Common Mistakes When Imprinting Foals

Many horse breeders handle newborn foals to make them easier to train later, using a method called imprint training. The very young foal is able to soak up a large amount of information because prey species (deer, horses, geese, etc.) are neurologically mature at birth. Very soon after birth or hatching, the young can fend for themselves, follow their mother, and flee from danger. Their senses are fully developed. The horse's critical learning period occurs during first days of life. "Learning is swiftest, most persistent, and most profoundly affects the horse's attitude and personality, if acquired during this period," explains Dr. Robert M. Miller, the California veterinarian/horse breeder who developed the method of imprint training during the 1960's.

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Preparing for a Riding Lesson

by Laura Wagner

There are several things to consider when you are taking up the task of learning to ride a horse. Whether this is a new endeavor for you or you've been working at it for a while, showing up prepared for your lesson will get you started on the right foot with your instructor.

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Crossing Water

One of my favorite horse activities is playing in the water. There's just something very soothing and natural about horses and water. That is if your horse is accustom to it. Unfortunately, where we live there's not a whole lot of water in the summer so I don't get frequent opportunities to get my horses accustomed to it.

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Spring Warm-up on the Trail

by Lynn Palm

Working at a walk is great to do in cool spring weather. It also gives you the perfect opportunity to work on your aids coordination and to learn how to more precisely control your horse's body position through the maneuvers.

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Fixing Bit Evasions

Horses evade the bit when they are uncomfortable in their mouths. That can happen for a number of reasons. The most common one is that the rider has unsteady hands. The rider's hands may be seesawing or pulling or constantly bumping the horse's mouth and the horse looks for a way to get away from the annoyance.

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Tackling Head Tossing

My horse is, all-in-all, very well behaved on the ground. He has a lot of personality though and likes to express this through tossing his head--up, down, sideways. It is like he doesn't think and forgets I am there and swings his head around to look at something or tosses it in anticipation. Not a huge problem, yet, but he invades my space and I am going to end up with a shiner or fat lip if he catches me off guard.

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Evaluating Your Horse's Vocabulary

by Faith Meredith

When we communicate with very young children, we keep our vocabulary simple because their understanding of spoken language is limited. A two-year-old child's vocabulary is much smaller than that of a four-year-old or a seven-year old, but by the time that child becomes a teenager it will be in the thousands.

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Slowing and Softening Gaits

Slowing and softening your horse's gaits begin with the mind and are reinforced with lateral movement.  The first step is to slow yourself down. You must start thinking "slow" instead of thinking about getting things done now. So much of daily life today is multi-tasking, instant results and moving forward. It may work for you, but it doesn't for your horse.

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First Day of School

Every child gets a little nervous their first day of school: there are new kids to meet, strange surroundings and unknown expectations. Plus, the food isn't all that great. Horse shows aren't much different to the green horse. Despite all of your training, when your inexperienced horse arrives at his first competition, he may just simply fall apart. Here are some tips to help make your horse's first show a successful one.

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See Through Your Horse's Eyes!

Over the years, people have often asked questions about specific problems they were encountering with their horses and we've tried our best to provide them with the answers they sought. More importantly, however, we try to encourage people to change the way they think about horses in general. Yes, there are specific fixes to specific problems, but a better solution is a "fix" to all our problems. The magic fix is to build a real partnership with our horse.

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