Everything you do with your colt will have an impact on how he responds when you start working him. You need to handle your colt from day one so that he does not learn to fear humans. Put a halter on the mare and allow her to stand next to her foal while being handled. Hold the foal securely and calmly allowing your helper to gently rub all over his body. Pick up his feet, rub his ears gently etc. Teach your colt to lead safely as you will need to have him stand calmly for deworming, the Farrier, the Veterinarian etc.

Wean your colts at six months old. Put them together with a calm older horse. At nine months of age separate your colts and fillies as they become sexually active. Put your fillies with a older mare. Put your colts with a older gelding. Make sure that your older horse is of stable temperament and not inclined to lash out and injure your foals. Foals need to grow up in a herd enabling them to be disciplined by the herd leader. He learns to respect authority from the herd leader and then from you as his trainer later on. When you remove him from the herd, if you are able to replace the Herd leader your training experience will be so much more rewarding and successful. Allowing your foal to grow up in isolation is very damaging psychologically, socially and physically. It's equivalent of putting a 1 year old Baby in a room and pushing his food under the door allowing no human contact.

If you are able let your foals have a big enough camp with uphill's and downhill's as this will help them develop physically and mentally so that you can start training them as 2 year olds. Don't start your colts before they are 2 years old. It would be like sending a 13 year old to University instead of an 18 year old. Both are teenagers but the 18 year old has a better chance of being able to cope than a 13 year old.

by Irene vd Westhuizen