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When do you halter train foals


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#1 Heidi

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 06:37 PM

I've done them at several ages but think my latest might get started tomorrow as he's rather cheeky and he has to be out for a bit before he gets to his pasture and I don't want to end up chasing him. When's the youngest you've started one?

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#2 Tricia

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 01:49 PM

I always started mine immediately - just putting the halter on and off a few times a day in the stall with mama, while she was eating her grain. From there I progressed at the foal's rate of readiness. The little ones followed their dams out to pasture and the way I am set up there was no problem with them running loose - everything is fenced.

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#3 janessa

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 04:32 PM

Asap is always a good idea. I get sick of buying foals and yearlings from people and the day Of having to witness and participate in a small rodeo just because of being haltered. Makes me wonder why I'm Really buying the horse?...

#4 Century Oak

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 04:53 PM

I always did right away as well, teaching them to follow mom out with a handler. Standing tied also starts with mom right next to them, and it sure makes it easier if something happens where they have to be treated or handled after they are past that cute baby phase and into the 4 month old big burly strong baby dragon stage :)
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#5 Den

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 11:40 PM

I just watched a good episode of Downunder Horsemanship with Clinton Anderson going through the steps he uses to prepare a 2-week old foal for it's first experience with a halter. He said he's been handling/touching/rubbing this foal every day, since it's birth.
In this episode, he begins teaching the foal to give to the pressure of a thin rope around it's neck, then combines this with a thin butt rope. He say's "Ask with the neck rope, tell with the butt rope". With each application of pressure, he releases for the slightest try. He then moves up to using a bigger and longer rope, using the other end for the butt rope, until he can eventually get the foal to give to pressure from several feet away, without the butt rope. Each time, he applies pressure by pulling gently from off to one side or the other, never from the front.
Once the foal seems comfortable with this and understands the idea without freaking out, he puts the halter on and starts out with the butt rope again, going through the same steps as before. The butt rope helps the foal remember what it's been learning. He mentions that you shouldn't go for more than about 10 to 15 mins in each session with foals this young.

Anyway, I thought it was a great way to introduce the halter. The episode was on RFDTV on 4/8/2010 at 11am. It was called "Practical Exercises for Trail Riding", although I don't know why?? I see the same title scheduled for Sunday, the 11th at 2pm. I don't know if it's the same episode or not.

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#6 Suellen Taylor

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 12:14 AM

Yes, I too start from the moment they are born..touching, rubbing all over, under their bellies and in their ears...altho, I do not use a lot of restraint. When the vet comes after 24 hours, and we really DO have to restrain them for blood pulling, I turn the head just a little, to teach them that they can still move a little, but it is always a good thing to grasp the chest and not the neck.

I am always happy to hear the IgG reports, then I go back in and tickle some..to let them know they were good and that the restraint was short-lived.

The next day, usually the third, I start the halter on and off..no ropes at all, until a week or so. When they go out following momma, especially here to the round pen, which is a little hike, we usually have someone along side here and there just in case of a mix-up or a runaway..I don't move as fast as I used to, so I generally keep the mare close to me for control, and she can see the foal.

When let loose, they tear about, but the foal sees me always in the pen,and when it is time to come in, it is much like liberty, halter mom, open the gate and back to the barn we go, with a little tickle session once confined again., this time I check feet and hooves.

This works for me for about a month as they get stronger, and neck muscles grow stronger, then comes the halter staying on for a half hour or so, with what I refer to as the dingle dangle..a tiny section of rope clips to the ring on the halter..lets them feel something around their heads. ALWAYS supervise this action and never leave the foal and momma alone.

Next comes the pressure of the lead rope..in both directions..and yes, a few moments only, maybe twice a day....and this I do IN the stall , never outside without confinement.

Each step continues, until you have a beautiful yearling in front of you, in their stance, and ready for the judges...LOL

Now, all this said...I can tell you that Sheila Varian NEVER halters her foals until they are weaned and ready for her type of training..that totally floored me when I met her..but I would say, that it works for her!

As in all things, everyone does what they are comfortable with and what works for them..I wholeheartedly subscribe to anything YOU like!!!!!!!

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#7 Phoenix

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 03:02 PM

Personally I do it right away, I have a foal halter with a catch strap on it ( came from England I LOVE IT), I feel the sooner you get your hands on the youngsters the better, touch and rub them all over put your fingers in the ears mouth and anywhere else :th_party0010: , I grab them under the tail to direct them around prior to haltering. I put an arm around front end and other hand under tail & teach them to give to pressure. I also pick them up and carry them around ( yes I'm strong for a chick and we have had some big foals, pick up the lil buggeres if you can oh and when born blow your scent into their nose ) Plus remember foals revert quickly, make sure you halter and lead them either daily or a few times a week, they are a flight animal so alway's be on your toes with them, babies can be very, very stupid at times.

I only use A halter on babies when I am on site, if off site NEVER, way too much trouble if they get hung up on anything and believe me any foal will find somthing to hurt themselves on it they can, they are super curious about everything.


My mom has waited a bit for some of hers and I yell at her for it. I have to teach them when they are larger, not very fun and I am getting older. My mom and I have a love / hate relationship.

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#8 Century Oak

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 05:46 PM

Phoenix you are echoing what I do with mine here. I have to wonder, having some now that are older and didn't get the training to give to pressure as babies, how this translates to training them to ride. Just some comments that a particular horse does not like to give to pressure, even tho this horse is awesome to tie or lead anywhere - makes me wonder if that early handling would have made training for riding easier on them.

I also pick up the babies and hold them, for as many days as I can (they get too heavy quick!) but something about being picked up and helpless to run away seems to imprint in them that they don't need to fear being held or restrained.
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#9 Heidi

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 05:51 PM

So far he's not to thrilled with the idea that this is going on his head, mom's not to crazy about it either.

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#10 Aimbri

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 06:17 PM

I start touching them immediately . . . they used to call this "imprinting". Then, at around 3 or 4 days, I start with the foal halter . . . just on for a bit of leading around the stall, with mom there. Then back and forth to the paddock following mom. Then, when they're about 2 wks old, they are out in pasture with mom for the next few months (NO halter on). At weaning time, they are brought in with mom, haltered and handled, and then mom is removed. The foals would be somewhere between 4 and 6 months usually at this time, and then the real training will begin. The basics started at the beginning stays with them though.

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#11 Kathy Bailey

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 11:31 PM

I started mine late, I think he was a couple of months old. He did *not* appreciate it. Now he's okay. Not great but okay. He doesn't like it but he stands very still, like frozen to put it on.

The next one is sliding out into a halter. I don't need to play rodeo with a 2 month old ever again.

#12 ponygirl

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 03:56 AM

I have started the at yearling and at birth. They seem to learn it at all ages just as well but if I have one that is hotter I start them earlier.
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#13 JRS Gentle Hills

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 04:02 PM

I just watched a good episode of Downunder Horsemanship with Clinton Anderson going through the steps he uses to prepare a 2-week old foal for it's first experience with a halter. He said he's been handling/touching/rubbing this foal every day, since it's birth.
In this episode, he begins teaching the foal to give to the pressure of a thin rope around it's neck, then combines this with a thin butt rope. He say's "Ask with the neck rope, tell with the butt rope". With each application of pressure, he releases for the slightest try. He then moves up to using a bigger and longer rope, using the other end for the butt rope, until he can eventually get the foal to give to pressure from several feet away, without the butt rope. Each time, he applies pressure by pulling gently from off to one side or the other, never from the front.
Once the foal seems comfortable with this and understands the idea without freaking out, he puts the halter on and starts out with the butt rope again, going through the same steps as before. The butt rope helps the foal remember what it's been learning. He mentions that you shouldn't go for more than about 10 to 15 mins in each session with foals this young.

Anyway, I thought it was a great way to introduce the halter. The episode was on RFDTV on 4/8/2010 at 11am. It was called "Practical Exercises for Trail Riding", although I don't know why?? I see the same title scheduled for Sunday, the 11th at 2pm. I don't know if it's the same episode or not.

Den


Thanks for posting this. I don't think my DVR recorded that episode.

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#14 LMG

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 07:33 AM

As soon as possible and before they realize they are going to be bigger and stronger then you when they grow up.

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#15 curly02

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 12:40 AM

It is never too early to put a halter on a foal and we generally do it as part of an imprinting process. You do have to remember to not yank on the necks since they are prone to soft bone injury. However, carrying a halter around does no harm and if we leave it on we always use a breakaway so that it can never get caught and hurt the neck. Taking it off and putting it on every time they are turned out and re-stalled with lots of praise and rubbing and low gentle voice makes them easy to halter later in life....At least that is what Sir Babbage is going through at the moment. In conjunction with the halter acclimation picking up the hooves and banging on the bottoms and stretching the legs forward and back goes a long way to making cleaning them later a non issue. With colts, handling the pencil and cleaning it also helps to get him inured to washing it later in life.
Everything is done with patience without pain.
Babbage is doing well at all these things and has stood still for all four feet without a helper, (Handler) only and never threatened to bite. In general it is fun to get him to understand we are friends not enemies but friends with an agenda, benign for sure but not subservient.
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#16 VictoriArabian Farm

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Posted 15 August 2010 - 08:07 PM

Our first foals born here at home won't be here until Spring. Our other babies have foaled out at the vet's or at their breeder's farms. We just got a 7 week old colt in who was wearing a halter. I took that one off (nylon halters scare me; they can get caught and it won't break) and put him in a thin, leather foal halter that has two removable crown pieces, so it can grow with him. There is a little leather catch strap attached, only long enough to grab before snapping a real lead rope on him. This colt had not been worked with, but in three days he was doing great and yielding to pressure from the butt rope and from the lead. My others babies were not as easy, but this is the first SE baby we have had on the farm and the difference in intelligence is amazing! He took about three weeks to get curious about me and now we are buddies. If I stoop down he will approach and stretch out his neck so I can kiss his nose. Once I scratch his chest and back, I can stand upright and pat his head; now he knows I am his person and not a little colt to play with or rough house with him. He's at the really cute stage where he just learned how to race around and jump. He checks to see if we are watching and then puts on a show but never gets too close or tries to mow us down like my Polish babies. In the first few weeks handling him was definitely a two person job, but now he is totally fine with just me. About 2-3 brief handling sessions a day have made a big difference in his personality and confidence. Knock on wood as I type this, because their attitudes can sure change as they grow. This little guy is more independent than any of my other babies, so I am hopeful that when we wean and put him in the show barn he will be pretty well-adjusted.

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