Tips for training foals
I think there are very many horse owners who miss great opportunities to help make a wonderful horse. Much has been written and done in recent years that will help train a foal from the first minute they are born.
I would guess that many people would think the last thing to do with a recently born foal is to start a training regiment. But that is exactly what you are doing when you imprint a foal. Dr. Robert Miller is the person who is the developer of foal imprinting.
Dr. Miller is a veterinarian and horse enthusiast outlines four principle benefits from imprinting. They are bonding, submission, desensitization and sensitizing. In a nutshell imprinting done properly helps the young horse instantly begin to assimilate into the human world.
Many people fear that this technique takes the natural response to danger away from the horse. I think that some imprinting is good from the moment the foal hit’s the ground. But the main thing in training a foal using imprinting is to make sure you have a long term goal and you know exactly what you are doing. Because if you don’t you will have to know how to undo what you did.
Training a foal should be done gently but firmly. Teaching the foal release of pressure and boundaries are very important. The foal learning to accept being touched all over is also key. A foal that is taught to have his feet handled properly from day one will be easy on the farrier.
I have been involved with starting to train a foal at about 30 days of age. They had a constant training program just about every day until he was two years old. The horse was rode the first time like he had done it his whole life. All the ground training had paid off in huge dividends. The horse could, back, side pass, turn, disengage the hindquarters, and turn on the forehand. The horse had very few things that bothered him on his first day.
Training a foal from day one opens a horses mind. No greater example of this than that of Beautiful Jim Key. Beautiful Jim Key was the most educated horse that ever lived. If I told you what he could you wouldn’t believe me anyway. So research him on your own. He should be the example of what is possible when you are training your foal. Don’t wait and waste all those great moments you could have been training your foal to be a great horse. Starting your foal into a training program will help him think better and be better socialized to humans. Go ahead make your horse great.