Training your Foal: the First Attempts at Leading

Training your Foal: the First Attempts at Leading


training your foal

If the horse is used to the headcollar at this stage and seems to let the trainer handle without a problem, the time has come for halter-breaking. For this purpose, a strong lead-rope is attached to the headcollar. The leading lesson is one of the most important in the life of a horse, because it is a task the horse is expected to perform every day of its life, and because it is one of the key tasks in making the handling of the horse easy in the future. 

  The horse must learn to follow humans trustingly and obediently on the lead-rope. The foundations for this have already been laid by accustoming the young foal to be touched and to have a headcollar fitted. With these pre-requisites, it should be no problem to teach the foal to be led. The easiest way is to initially use the dam as a “magnet”, to teach the foal what you want it to do. Therefore an assistant who will lead the dam would be of an advantage. The foal will be eager to follow its mother. By initially using this inborn urge you can now move the foal in the direction you want it to go. The person leading the foal should grasp the lead rein about eight inches below the headcollar fitting.

   The end of the lead-rope is taken up by the other hand. Beware! Even when leading a foal, it is important never to wind the rope around the hand. If the animal is startled and tries to pull away, it is better to let go of the rope than be dragged along the tarmac. Even foals are stronger than humans and are quite capable of doing such a thing. A suckling will never run very far anyway but will stay near its mother. Nevertheless, leading lessons should always take place in a fenced-off area in which mother and foal feel secure and have as few distractions as possible. This is the only way to work quietly and with care in a trusting atmosphere, and thereby minimize the possibility of accidents. 

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