From Birth to Saddle
Training any horse begins the moment the foal is born. This is especially important with Paso Fino's due to there sensitivity. It is up to us to meet all there needs as the care and nutrition of the foal is essentioal for the first 2 months. I unfortuntly missed this special time with Buckito, he was 3 when I got him. I have handled other breeds at this age though.
Imprinting of a foal is very important in his acceptance of us humans. Be careful though, as too much handling at the early stage can cause misleading senses to the foal. You don't want to make a "pet" out of the foal. Respect is the goal, but the foal maintaining the animal instincts it was born with is desired and needed also. (add a link here to my imprinting pages)
Exercise is the second most important growth element. It will help the foal develop physically and mentally.
The first few months should be spent teaching the foal to lead. Use a long lead and don't let him pull you or jerk you around. You'll probably end up in a few tug of wars. After your foal has stood still for you, proceede to pull and release. You may have to pull the foal from left to right in your pull-release to allow balance to help you achieve the forward movement. Once the foal voluntarily follows you reward it by stroking its face and ncek, thus showing that this is his praise.
After the above is achieved you need to get him used to tying. Sometime in the fourth month is good. Tie to a stable post by wrapping the leadline around the post and through the bottom of the halter and back around the post. Slip the end of the leadline around the bottom of the halter again, and tie a knot that can easily be released in case of emergency. Leave about 6" of play. Then proceed to "sack out" the foal. Click HERE for detailed information on Sacking out a young or spooky horse.
After you foal has accepted this repeat it gently with your bare hands. Then put the foal in his stall or turnout area. At this time you will probably have to reinstate who is the boss. Especially at weaning time.
They really don't need much of our attention during this time. Nutrition and exercie, along with farrier and/or vet visits should be your only contact. A good form of exercise is short times of lunging. Click HERE for more detailed information on lucnging.
Start by making sure that the foal is facing you. This time, you will want a 12-15 foot lead. If you want the horse to travel to your left, wrap the rope from right to left bringing over the top back to your hand. Your goal now is to ask the foal to move in a circle around the post without stopping or rearing back. Always try to start asking the horse to travel at a walk.
As you move to the side to encourage the horse, be sure to be ready to hold your ground in case he tries to rear back. Do not catch yourself staying behind or walking too fast. Any time the horse feels you are in front of him he will stop. Make sure also that when the foal is traveling, he is not pulling on the rope. You accomplish that by slowly asking him to travel.
After you have gone around a couple of times, grap your rope with your left hand only. This will free up you right hand, which you will use to stop the foal. When you are ready, reach across and grab the rope to the foal's head. Immediately stand your ground and pull the foal towards you. Do not let go of your rope.
To drive the foal forward always walk towards his rear end, not his head. It is like ground driving. do not overdo this at a young age because it can be physically harmful as lunging puts a strain on their joints. In addition, the foal is just a baby, and will not have the attention span to endure long training sessions. A foal only needs to be worked from time to time. This is continued until the horse is ready to be started under saddle.