I had a reader question recently from Jessica who is “Trying to train her colt”. She originally emailed me her question, I emailed back asking for clarification so I am condensing her two emails into one.
Dear Mrs. Castro,
Currently I’m trying to train my yearling colt but it’s proving to be harder than I expected. The man we bought him from when he was 6 months old told me that he was halter broke but he’s never had a halter on him in his life.I haven’t been able to train him before now because of high school and now that I’m in college I have even less time to try to train him. Do you have any tips to help me halter break him? He’s going to be gelded in a month of so and I’m hoping that he’ll calm down after that.
My colt is really hyper and impatient and will sometimes get antsy is I don’t do things at his speed i.e. walking out to the barn as quickly as he does, feeding him as soon as he’s hungry, getting the feed slowly. Sometimes he paws at the gates and he’ll run up at people. I don’t think he’s ever reared, I’ve never seen him do so and I’ve never seen him kick. He’ll nibble on clothing to get people’s attention but he’s bitten once or twice but we reprimand him immediately.If we don’t he’ll repeat the problem. He’s finicky about the halter. He doesn’t like to come near us when we have the halter or lead. He also likes to play hard to get. I’m hoping to get his halter on him soon and I think once he’s gelded he’ll be easier to train. Thanks for your time.
Thanks for the training question. I’m sorry that the gentleman that you bought the horse from led you to believe the cold was halter broke. It would have been nice for you to have known he was not broke in any way shape or form in advance!
The reason for the stall is that right now he is acting like a wild horse.
The best thing for a horse that age is to spend lots of time with him.
After you are able to get the halter on him consistently, start teaching him to respect your space.
A horse should respect you enough to move his feet, shoulders and hindquarters out of your way.
The best way to do this is to approach him from the side toward his shoulders, sides, and or haunches and he should always move away from you. I walk toward a horse with authority and cluck. When he is out of my way enough, I stop clucking and say whoa. It’s never too early to start teaching a horse to whoa.
If he does not move when approached in that way, spank him.
His little mind is constantly learning, and constantly trying to figure out a way to get out of working so stay tough and diligent. You bought this colt to enjoy so enjoy the journey as much as the final destination. Stay consistent with your cues, praise, and punishments. Celebrate your successes no matter how small they may seem at first. A wise horseman once said, “If a horse gets one percent better each day it will only take 100 days to train him.”