Halter Training Kaos

Social Circle, GA(Zone 8a)

Anyone have tips? Good reference book? John Lyons' Bringing Up Baby?

4 tries to get it on, but he'll freeze like a statue if you scratch his tail. Too bad I can't buckle a halter with one hand!



This message was edited Jan 26, 2006 11:40 AM

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Social Circle, GA(Zone 8a)

What the heck is on my face?

Thumbnail by Jenks
Social Circle, GA(Zone 8a)

Time to eat what mom left after I finished my bucket!

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Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

Jenks, I use a method that I developed when I started raising mule colts and didn't have a halter to fit a mule head. Since I wanted to start teaching him to lead here is what I did.

I had a piece of soft rope about 15 ft long, and I think 5/8 in diameter off one of those spools of rope at the hardware store. I didn't put any snap on it. Step 1, wad it up and rub it all over the mare, so it smells right to the foal. Then let him sniff it and rub it on his chest first but eventually all over him. If he wants to chew on it that's ok, you are trying to let him know it won't jump out and hurt him. Drape it over his back, let him walk out from under it or whatever, you are just playing. Also rub all 4 legs fronts and backs all the way to the hoof, and on top of his head and around his face. This might take a couple of 5 minute sessions or more. Take your time, make it a game.

When he is ok with all of that proceed to Step 2, drape the rope over his neck and hold on to both ends so he feels the pressure all around his neck. Now tie one end around his neck. Use a boline so it will not slip. Leave it sort of loose but wiggle it so he knows it's there. If you work in a box stall this is better because there is no place for him to go. Mom eating her grain over in a corner is good because she will be right there. Just hold on to the end of the rope and stand there, if he walks away don't try to stop him unless he goes behind the mare (could get a reaction from her and you don't want him to think he can hide) and you may have to stand near the mare to block him from getting behind her, but when he stops wait a few seconds to let him know he did the right thing, then pull the rope to the side a little so he has to turn his head. You might have to move around a bit so he never walks directly away, always stay a little to the side.

Step 3, get him to turn his head toward you and take a step. Pretty soon you can lead him in a circle. Circles are better than straight lines, those can come later. When he leads good with the neck rope then you proceed to step 4 which is to tie the other end to the halter. So now you hang on to the middle and start with the head turning cue again. A little tug on the halter and follow it a second later with a little tug on the neck rope. You are telling him that this new thing means the same as this old thing that he already knows. When you can lead him in circles with just using the cue on the halter, you can untie the neck rope and lead him away.

I taught several mule colts to lead this way and also a few horses. They hardly ever pull backward away from you with this method, much better than having to brace yourself and dig your heels in trying to get them to lead from the halter. It seems like pressure they don't understand on the poll strap causes them to resist.

Have fun!

Culpeper, VA(Zone 7a)

This doesn't help you now, but I put halters on when they're born. I put them on & off several times, but NEVER leave them on unless I'm in the barn supervising. Thus I rarely have a problem haltering later on.

Social Circle, GA(Zone 8a)

Thanks Mary E! I am going to do it on his halter, but I'll try it!

He did not hardly move a muscle tonight! He stood there like a pro while I put the halter on! I am so proud! Maybe here shortly I'll go put him on a lead. He laid down for a nap. So I rubbed the bottoms of his feet and all that and am letting him sleep for a few....

Breezy-I plan on it with the March foal.......putting the halter on right away! and the blanket! I can't tell you how hard it was to get Serenity used to a blanket.......



This message was edited Jan 26, 2006 6:48 PM

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

Let us know how it goes.

Social Circle, GA(Zone 8a)

Well LOL I did the lead rope game and that was all fine and well until I went to remove his halter! He reared and pulled for a minute when he felt the halter tighten (I was unbuckling it). I held on until he was still and then released the pressure as reward and removed the halter! Boy my hand was raw! Too strong for such a little thing! I am glad I'm doing this now! We'll see how good he is putting the halter back on after that! LOL I have a breakaway training halter I'm thinking of putting on him and leaving on him for awhile. I just can't leave him in that nylon halter.....


Schroon Lake, NY(Zone 4a)

Jenks, I love the name Kaos!

I am using John Lyons bringing up baby, and also a trainer!! You're right about getting it over with now, I was amazed when Tully (9months old) threw a fit, how huge and strong they suddenly are! My friend acquired a 3 year old with no handling, and that's a real problem.

I hope you;ll keep the pictures coming. He is SUCH a handsome boy, and look at him in his new halter! I find myself sitting here grinning like a lovestruck schoolboy!

Hempstead, TX(Zone 8a)

Jenks - he is so handsome. You must be having such a wonderful time teaching him and learning from him. I truly admire your patience. What a love he will be!

Schroon Lake, NY(Zone 4a)

Jenks - I just realized you only have a little over a month to get him trained before you have another LOL! Good luck!!

Social Circle, GA(Zone 8a)

Thank Melissah! How's Pal doing?


dmc-He is doing so well! Leading like a pro! Knock on wood! I'll have to see if my son can take photos of us leading around! He did step on my toe yesterday, and silly me I was still in my rubber mucking boots-bad idea! Good thing he's still little.....it still hurt though! But nothing like when his mom used to step on my foot when we lead trained her (age 7) that was fun-NOT!

Schroon Lake, NY(Zone 4a)

Even the cute little buggers weigh a couple hundred pounds and their hoofs are quite sharp! I am quite afraid of being kicked by one! I was surprised how quick they get sharp little teeth, too!!
Looking forward to more Kaos pics.

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