience. Young horses have short attention spans, and they do not stay as focused. When working with youngsters I have found that it is most beneficial to do short sessions often. Also incorporate a lot of positive reinforcement and fun in the training to keep the young horse interested. A bored baby will look for trouble (usually in the form of gremlins lurking outside the arena so he can spook and run around). Also keep in mind that young horses are more likely to be different day to day. One day they are tired and lazy and the next they are ready for a thrill ride. The key to training a young horse is consistent repetition and patience – they may forget what you did in the last session and need to repeat the training process a few more times before it really sticks in their developing brain. Youngsters often do not have the respect for personal space that on older horse does because they have not yet been taught that they cannot run into you to initiate play as they do with their field mates, or that you do not appreciate when they turn around to reciprocate the grooming process. Appropriate corrections and firmness when needed will keep the baby in line. I love working with young horses because they are curious, eager to learn, and do not have the developed bad habits of older horses. Keep your sense of humor, and they are a lot of fun!

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