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When do you start teaching how to lead?

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minimayhem

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Our filly is 2 1/2 months old. She is quite friendly & lets me scritch her all over which is good, but when it comes to putting a lead rope on she pulls back something fierce. Can you please give me some tips or tricks you found that make teaching them to lead without fear??

Thanks
 

lyn_j

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[SIZE=14pt]By the time our babies are a week old and going out with mom they already are wearing a halter and being led next to momma on their own rope. We dont have pulling fights because of this. Jubilee was 3 weeks old when she came so she took a little doing but ...she IS an attitude anyway! lol Our foals get to wear a halter at 2 days old already and learn to lead at the latest by two weeks.[/SIZE]

Lyn
 

Kim Rule

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[SIZE=14pt]I have to second what Lyn says!
Babies should start to learn about halters and leading when they are wee babes..that way it becomes second nature with them. There aren't those awful fights. Remember that it is instinct for a horse to fight whatever is confining them.
[/SIZE]

A true case in point is when we bought fillies from a lady. We went over to her farm frequently to play with the babies and train them. The first filly, Wynnie, was a real handful. We got her when she was about a month old, and she was a holy terror!
We practically had to cowboy her to catch her! Everything with her was a fight until she was about 4 months old. Then she started to settle down.

On the other hand was YaYa. She was kind of sickly, and I was there twice a day from the day she was born, giving her medicine, and playing with her. I put the halter on her when she was about a week old, and we were leading very quickly after that. She was a real lap baby. I could pick her up with NO struggle until she was too big...she was about 4 months old by then.

Both girls are 2 years old now, and both are sweet lap horses. But getting there with YaYa was MUCH easier than with Wynnie! I figure the sooner the better for halter training and manners!

Kim R.
 

Kim Rule

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If you wait any longer, yes, it will get harder. The key is to make the lessons short, always ending on a positive note. Make sure that the little one gets lots of scritches and loves, so that halter training is a positive thing. Go in really short steps...one day, she lets you put the halter on, fine, leave it at that...another day, she gives her head when you pull her one way, end there...make lessons no more than 10 minutes...a baby doesn't have that long of an attention span.

With Wynnie, that's what it took. Lots of positive reinforcement, and being very clear about where the boundaries lay...what she can and can't get away with. It was hard, but because we were there daily, things got better...you just have to outlast your baby! If she pulls back, keep constant pressure on the lead until she steps forward. A butt rope will help with that too. so that if she pulls back, she can't go far. Okay, here's what a butt rope is...

Tie a rope with a non-slip knot, in a circle large enough to go around her rump...the rope should go no further down than her stifle, and should reach about the middle of her back. The rope should be long enough to come through her halter, and be like another lead rope. When she pulls back, put pressure on her butt rope, as well as her lead. When she moves forward, release. She'll get the idea that it's much more comfortable to go forward and not get pressure on her rear end. After a while...(I mean about a couple of weeks), you will be able to gradually stop using the butt rope, but leave it there for a little while so that she remembers the lesson. She'll come around...I promise. Just you must keep your cool, and let her know that moving forward is better.

Kim R.
 
L

Lisa-Ruff N Tuff Minis

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There is no set way here. Every baby is different with there own needs and way of learning just like kids


some cant handle the stress of learning this very early on others have no problem, some work much better and easier once weaned and away from mom depends on the personality of mom i have found.

I prefer not to use a butt rope if i dont have to as they tend to depend on it.

Since your baby is still on her dam you could try and run the lead rope thru the ring on moms halter (dont tie) and lead them both if you get into trouble you can let go of the rope thru the ring and baby can be freed quickly but ususally they dont fight as much if they think the pressure is somehow coming from there mom.

Remember that constant or to firm pressure on a little ones neck (if they are very young) can actually cause damage

one more note on butt ropes it is very hard when struggling with a foal to remember to let go totally of the pressure on the butt rope while maintaining pressure (lightly) on the regular lead if you are pulling on the butt rope once they actually move forward it kinda defeats the purpose a bit. It can be done but is somewhat of an aquired talent lol
 

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