Yep, it's been a month sense I went and pick Charlie the horse up for training. It got me to thinking. People often want me to start colts for them, and money is often a issue when it comes to that, and they want to know how much I can get done with a horse in thirty days. I always tell them the same thing. "Depends on the horse". I know that not much of an answer, and I also know that they think I'm trying to cover by backside by commenting that way, but it's really true. Altho I think getting the horse ridden is important, I don't think it is the most important thing. I think, that a young horse needs to understand his or her place in the herd, and that herd is just two, him and me, and you don't teach that from the saddle. If he does not understand his place, then all the time we spend in the saddle will be a real fight, or at the least, more difficult. Some horses pick things up faster then other horses, so there are lots of reasons for the answer I give folks.
Charlie is a great example of this. His owners have done a lot of things with him as a very young horse, so there were things that he was pretty much ok with when he got here. He would let you touch him, lots of horses that come here won't let you do that at first, they could pick up his feet, which is great but they will tell you there is more to getting a horse to let you pick up his feet and getting him to let you do that and nail iron on to them. But having said that, he still did not know his place in the herd. They treated him like he was, a baby. But here, when we are training, he is being treated like a horse, but always remembering he has the mind of a baby. That can be a delicate balance at times, and it take the magic pill, time.
So after thirty days, Charlie is doing the things that I would expect. He is getting better and better at his ground skills, which tells me that he is accepting my place as leader. He is standing to be saddled, without being tied up, taking the bit lie a champ. He is standing to be tied, without complaint. He is standing to be hobbled, this is something that we have just started and, we have had several rides with him, learning to follow his nose, giving to the bit better and better, his circles are getting better and better, he side passing down the rail and now is starting to side pass coming off the rail, as well as giving to leg and spur pressure, not to mention having his first successful ride outside.
In the two months to come we will continue to work on these things, getting them better and better, as well as adding more experiences to his limited length of life. Remember, he is just three, a good time to start a colt, but he has not seen very much in his limited life time, so he has much to experience. We will start to show him the concepts of collection and the list goes on.
So how long does it take to train a horse? It takes as much time as it takes.
Will try and keep you updated with info on what the heck I'm doing with horses and music.