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Horse Training Basics

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Horse training can be fun, but it also can be quite a challenge. For the beginner, it's probably best to leave starting young horses to more experienced trainers. But really, we train our horses--even extensively trained ones, each time we interact with them.When you teach your horse something new, it means you've learned something as well and that is very rewarding.  Learn what your horse should know and what you'll need to know to to train your horse. Discover fun, easy, and safe training ideas for first time horse owners.

1. What You Need to Know Before You Begin

2006 K. Blocksdorf

Before you begin horse training, there are a few things you need to know in order to be effective and safe. Five Things You Need to Know before Training or Solving Problems explains how to approach horse training, what doesn't work and how to know what you are doing is working.

And while it isn't necessary to have a round pen to train a horse, it is good to work in an enclosed space such as a round pen, ring, arena or small paddock. If a round pen appeals to you, here are tips on How to Build a Round Pen on a Budget.

 

2. What Your Horse Needs to Know

horse tied at trailer
Photo: 2010 K. Blocksdorf

Even if you don't ride or drive it, there are 8 Essential Horse Manners every horse must have. One thing every horse should know is how to load onto a trailer. Training to Create a Willing Horse discusses trailer loading and provides tips for making horse training easier for you and the horse.

3. Safe Things You Can Train a Horse

Photo: 2006 K. Blocksdorf

It's easy and fun to Teach Your Horse to Neck Rein. Whether you ride English or western, it's handy to have a horse that can both direct rein and neck rein. It's also fun to teach tricks, and even non-horse people really enjoy watching horses perform them. Two simple to teach tricks are Give a Hug and Give a Kiss. If you're horse tends to bit 'mouthy' and nips, teaching a horse to give a kiss upon the cheek might not be safe, so you'll find an alternative that keeps the kiss away from the handler's face.

4. Training Ages and Stages

foal scratching
Image: K. Blocksdorf
Horse owners often wonder what they can do with their horses at any given age. What can a foal do, and can you teach an old horse new tricks? Horse Training FAQs help you decide what's appropriate at what age.

 

5. Common Training and Behavior Problems

Photos: 2006 K. Blocksdorf

Behavior problems can stem from a number of different reasons. For instance, there's no point in putting a tie down or martingale on a horse to solve something like head tossing, when its mouth hurts because its teeth are too long and sharp. The important thing when tackling any problem is to understand why the problem exists in the first place. Here are a few problem behaviors that are quite common:

Each of these problems is solvable with fair and consistent handling. Patience is key.

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