A colt’s training commences the very moment it hits the ground. Being a prey animal, it is a natural instinct that your colt will pick up skills from its mother that would necessitate its survival as if in the wild. If left in this state, your young colt will become similar to a wild horse. Therefore, training a young colt should start as soon as it is able to stand, usually a few hours after its birth.
To lay the perfect foundation for training your colt, it is important to create an environment where your colt’s trust for humans will grow hence making it feel more comfortable around people. To be able to achieve this, there are two major steps to undertake.
Train Your Young Colt to Be Approachable
First and most importantly is the approach. It is imperative that your colt is approachable or it is comfortable approaching you. To help you develop this rapport, you will need to feel your colt all through its body from different angles. Maintain the contact as the colt moves and only moving away from it whenever it stops. Having its mother in the stable will help it be more receptive.
Teach Your Young Colt How to Respond to Different Pressures
Secondly, your colt will need to learn how to respond to different pressure applications i.e. how and when to move away or when to follow. These are the initial steps to help build body awareness and coordination for your colt. Confidence and trust in your colt translates into stress-free routine care that is necessary for the overall health of your colt.
Begin Ground Training Your Young Colt
After confidence and comfort are embedded in your young colt then you can start ground training. At this stage, you can introduce elements that will trigger flight reaction in your young colt and also form a basis for communication. These elements are movement, sound and touch. This is best done in a fenced area as opposed to the stable, which will help him become familiar with obstacles such as hula-hoops, barrels, water and noise. Introduce a saddle over his back and a hackamore. Initially, this can be done at cross lies until the colt is receptive to the saddle. Make sure he is comfortable walking around with it.
Keep Track of Your Young Colt’s Behavior During Training
Keep track of your training progress by accessing his behavior when you lead him at a walk or call for him to halt. Also, take note of how your colt is responding to your change of pace. Train the colt for his first ride by hopping on and off him from both sides. This way he’ll be ready for when you start using the stirrup. At first when atop him, try and follow his movements without directing him unless when you have to. It is important to just go at your colt’s pace at this stage. You can start to direct him once you realize he is comfortable with you on his back. Be sure to hold firmly so as to achieve desired results all the while being gentle. It is important to end a training session after a training after achieving a positive reaction from your colt. This will form a starting point that he’ll be readily acceptable to in your next training.
Training your young colt should be an enjoyable experience for the colt and yourself. A good training will be reflected on how your colt is adaptive to the world. When it comes to a successful training, routine and consistency are key. Also, never forget to maintain a relaxed environment especially at the initial weeks of training. Training your young colt is a race where speed is not the measure of victory. Slow and steady pace over time will grant you positive results that will prepare your colt for enjoyable rides for the rest of his life.
I hope you gained some knowledge through this post, please tell me if you use different techniques. Would love to discuss them with you.