How To Halter Break A Horse? (TOP 5 Tips)

Stand to the left of your horse facing the same direction it’s facing. Apply pressure to the left side of the halter like you’re attempting to lead the horse left. Continue this pressure until the horse moves its head to the left. Then you can release.

How long does it take to halter break a horse?

Tom and Margo say their halter breaking program might take one day or three weeks, and they might spend more time on different steps with different foals. They might start a foal at 30 days old, or they might wait longer; it all depends on the personality and needs of each foal.

How do you break a horse step by step?

Step-by-step Guide on breaking a horse

  1. Gain horse trust. It all starts with confidence and trust.
  2. Pressure and release. Use negative reinforcement by applying minimal pressure on the horse’s body.
  3. Rewarding progress.
  4. Desensitization.
  5. Saddle training.
  6. First ride.

How do you halter an unruly horse?

Pass a lead rope under and around the horse’s neck. Stand on the horse’s left-hand side, take the end of the lead rope, and pass it under your horse’s neck. Reach over the horse’s neck with your other hand and grab the rope (keep the halter in the hand that’s under the horse so it doesn’t startle it).

Is it hard to halter break a horse?

Halter breaking a horse isn’t terribly difficult, but it can be time-consuming and it will take a great deal of patience on your part. It’s essential for any domesticated horse, and the earlier you can do it in the horse’s life, the better.

Should you leave a halter on a horse?

One of the most aggravating things in horse ownership is a horse that is hard to catch. Leaving a halter on the horse in the pasture would be easier, but can lead to tragedy. As horse owners, it is our responsibility to keep our horses safe. You should NOT leave a halter on a horse in the pasture!

At what age can you break a horse?

Most breeds of horses are broken to ride when they are between two and three years old. It is important to wait until this age because the joints need to develop enough to support the weight of the rider. Horses that are broken too early can wind up having joint problems and soundness issues as they age.

How do you halter train an older horse?

Halter breaking an adult horse involves patience and time. You will have to spend time getting the horse used to your handling his head, ears and neck. Reward the horse for letting you touch him by offering him treats and verbal praise. Once the horse accepts your touch, you will begin getting him used to the halter.

What is halter broke?

Young horses or foals are often halter broke. This means they are trained to be accustomed to wearing a halter and will walk obediently on a lead rope beside the handler.

How to Halter Break a Horse Successfully

It is essential that your horse is thoroughly halter broken before it can be trusted to be around other people at all times. Most domesticated horses go through this procedure, and it is universally true of all of them. When a horse is not halter broken, it is impossible to ride it and it is impossible to lead it securely around the arena. Halter breaking, on the other hand, is not a difficult process. Halter breaking is possible for any horse if you follow the methods that we’re about to detail for you.

What Does it Mean to Halter Break a Horse

Halter broken horses are comfortable wearing halters and are capable of responding to a variety of cues and signals. If the horse has been thoroughly halter broken, it will be able to move its head in any direction depending only on instructions from the handler. Halter breaking is the process of making the horse comfortable with the halter and training them to listen to the cues that the rider gives them.

How to Know if Your Horse is Halter Broken

The purpose of halter breaking is to teach the horse to respond to movement signals 100 percent of the time, without fail, and this is accomplished via repetition. When your horse is able to appropriately respond to every command without ever skipping a beat, you will know that it has successfully broken the halter.

When Should a Horse be Halter Broken

A halter should be worn by horses from the time of birth, ideally within a few days of birth so that they become accustomed to it. If at all feasible, they should be halter broken when still foals. Adult horses can still be halter broken, but it will take considerably longer and will be much more difficult to achieve than it was in the past.

How to Halter Break a Horse

The following activities must be repeated over and over again until you are certain that the horse reacts to the cue on every occasion. Once you have mastered this for moving in one direction, you may progress to training in a new direction and with a different signal.

Moving Left

Stand to the left of your horse, facing in the same direction that your horse is traveling at the time. Apply pressure on the left side of the halter, as though you’re trying to bring the horse to the left side of the arena. Continue to apply pressure on the horse’s head until it begins to shift to the left. After then, you may let go.

Moving Right

It is the identical method as for going left, only that you will be standing on your horse’s right side and exerting pressure as if you were attempting to lead the horse to the right instead of leaving it.

Moving Forward

Pulling forward with the lead rope right beneath your horse’s chin is a gentle technique. Consistent pressure should be used until the horse takes the first stride forward. As soon as it does, you must relax the pressure that has been applied.

Moving Backward

Essentially, this is the polar opposite of instructing the horse to move ahead. Put the lead rope beneath your horse’s chin to get him started. You can remove pressure by pressing rearward towards the horse’s chest for a few seconds until the animal moves backward, at which time you can release pressure.

Lowering Head

Educating the horse to move ahead is diametrically opposed to this.

Put the lead rope beneath your horse’s chin to get things started. Keep applying pressure backwards towards the chest and keeping it until the horse steps backwards, at which time you can let go of your grasp.

Lifting Head

Put your hand beneath your horse’s head, palm up, at the point where the neck and head connect. Gently press up until the horse’s head comes to a raised position.

One Tip for Better Training

Grasp the area where the horse’s neck and head connect with your hand, palm facing up. To elevate the horse’s head, gently press up on its neck.


It is not difficult to break a horse’s halter, but it can be time-consuming, and you will need to have a great lot of patience on your side. It is very necessary for any domesticated horse, and the sooner in the horse’s life that it is accomplished, the better. As a general rule, you’ll prefer to halter break them while they’re foals, but adults can still be broken, though it may be more difficult to do. Image courtesy of Shutterstock user IRINA ORLOVA. The author, Dean, is a lifelong outdoorsman who spends most of his time travelling around the different terrain of the southwestern United States with his canine partner, Gohan, who is his closest buddy.

Among Dean’s many loves, studying is one of the closest to his heart.

The Right Way to Halter Break a Horse

Photographs courtesy of IJupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images Handling and doing anything with horses who have not been halter broken is nearly hard to do. The halter is a fundamental piece of equipment that is placed on the horse’s head and is used to tie the horse up, lead the horse, and communicate basic orders to the horse, among other things. Training a horse begins with halter breaking, which is the first stage in the process.

Foals and Young Horses

Ideally, a foal should be touched by people relatively quickly after birth, if at all possible. A halter should be placed on a foal’s head within the first few days of his life in order to get the foal acquainted to the sensation of having a halter on his head throughout this period. Because a foal has not yet established any undesirable habits, halter breaking him has the advantage of being relatively easy to handle due to his tiny size and inexperience. Getting your foal used to having his head handled and his halter put on and taken off repeatedly while he is still a young foal will likely result in his accepting the halter as a simple and unquestioning part of his daily life and routine for the rest of his career.

Adult Horses

Hhalter breaking horses that are born in the pasture or who have been unhandled for the early portion of their life might be a little more challenging since they are not used to being handled. Taking the time to halter break an older horse requires patience and perseverance. Take your time getting the horse acclimated to your handling his head, ears and neck during the training process. Treats and verbal praise should be given to the horse as a thank you for allowing you to touch him. As soon as the horse accepts your contact, you may start working on getting him accustomed to the halter.

To put the halter on the horse, you will need to carefully move it over his nose and up over his head, buckling it on the side of his head behind his ears.

Even though it may take several attempts to get the halter on an adult horse, you should not give up.

Once the halter is on, you will most likely want to leave it on for several days to ensure that the horse is comfortable with it before you begin practicing putting it on and taking it off the horse.

What Not To Do

When horses are born in the pasture or are left unhandled for the early portion of their life, it might be a little more difficult to halter break them at the beginning of their training. Taking the time to halter break an older horse takes patience and perseverance. Take your time getting the horse used to your handling his head, ears and neck during the first few rides. Treats and verbal praise should be given to the horse in exchange for allowing you to touch him. Once the horse accepts your touch, you may begin working on getting him accustomed to the halter and lead rope.

To put the halter on the horse, you will need to carefully slide it over his snout and up over his head, buckling it on the side of his head behind his ears.

Even though it may take many attempts to get the halter onto an adult horse, you should not give up.

Leading The Horse

Once you’ve secured the halter over your horse’s neck, you’ll need to teach him how to react when pressure is given to the halter’s buckle. Begin by connecting a lead rope to the halter of your horse’s neck. Hold the horse’s lead rope to the right of your body and provide pressure by pushing it to the right. Your horse’s head should be turned in your direction. When he does this, give him your appreciation. Now repeat the process on the other side. Instructions for teaching your horse to step forward and backward include applying pressure to the halter while waiting for him to walk forward or backward in the direction that you want him to go.

  • If your horse behaves well, you may reward him with goodies and positive reinforcement.
  • First, secure your horse’s halter with an adjustable lead rope.
  • Your horse’s head should be turned in the direction of your direction of travel.
  • Repeat the process on the other side.
  • Within a short period of time, your horse will learn to follow the pressure of the leadrope as a means of relieving the strain that has been put to him.
  • References Credits for the photographs

Halter Breaking Your Foal – AQHA

Learning how to train your foal to accept a halter does not have to be a difficult process. More information may be found in our free booklet. Training your own foal is a unique and unforgettable experience, but it is not one to be underestimated. His early experiences will have a lasting impact on the way he views the world for the rest of his days. Halter breaking a foal will be his first experience learning to respect you, to submit to pressure, and to cope with unfamiliar situations. You need to be certain that everything is done correctly the first time.

  • Learn how siblings Tom, Wayne, and Margo Ball of Ball’s Quarter Horses approach halter breaking with care, developed trust, and the notion that every foal is an individual in this episode of Ball’s Quarter Horses.
  • Each foal’s personality and requirements are taken into consideration, so they may begin training at 30 days of age or later, depending on the situation.
  • Learn how to determine whether your foal is ready for halter breaking in Step 1 of this guideline.
  • “We don’t want to get involved in a battle with them.” Attempting to halter break a foal before he is ready might cause him to become traumatized, making training more difficult in the future.

As a result, make certain that your foal is ready. TheHalter Breaking Your Foale-book also covers the following topics:

  • The most effective method of fitting a halter to your foal
  • The following are some suggestions for your foal’s first time wearing a halter: How to add the lead rope into the scene
  • How to guide your foal using several techniques
  • Taking your foal out of the stall for the first time
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Finally, Tom and Margo will walk you through the process of educating your foal to stand tethered. Unless you follow the instructions of these professionals, this procedure can be quite frightening and deadly for your foal if not completed correctly. The Halter Breaking Your Foal e-book is a must-have for all breeders, foal owners, 4-H organizations, and anybody else who is interested in developing young horses’ training abilities.

Submit the form below to download the Halter Breaking Your Foal e-book.

Postings in the categories:Featured,Horse Care,Horse Training, and Ranch Life My father recently experimented with a novel method of halter breaking a colt while attempting to break him. He made the decision to teach this one how to lead in the round corral with his mother. My father, who is 69 years old, has spent his whole life working with and around horses. A true horseman understands that when working with horses, he is always learning new things and developing his skills. Our regular procedure when dealing with a colt is not to have the mare in the round corral; but, this time he did and it worked out perfectly for him!

  • Those qualities demonstrate what a docile and good-hearted colt he is, I believe.
  • This implies you should move your hand down the colt’s side and push their hip over while pulling pressure on the rope around their neck when they are standing.
  • Then, after a couple of rounds, you change your route completely.
  • You just have to stay with it and they will shortly discover that it provides relief in both directions.
  • My father estimated that it took around 10 minutes before this colt was leading around like a champ!
  • Consider giving it a shot the next time you’re getting ready to halter break your colt.
  • More information about our program may be found on our Facebook page.
  • At North Four Mile Creek Horse Ranch, we raise, train, and market American Quarter Horses (AQHA).
  • I am a married and a mother of three wonderful children.

How to Halter-Break Your Horse Appropriately & Successfully

Postings in the categories:Featured,Horse Care/Training,Ranch Life My father recently experimented with something new while attempting to halter break a colt. This one would be taught to lead in the round corral with his mother, so he made the decision to train him. For the most of his adult life, my father, who is 69 years old, has been involved with horses. A true horseman understands that when working with horses, he is always gaining new skills and knowledge. Our regular procedure when dealing with a colt is not to have the mare in the round corral; but, this time he did and it worked out perfectly for everyone!

  1. This, I feel, also demonstrates what a willing and good-hearted colt he is.
  2. With each step they take, you give them permission to move forward.
  3. Due to the fact that they were recently instructed to go the opposite direction, this is generally the point at which they become confused.
  4. After a number of circles, in which you swap directions regularly, the circles become larger, and you can eventually lead them straight off.
  5. This is a far superior method than others who attempt to just lead their colt off and end up in a tug of war with him.
  6. It is hoped that the photographs may assist you in visualizing the procedure.
  7. Postings in the categories:Featured,Horse Care/Training,Ranch Life Ranching and horse-raising have been a part of my family’s livelihood for more than a century.

Wyoming Wild Ride and Ranch Rodeo is an annual event that we organize. Mother of three wonderful children. I am a wife and mother of three wonderful children. All of Tiffany Schwenke’s writings are available to read on her blog.

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How to Halter an Unruly Horse

Article in PDF format It can be difficult, but not impossible, to break a colt or an older horse who is rowdy. Learn how to tame an unruly horse while keeping yourself and the animal safe, as well as establishing trust with the horse. Slowly and gently tighten the halter over your horse’s neck, and develop a pattern with them so they know what to anticipate. Working with a rebellious horse requires a great deal of constancy, so plan on dedicating multiple training sessions per week to your new hobby.

  1. 1 When you need to halter your horse, confine it to a pen that is secure. This may or may not be achievable in every instance, depending on the circumstances. If this is the case, keeping your horse in a confined place where it cannot readily escape can assist you in getting it haltered more quickly.
  • When you’re trying to harness your horse, try not to have any other humans, horses, or animals in the corral with you.
  • 2 As you begin to go closer your horse, show it the halter you have prepared. When you first walk inside the enclosure, maintain the halter in your left hand at all times. Never tuck it behind your back or shake it back and forth like crazy. Simply make it visible so that your horse is aware that you have something in your hand.
  • Approach your horse from the front side, near its shoulder, so that it can see you well and respond appropriately. Try not to approach the horse from behind or immediately in front of it since the horse has a gap in its eyesight and may not be able to see you
  • If the horse bucks or bolts away when it sees the harness, that is perfectly normal. After allowing it to run about or back up, you should approach it cautiously again or wait for it to come back to you. It’s possible that you’ll have to repeat this multiple times until you’re comfortable standing near to it.
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  • s3 Make use of your horse’s name and speak to him or her in a gentle manner. Even if you’re feeling frightened, strive to maintain a calm and steady tone in your speech. It’s possible for your horse to pick up on your mood, and if you’re frightened, it might make it apprehensive as well. Make a call to your horse and identify it by name. As you make your approach towards it, speak in comforting tones.
  • Immediately stop and remain motionless until the horse has come to a complete halt and has stopped moving. Then begin approaching it from a new angle.
  • 4 Move slowly and deliberately, and avoid making any abrupt movements. You should avoid making any sudden moves as you continue to make your approach near your horse. If you see a horse running at you or waving your arms in the air, stay away from him. Fast movements might frighten the horse and cause it to become uneasy.
  • Even if you didn’t have any goodies with you, you could always pull one out and hold it in your right hand so your horse can see it as well. Alternatively, you may use a bucket of grain to entice your horse to approach closer to you.
  • Keep coming closer to it, and eventually you’ll find yourself on its left side. Depending on how nervous or rebellious your horse is, it may take some time before you are able to go close enough to touch it. Make certain that the horse can still see the harness and that you continue to speak to it in a calm and gentle manner.
  • If you ever get the impression that the horse is overly upset and that you are in danger of being wounded, exit the enclosure. Take a 5-minute break to allow the horse to settle down before attempting again
  1. 1 Place a lead rope beneath the horse’s neck and around its neck. Standing on the horse’s left side, take the end of the lead rope and pass it under the horse’s neck is a good technique. Then, reaching over the horse’s neck with your other hand, grip the rope (keeping the halter in the hand that’s beneath the horse so that it doesn’t surprise the horse). Once you get the lead rope around the horse’s neck, it will feel as if it has been “caught,” and it will be less inclined to run away. You have a bit more control over the horse’s head as a result of this while you’re putting on the halter.
  • Your horse will follow you around if you use the lead rope that is attached to the halter. When situating the lead rope, remember to speak in a calm and confident manner.
  • 2 Place the halter around the horse’s muzzle and slip the noseband around the horse’s muzzle. Among the components of the halter are the crownpiece, which is worn behind the horse’s ears, the cheekpieces, which are worn along the sides of his face, the noseband, which is worn around his snout, and the ring, which is used to link the lead rope to the horse’s neck. For the halter to be properly placed on a horse, the bottom ring should be on the bottom so that when the noseband is slipped into place, it will rest below the horse’s mouth.
  • According to how nervous the horse is, it may lift its head away from the ground multiple times throughout this procedure. Maintain a strong grip on the lead rope around the horse’s neck in order to maintain control of the animal, and be persistent. It could take a few tries, but you’ll eventually get the noseband to fit properly.
  • 3 Place the crownpiece over the horse’s head and behind its ears and fasten it in place. Once the noseband is in place, take the crownpiece and place it behind the horse’s ears to complete the look. Snug up the end of the strap in the buckle, but don’t make it too tight—you should be able to fit your hand under the strap comfortably.
  • Three times, secure the horse’s crownpiece behind its ears as well as over his head. Take the crownpiece and put it behind the horse’s ears once the noseband has been secured. Secure the end of the strap in the buckle, but don’t make it too tight—there should be enough room for your hand to fit under the strap, after all.
  • 4 Release the lead rope that has been wrapped around the horse’s neck for the time being. Pull the lead rope all the way around the horse’s neck until it is hanging down from the turnout ring. Remember to compliment your horse on a job well done, and bear in mind that this may be an extremely uncomfortable situation for it.
  • Don’t pull on the lead rope too hard. Soon, you’ll be able to start guiding your horse around the pen and teaching it to walk with you, but during the first few weeks of halter-training, your primary goal should be getting your horse used to the harness in the first place.
  • Continue to stand close to the horse for a few minutes before removing the harness. This is an excellent opportunity to converse with your horse, pat him, give him a reward, and simply relax with him. It’s possible that you’ll be able to groom your horse while you’re in the enclosure, which will help you train it to identify the harness with good experiences. Allow your horse to rest for 4 to 5 minutes after removing the harness and giving him another goodie before calling the training session to a close.
  • Repetition of this procedure for 2 to 3 weeks is required before going on to guiding the horse. It is preferable if the horse does not react aggressively or skittishly when the halter is placed around its neck before moving on to the next phase of its training.
  1. If possible, keep your horse in an enclosed enclosure while you’re teaching him or her. A horse enclosure that is completely enclosed is beneficial to both you and your horse. In addition, because it can see you, the horse won’t be able to run for very long distances. Similarly, because there is only so much area to walk about in, you will always be able to see the horse and approach it immediately
  • This is referred to as lunging in some circles. Enclosed pens are frequently used by horse trainers to educate their horses, teach them new instructions, and establish connection with them.
  • Create a schedule for your horse that includes regular engagement with him. Getting an unruly horse to accept a halter is based in part on the animal’s connection with the rider. Providing regular grooming and interaction with your horse, even if it’s simply chatting to it and patting its shoulders and head, will go a long way toward developing a bond between you and your horse. Make a commitment to working with your horse three to four times each week.
  • Allow yourself and your horse to be patient with each other. If you have a horse that is difficult to control, it might take weeks to train him.
  • 3 Teach your horse to come to you when you call. Even the most wayward horse may be trained to come when called or when it sees you approaching the stable. Teaching your horse to approach you will make haltering him much simpler in the future. The most effective method of accomplishing this is through positive reinforcement:
  • Keep some snacks on hand to hand out to your horse when it comes up to you. Treats such as carrots, apples, grapes, pumpkins, and strawberries are good choices. When you are in close proximity to the horse, call it by its name. When you call out the horse’s name, try to give it a reward. Make a connection with the horse by caressing its shoulder, mane, neck, ears, face, and nose
  • 4 Give the horse a treat for coming up to you and allowing you to pet him. Never give your horse a reward simply because you are walking up to him
  • Instead, wait until he comes to you. For horses that are extremely nervous or rowdy and who are not used to being touched, reward them with a treat and a positive affirmation every time they allow you to touch them.
  • You and your voice will become associated with good emotions in the horse’s mind over time. Although the horse may still be apprehensive, you are making progress in the correct direction. The moment it’s time to put on your horse’s halter will come around the corner faster than you can blink.
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  • If you have a young male foal, wait until after he has been gelded before beginning halter training. This will make them much simpler to teach. Never shout at or hurt the horse
  • Instead, use positive reinforcement. You don’t want it to get the impression that the halter is dangerous.


  • Never place yourself in a potentially dangerous situation. It is not permissible to approach the horse from behind or attempt to sneak up on it.

Always avoid putting oneself in a potentially dangerous situation. It is not permissible to approach the horse from behind or sneak up on it.

About This Article

Summary of the Article It might be difficult to tame an unruly horse at first, but with practice and persistence, it will become second nature. While walking near the horse, keep the halter in your hand so that the horse can see it clearly. Do not make any abrupt moves. As you approach, speak to the horse in a soft, friendly voice and call it by name to encourage it to relax and become more comfortable with you. Move to the horse’s right side, then slide a lead rope under and around the horse’s neck, then use the lead rope to restrain the horse’s head as you fasten the halter to the horse’s throat.

Did you find this overview to be helpful?

Did this article help you?

Have you have any afoaldue this spring? Congratulations! When it comes to bringing enjoyment, fun, and a splash of cuteness to your barn, there’s nothing quite like having a young horse. However, along with the thrill comes a great deal of responsibility: you are responsible for the early teaching of a young foal at this essential period, and it is critical that these initial simple “lessons” be peaceful and useful. Where does one begin on the path of being referred to as a “large horse?” Halter breaking is a verb that means to break a halter.

Halter breaking is an absolute must-do early training activity, both for his sake and yours.


Don’t wait until he’s a two-year-old!

  • This first point may seem self-explanatory, but it is definitely worth mentioning. You should train your young horse to lead when he’s little, simple to handle, and hasn’t already established his own habits (although some foals appear to have their own ideas from the moment they are born). Waiting until he’s several months old—or, even worse, until he’s a yearling or two-year-old—can make this ordinarily straightforward training job into a challenging endeavor, as your foal will weigh significantly more and be significantly stronger than when you started out. Another advantage of halter breaking your foal when he’s young is that he’ll typically want to follow mom around, and you may take advantage of this natural desire to do so.

Work with him every day

  • If your foal’s lessons are spread out too far apart, he or she will not learn anything. Making him a model citizen on the lead rope will require only a modest amount of training each day (or as near to everyday as feasible) on a consistent basis. These teachings do not have to be lengthy or difficult, and in fact, they should not be. Simple activities, such as transporting him and his dam from the barn to the pasture and back, may be wonderful “learning to lead” opportunities. Ten to fifteen minutes of daily practice should be sufficient for most people.

Guide—don’t pull

  • When your foal is young, he is sensitive, and you must use caution when handling him. However, you should avoid applying any pressure to his neck at this point because his neck isn’t very strong at this point and he may try to back up quickly or turn over as a result of the halter’s tightness. Instead, let him to walk behind his mother (with someone else directing her) and train him to walk beside you by “steering” his body with one arm as you walk alongside him. It may also be necessary to wrap an arm or a “rump rope” around his hindquarters in order to assist him to move forward. Hold on to the lead rope, but only use it to guide you a little bit. Don’t let the foal’s mother go too far ahead of you, or he may become distressed
  • Instead, keep near and enable him to become accustomed to you strolling beside him. Once your horse has grown in confidence and maturity, you’ll be able to gradually withdraw your “guide” arm and begin leading him like a regular horse.

Ask for assistance

  1. If you’re unsure about how to handle your foal, get guidance from someone who has previous expertise with horses. The safety of yourself and your foal is paramount during this process, and you want it to be a constructive and enjoyable experience for everyone involved. Take pleasure in your new foal.

Daniel Johnson works as a freelance writer and photographer for a variety of publications. He is the author of numerous publications, including How to Raise Horses: Everything You Need to Know and How to Raise Horses: Everything You Want to Know (Voyageur Press, 2014).

Summer (a Welsh/TB cross), Orion (a Welsh Cob), and Mati and Amos (two Welsh Mountain Ponies) all live in Dan’s stable. Summer is Dan’s first horse. Follow him on Twitter.

Foal Halter Breaking

The fact that foals in halters are incredibly lovely is not the only reason to correctly halter break your youngsters at an early age. Recently, one of the most often requested inquiries Clay and I have received via email and personal discussion has been concerning foal training tips. Our foal crop averages 7-8 foals per year, so it’s critical that we start our foals properly and early in their lives – otherwise, training them later on can become a major chore. We have an average foal crop of 7-8 foals per year, so it’s critical that we start our foals properly and early in their lives – otherwise, training them later on can become a major chore.

  1. Halter breaking is one of the most difficult problems a horse owner may encounter when dealing with a newborn foal.
  2. When halter breaking is done incorrectly, it can result in head shyness and a variety of other psychological difficulties later on.
  3. Remember that the highest concern should always be to ensure the safety of both the handler and the foal in question.
  4. Let us introduce you to Bella.
  5. 1.
  6. When working with foals, you don’t want to come off as abrupt in your demeanor or tone of voice.
  7. Try to strike a balance between the two, so that you may approach your foal with assurance and a cool, calm, and collected manner.

(There is nothing more frustrating than being in the middle of putting the halter on your foal and your hands are fumbling about trying to get organized!) With your left hand, reach beneath the foal’s neck and grasp the nose piece and crown piece together.

You will be able to keep control of the foal’s head and neck while swiftly putting the halter on its head in this manner.

A tiny space, such as a stall, is an ideal location for this – although it may require more than one person to do the task.


The safety of the handlers and of the foal should always be taken into consideration.

You want to keep the mare in the vicinity so that she may provide comfort to the foal, but you also want to prevent her from being stressed throughout the foal’s training.

This involves mild cocking or tilting of the foal’s snout towards the pressure.

Alternately, the best-case scenario would be to take a step toward the handler — no matter how little that movement may be.

Clay is willing to give Bella some wiggle room in the lead because she took a “small step” in the correct way in the direction of the pressure.

Consequently, constancy in removing the pressure will assist the foal to comprehend and assimilate the information more quickly.

These are the following: forward, back, left, right, up, and down.

Clay expects to spend as much time as it necessary in the initial session – generally 15-25 minutes each person.

This will give the foal or mare enough time to digest the knowledge.

If you are licking your lips, this suggests that you are thinking about something.

He will retreat before Bella has a chance to depart, demonstrating to her that she is capable of surviving this ordeal.

Clay makes an attempt to retire away from the foal before the foal retreats away from Clay in order to assist the youngster in developing confidence.

When seen in this light, the foal would never comprehend that it would have lived under those circumstances.

However, after a few seconds, she begins to relax.

In the next session, we had our first successful foal halter breaking session!

Training Tip: How to Introduce a Halter to an Unhandled Weanling

The halter, like any new item of equipment that you introduce to a horse, will take some getting accustomed to for the horse as well. You may utilize a step-by-step strategy to ensure that your weanling isn’t stressed or concerned by the halter’s pressure, and that he’s introduced to it in a stress-free manner. In this episode of the Foal Training Series, Clinton demonstrates how to halter break a young horse. All of the activities included in the package are designed to be used with horses who are less than a year old.

  • Clinton divides the process of introducing the halter to a horse into two stages: Initially, you will need to desensitize the horse’s head to your touch.
  • Having the ability to touch the horse’s head with your hands is required before you can introduce him to the halter.
  • You should keep in mind that horses are typically protective when they’re rubbed or stroked on their heads, particularly in their muzzles and around their eyes and ears, because they’re particularly sensitive in these regions.
  • A predator coming up on him or the location of the next drinking hole are both impossible to detect if he doesn’t have his nose.
  • His inability to perceive danger approaching or know where to flee will prevent him from reaching safety.
  • It is a horse’s inherent instinct to defend himself and keep himself out of harm’s way at all times.
  • There are a lot of horses out there that have been trained to be fearful of their owners’ heads.
  • Following the Method, this lesson will serve as your first step in demonstrating to your young horse that nothing bad will happen to him if you touch his head in any way.
  • Although the horse may not appear to enjoy having his face rubbed, you’ll find that he does, especially when your hands have a lot of feel.
See also:  What To Wear When Riding A Horse? (Solution found)

Day 5: Handling the foals and when to halter break

I enjoy thinking in unconventional ways. It’s not that thinking outside the box is bad; rather, it’s that I can add to my knowledge by thinking in a new way from time to time. Let’s take this concept and apply it to halter breaking. When does the process of halter breaking begin? That is dependent on who you speak with. Some individuals begin the day after the foal is born, while others wait until the foal is weaned, and still others, such as large ranches in the West, frequently wait much longer than that.

Presto and Justice are both around a month old and have not yet been halter trained, so their future is uncertain.

When the foals were delivered to their new homes, they were instructed to ‘bear hug’ them off the trailer.

To put it another way, let me say this: Perhaps this is due to the fact that they have not been forced to wear halters, but have learnt to yield to pressure nicely.

“data-image-caption=”” data-medium-file=” data-large-file=” loading=”lazy” data-large-file=” data-medium-file=” data-large-file=” src=” alt=”Stacy Westfall with her foals” src=” src=” ” width=”450″ height=”268″ ” width=”450″” Srcset=”450w,300w” sizes=”(max-width: 450px) 100vw, 450px”> I’m proposing that not wearing a halter at first makes the handler more conscious of the “whole body” experience that the foal must have when being handled.

  • Old habits are difficult to notice, let alone break, and it is for this reason that there are instances when performing something in a new way might provide superior results.
  • They are able to handle themselves so effectively because they have been guided by the pressure and release method.
  • This strategy supports driving the foals from behind rather than engaging in a tug-of-war battle with them.
  • Once again, it is not the tool (in this example, a halter) that has a flaw or deficiency; rather, it is the knowledge and time of the release that are problematic.
  • My foals need to become halter trained before they can be sold.
  • It is possible that if one were to escape, someone might assume they were halter trained and attempt to lead them away.
  • These infants are already giddy with anticipation at the prospect of spending time with me, and this will provide me with additional opportunities to connect with them.
  • Do you want to be a part in choosing the halters that Presto and Justice will be wearing?

Please visit their page to have your vote counted, or simply leave a remark on this page if you just want to say something for fun. The voting period will end on Thursday night (June 9, 2016).

Teaching a Young Horse to Wear a Halter

On December 16, 2011, the date was changed to January 17, 2018. When it comes to breaking in a newborn horse, the first step is to spend as much time as possible with the foal in the first few days after birth, enabling the youngster to become intrigued and approach the handler, who may reward this behavior by stroking and scratching the youngster. For the first time, it is ideal to put a halter on a foal with two people: one standing immediately behind the foal to limit movement, and the other gently sliding the halter over the foal’s snout.

  • It is simpler to approach the foal if it has already acquired some confidence in the handlers rather than if the foal is being handled for the first time.
  • It is important to use a halter that fits properly and is not too loose, as the foal will likely paw at it and might become entangled in a loose strap.
  • While you should leave the halter on for a short period of time, you should keep a watch on the infant in case he manages to get it twisted up in a fence or other item.
  • By putting on the halter in the morning and taking it off at night, you will establish a rhythm that will eventually become automatic.
  • Eventually, foals will learn to draw their ropes to the side, so avoiding them for the most part.
  • It is possible to begin teaching a foal to yield to rope pressure by tugging gently to one side, causing the colt to become slightly off balance, and encouraging him to take a step in order to maintain his equilibrium.
  • It is important to repeat this often in brief practice sessions to finally educate the foal to go forward with a little pull.

As previously said, these phases are significantly simpler to complete with small, newborn foals than they are with older foals who are much stronger.

Jerks and forceful tugs on the lead shank can cause injury to the neck of a young horse.

The next phase in halter training is to teach the young horse how to stand tethered in place.

If the foal starts to pull back, loosen the rope a little bit further until the foal learns to surrender to the pressure of being tied in place.

Baling twine should be used to secure the inner tube to the solid item so that it may be cut easily if necessary.

Keep a foal tethered no more than a few minutes the first few times, gradually increasing the amount of time that he is required to stand for each time.

Bad habits that develop early in a horse’s training may be difficult to modify later on in the horse’s development. Finding an experienced handler to assist you will likely make things go more easily if you are working with a foal or young horse and this is your first time halter training them.

The Donkey Way

It is possible for donkeys and foals to have strong feelings about the halter-breaking procedure. Halter-breaking is a physically demanding activity. Just ask Jenny, who devotes a significant portion of her time to educating weanlings to lead. Despite the fact that she doesn’t make much money (just excellent grass, clean water, and the odd manicure), she does get six months off every year. Donkey Jenny is one of two donkeys that Tammye Hutton employs to halter-break calves at her Hilldale Farm in Brashear, Texas.

Nu Chex To Cash, a leading sire of reining and reined cow horses, and a group of top-producing broodmares are among the stallions who call the farm home.

Using this method, she claims, she can swiftly educate a foal to respect the halter and lead rope.

“This hasn’t caused any discomfort in my back.

“The foals don’t pull on me, they don’t run away, and they don’t do all of the things that foals do occasionally,” Hutton explains.

In addition, I don’t want to halter-break them when they’re just a few weeks old.” Hutton prefers to “leave horses be horses” until they are weaned, at which point he will begin training them.

As soon as the foals become agitated, the donkeys calmly wait for them to calm down, while simultaneously teaching them not to give in to peer pressure.

The donkeys Jenny and Bunny teach the foals their first genuine lessons in handling shortly after they are weaned, and the foals learn a lot from them.

During weaning season, mares and foals are taken inside the barn for a rest.

The halter, which has a lead rope attached and is dragged behind it, is left on the foal.

It takes a day or two for them to get acclimated to being away from their mothers, and then the next day they’re loaded onto the donkeys, according to Hutton.

We attach the foal to the donkey’s back and then bring the donkey out to the pasture to graze.

It is not uncommon for the partners to stay together for only a few hours or even overnight, depending on the temperament of the foal.

When the donkey is lying down, the foal is required to wait on it, thus learning to stand tethered at the same time as the donkey is lying down.

” “Every now and then, we’ll receive one that we’ll have to keep on the donkey for a little longer.

Some of them become quite enraged!

Those donkeys have excellent decision-making skills.

They’ll drag them a few steps, and the foals will become alarmed and leap up to protect themselves.

Then it won’t be long until you notice a small amount of slack in the rope.

It is possible that you will see the donkeys strolling around, that there will be slack in the rope, and that those foals will be right there with them.” First and first, safety must be prioritized.

It’s possible to have some foals who will struggle and get a leg over the rope, and they’ll scuff up a leg, but the hair will regrow,” she explains.

When a foal tugs on the donkey’s reins, the donkey yields.

They’re less likely to get harmed than you are.

According to Hutton, “there’s nothing in there that they can wander about on or get tangled up in.” “We don’t want the donkey to go around one side of a post while the foal goes around the other side,” says the trainer.

The first step was to tie a rope around the donkey’s neck and attach the foal to it, which worked out well, according to her.

It’s less stressful for the donkeys since their necks aren’t being pulled all the time.” Doug Gerard knows that the foals might benefit from a little encouragement every now and again.

The foals are provided with flat nylon halters and cotton lead lines to prevent them from running away.

“The foals aren’t able to get themselves into a jam,” he explains.

In the olden days, I could get a foal moving and yielding to pressure in about ten to fifteen minutes, but the entire procedure would take about a week by the time I got them leading about, gentled down and tied up, their feet picked up, and their manes and tails clipped.

I can put them on the donkey for a portion of the day, bring them in, mess with them, and get their feet cut on the same day if necessary.

And while they’re being halter-broken, I can be doing something else entirely.

In case they fall, the donkey will just keep them in place.

“It’s astonishing how soon they realize that going with with the flow is their best option in life.

The most important thing to remember about any training is that they must understand that this is the easy part. It ultimately boils down to accepting that your method is the best way.” The original version of this article appeared in the September 2014 edition of Western Horseman.

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