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Haltering Foals - Training Workhorses Training Teamsters

Haltering Foals

by Lynn R. Miller of Singing Horse Ranch

Lynn Miller’s highly regarded book, “Training Workhorses / Training Teamsters,” is back in print! And that’s not even the most exciting news: The Second Edition is in FULL COLOR! Today’s article, “Haltering Foals,” is an excerpt from Chapter 8, “Imprinting and Training New Born Foals.” Click here to order.

In these photos I am demonstrating with a four month old stud colt, Ben, who has been fully imprinted at birth. There are two values to these photos. One is to show how you might halter a new born foal (granted Ben is a little large) and the other is to demonstrate the incredible strength of the imprint training. Ben has not been handled for three months. Keep in mind that I have approached Ben in an eighty-acre pasture and his mother has wandered off. There is no invisible wire or super glue holding him to this spot. He is held here by the strength of his training. (You should be doing this in a box stall or small enclosed area if the foal is untrained.)

Haltering Foals - Training Workhorses Training Teamsters

A. Approach, stroke and scratch neck and withers.

Haltering Foals - Training Workhorses Training Teamsters

B. Hold the basket of the halter under the nose and hold the poll strap in your right hand (careful not to make sudden contact with the neck or ears). You want to be sure you can attach or buckle the halter smoothly and quickly. Check this before you try to halter.

Haltering Foals - Training Workhorses Training Teamsters

C. When you pull the basket over the nose an untrained foal will back up quickly. You need to be prepared and committed to stay with it backing up until you have fastened the halter. Then let go. Don’t worry about restraining the youngster right away.

Haltering Foals - Training Workhorses Training Teamsters

D. Then kneel down with both hands extended, in one hand have an open snap at the end of a lead rope. When the foal sniffs your hand snap the rope to the halter and release, do not pull on the rope.

Haltering Foals - Training Workhorses Training Teamsters

E. When the foal lets you return to scratch its back gently reach for the rope and hold it slack.

Haltering Foals - Training Workhorses Training Teamsters

F. After the foal is comfortable with me hanging around, I put the lead rope in Ben’s mouth, like a bit, and let him mouth it.

Haltering Foals - Training Workhorses Training Teamsters

G. I stroke him all over, including the chest and belly.

Haltering Foals - Training Workhorses Training Teamsters

H. I stroke his forehead and …

Haltering Foals - Training Workhorses Training Teamsters

I. … move up to his ears. This will pay dividends later in life for bridling or any work around the head.

Haltering Foals - Training Workhorses Training Teamsters

J. And finally I pick up his feet. Notice he’s still out in that pasture. To the left of him is Juniper, his full sister, and behind him is Belle, his half sister

Ben is a stallion prospect so I am particularly pleased with his training process. If you haven’t noticed these things, please do take note: He was approached and haltered in the center of a big field. He is a nursing foal and his mother is no where in sight. He offered only full acceptance of whatever I took to him. When I was done, and unhaltered him, he did not run away. Instead he started to follow me until he lost interest and walked off with his half sister. If I had the time, and chose to, I could harness him and drive him and he would accept it and benefit from the extra training. I will not attempt to work him until he is three years old. But I expect that when that time comes he will offer no resistance.

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