Training a horse to have ground manners will take between 1-2 months of consistent 7 days a week work. To finish a horse’s ground manners can take 3 months to years. It depends on the horse’s vices and the availability and frequency he is exposed to things. How long it will take to train a horse depends on some factors. In this article, we will go into details on the factors affecting it. Also, we will learn the basics of training horse.
How Does Long Will It Take?
As mentioned above, it depends on some factors. The previous training of the horse will play a part in how quickly the horse will advance. Some horses have pre-existing problems or nasty habits. They need to be worked out before proceeding with the training.
Horses also vary in how trainable they are. Some are easy to train and fast learners. Others are quite tough and take a lot longer. As a rule of thumb, on the average horse, it takes 3 or 4 months to put a good handle on him. Good handle means the horse will stop well and rollback. Also, the horse can do a good turn, spin a little, pick up the correct leads and back-up straight. He can also do a controlled walk, trot and lope and do it with a light mouth and good head position.
With 4 months of training, the horse will be working so well. He will have a good foundation on him. But he is not yet ready to compete in a reining or cutting horse class. To prepare him for a tough competition, it usually takes 12 to 16 months or more. It may not take quite as long if the horse is a “born natural”.
The Basics of Training a Horse
Horse training is fun but it can also be challenging. For beginners, it’s best to leave starting young horses to more experienced trainers. Knowledge, timing and skill are required for success. But we train our horses each time we interact with them. Teaching your horse something new means you have learned something as well. And that is rewarding. Learn what your horse should know and what you need to know to train your horse. Below are fun, easy, and safe training ideas for first-time horse owners.
What You Need to Know Before You Begin
There are a few things you need to know before you begin horse training. This is to help you become effective and safe with your horse. Know how to approach the training, what doesn’t work, and how to know that what you’re doing is working. It is not necessary to have a round pen to train a horse. But it’s good to work in an enclosed space like round pen, ring, arena or small paddock.
What Your Horse Needs to Know
There are essential horse manners every horse must have even if you don’t ride or drive it. One thing every horse should know how to safely load onto a trailer. It is in case of emergency.
Safe Things You Can Teach Your Horse
Teaching your horse to neck rein is easy and fun. It’s good to have a horse that can both direct rein and neck rein. Teaching your horse unique tricks is fun too. Even non-horse people enjoy watching horses perform them. Hugs and kisses are two simple tricks. But teaching him give a kiss on the cheek might not be safe if your horse tends to be a bit mouthy and nips. Find an alternative that keeps the kisses away from the handler’s face.
Common Training and Behavior Problems
Behavior problems can come from many different reasons. For example, there’s no point in putting a tie down when its mouth hurts because its teeth are too long and sharp. The important thing is to understand why the problem exists in the first place. We can solve these problems with fair and consistent handling. As they say, patience is the key.
What You Should Not Teach Your Horse
Horses misbehave. If you are a beginner rider, it is wise to get advice from an experienced rider or a trainer. Some behaviors like rearing, bucking and balking can be dangerous. You should know how to deal with them. There are also some things beginners should not attempt alone.
Steps on How to Train a Horse
If you want to train your horse to be ridden, there are some steps to make the process easier.
Step 1: Build a Bond
This is the first aspect of training a horse. You need to get the trust of your horse and make them feel comfortable around you. If not, it will be harder to get them do what you want them to do. Give your horse time to get to know you. It will make the communication between the two of you easier. Spending time your horse is one of the best ways to build a bond. Horses are creatures of routine and repetition. The more you spend time with them, the more familiar and comfortable they will feel around you. You can groom them, bathe them and braid their mane. It’s also important that your horse associates you with positivism. Your horse must think of you as a calming presence. Take time to focus on low-stress activities with your horse. Have a positive attitude and reward the horse when it’s due. These will help the horse see you as a good presence. Lastly, learn how your horse communicates.
Step 2: Master Groundwork
Groundwork is the foundation for any training you plan. It is basically any training you do on the ground with your horse. There are few key exercises when it comes to mastering groundwork. Teach your horse to stand still, it will encourage them to look to you for the next step to take. Also, lead your horse properly. If he walks slower than you, encourage them to stay at your elbow by waving the lunge whip behind you. If he is pushy and tends to walk ahead of you, immediately stop and make the horse back up. Repeat until he responds correctly.
Step 3: Desensitize Your Horse
It is when you get them used to things they aren’t otherwise used to. You should desensitize your horse before putting the saddle on them. It is to build trust, prepare your horse for the saddle, and get your horse used to pressure.
Step 4: Get the Horse Used to Saddle
Understand that all this is a new experience for your horse. First, get your horse comfortable with the saddle on his back. Second, attach the girth to the saddle and desensitize. Lastly, add the stirrups to the saddle and desensitize.
Step 5: Get Your Horse Used to Weight in the Saddle
This will be the first time your horse will feel a large amount of weight on their back. There are tips to get your horse used to weight in the saddle. Desensitize your horse to weight being added, lay across your horse’s back, and sit on your horse.
Step 6: Apply Pressure Under Saddle
It’s time to start applying pressure to ask your horse to walk forward, turn their head, move their hind-end, or back up. There are things you should do to help your horse respond to pressure under saddle. Remember your groundwork training and mimic cues from the saddle. Also, reward the smallest try from your horse and apply pressure and release.
Training horses don’t always go smoothly. There will be highs, lows, and a few rough spots along the way. Sometimes it only takes a little while. Sometimes it will take a little longer depending on some factors. But most of the time, the training will go smoothly.
I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!