September 18, 2011 00:01 by Jaime
There are many small things that I do everyday, all the time, to help my yearlings and foals get broke (or get "tame," as my friend and trainer D. John Deas calls it.) The steps I am going to outline here assume that your foal or yearling already does many of the things that Kasino learned as a young baby, which can be reviewed in the Kasino Series.
Every maneuver or obstacle in yearling in hand trail or yearling longeline can be drilled down to one simplicity: body control. Questions like "How do you teach your yearling to sidepass?" or "How did you get your foal to back on a drape?" all come from one answer, in my opinion. The answer came from a willingness to give to pressure which resulted in (in at least some fashion) body control.
In order to start in the right direction for beautiful in hand trail patterns, teach the yearling to follow his head and give to pressure. I want to do this by building on the principles he already knows. I am now going to add sideways pressure to his head and (eventually) expect him to move his hindquarters away from his head and cross over in front of his leading hind leg. Getting good at this exercise eventually leads to the ability to control the yearling's ribcage during close work and gives a bit of control over his shoulder from afar (ie in the yearling longeline classes.)
To do this, take a hold of the lead rope about 20 inches from the halter. Pull around and back to the yearling's withers. The pressure should make him swing his hindquarters away when done properly. I often let the colt out to walk around me and bring him back in to repeat the exercise as opposed to making us both dizzy with dozens of circles all at once. Eventually he will leave his inside front foot planted in the ground and turn around it, crossing over with his hind feet.
See the video for an example from a filly who was skilled in this method but had been turned out with no practice for one month prior to videoing.
Please note that I have had the opportunity to watch many people over the last 25 years of my horse career, and the methods described here are a compilation of things I've learned from multiple outside sources and my own personal experience with my yearlings.
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Starting body control with yearling in hand trail.
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