Right From the Start
Give your horse a good foundation with tips from the Vaquero Tradition.
February 2, 2009
A good foundation paves the way to a well-broke horse.
When you’re starting a colt, one of the most important things is to keep him from having bad experiences. If something happens to make him throw his head up and run off, he’ll remember that, and he might even revert back to it later.
That’s why calm, gradual training will get you the best horse.
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We start our colts in the winter of their 2-year-old year.
We halter break the babies when they’re weaned, so these colts already know how to give to pressure a little bit and move their hindquarters.
As we’re halter breaking babies, we want them to learn to trust us. We’re careful not to use movements, like slapping them, that might scare them. We just scratch and pet them until they start to trust us.
As I’m doing this, I hold the lead rope with my opposite hand instead of tying the colt up. This teaches him a lot, because if he gets scared and tries to leave, I can use the lead rope to arc his body around and slow his momentum.
This lays the groundwork for the one-rein stop we’ll teach him later.
As a 2 year-old, he’ll get a refresher course about yielding his hindquarters. Then I’ll get him used to the saddle the same way I got him used to people – taking my time, with slow, gentle movements.