Haltering a Foal for the First Time

hi I'm Callie from crk training and

today for our blog we're obviously doing

something a little bit different so I'm

actually here with my uncle Bruce

Maitland and he is holding Fiona who you

may recognize from several of our other

blog videos and this is Fiona's first

foal and I'm just going to play with him

a little bit here for our video today we

thought would be fun just everyone likes

to see folds and I will can kind of tell

you a few things that I would do with

him and introduce to him and he is how

many days old is he now 10 10 days old


now for this video I'm going to narrate

over it because I honestly found it a

little difficult to but play with little

Lachlan here and talk at the same time

my first disclaimer is that I am by no

means a full handling expert I really

haven't done much with young foals but I

was asked to come out and work with him

a little bit and I thought that you guys

would enjoy seeing him in the video and

I just applied the same basic principles

that I do with any of the other courses

that I work with even if they're not

quite as young as Lachlan so what I

started with is just touching him seeing

if there was any sensitive spots for him

looking for areas where he really liked

to be scratched so with little guys like

this to incorporate the idea of positive

reinforcement we really can't use food

yet but we can use scratching and I

really didn't find any spots on him that

he really didn't like being touched or

that he reacted to but he definitely

liked having his wither scratched so

that seemed to be kind of his favorite

spot and then I was just kind of playing

around with the rope a little bit seeing

how he was if I would rub the rope on


and he's been handled since day one so I

mean they're in the stall with him every

day and touching him a little bit but

he'd never want a hotter before and that

was one of our kind of our goals for

today was just to see if we could get

the halter on him and get him started

moving a little bit from pressure with

the halter so he's definitely very

inquisitive and you'll see sometimes

with him especially when I was

scratching him or even just as he was

getting a little bit curious there's

some of this nipping behavior and as

young as he is and especially with you

know the idea that we're still just kind

of getting him really desensitized to

touch and sometimes he does it pull away

or he gets a little bit on short with

touch or something new with the halter I

wasn't going to try to like punish those

behaviors or anything like that so at

this point I just ignore them and later

on of course with the young guys you

want to start to like I would just start

pushing away when he gets a little bit

mouthy stopping any kind of rewarding

behavior like the scratching when he

gets a little mouthy but for today I

basically just ignored it now the next

few minutes here he had kind of gone

behind Fiona so it's a little bit harder

to see but I was just working more up

near his head so I was touching his face

I was touching around his nose and what

I was doing is I would touch him there

for a little bit you can see he's kind

of throwing his head around and when I

would get in a few seconds where he

would be a little bit still and quiet

then I would just take my hand back down

and give him a scratch at the wither and

I tried to stay with him

the best that I could as he was moving

around because just like with the older

horses I didn't want him to learn that

he could you know pull out a behavior

and basically get away from touch or get

away from a type of pressure by throwing

his head up there he obviously got away

a little bit because without really

hanging on to him I just wasn't going to

be able to

stay with him but through most of the

stuff I try to stay really quiet that I

wasn't like physically holding him down

but just kind of moving with him and

continuing to touch him

and now that he's moved out you have a

little better view of what I was working

on with his head so just touching him

and then when I got a moment of

stillness then I would take my hand away

and he's definitely going to be pretty

big so it's nice to be Jota start

working with him when he's a little guy

so the hotter went pretty easy I put it

on and then I gave him a moment to just

stand with it

now one of the things that is that you

have to take a lot of caution with with

foals is when you put pressure

especially on their head their first

response is to pull away from it and if

but if you keep pulling they can end up

hurting themselves so they can pretty

quickly flip over fall down you know go

up and coming back into the wall and

that sort of thing I think that's a

unfortunately one of the common injuries

that are common sources of injure that

foals cat so I didn't want to just start

grabbing the halter and doing and trying

to pull him around with it what I

decided to do is to put the rope around

his body and then use the little

pressure from the rope along with my

hand on us on the hauteur and I would

always kind of ask for him to move at a

little bit of an angle so it was easier

to kind of slightly put him off balance

with the rope around his body and get a

step and then be able to reward that and

again my idea for this session was just

to try to get him get the halter on him

and then see if we could get him just

starting to understand the idea that he

can soften to pressure not not get

overly agitated when there's a little

bit of pressure

and more specifically walk forward with

the order so I use I'm kind of trying to

tie the queue of pressure forward on

hotter which we eventually want to be

walking forward with the pressure that

I'm putting on with that rope around his

body so I would just kind of try to time

it and I have a really light feel so I

do have a little bit of putting a little

bit of weight forward or pressure

forward on his hotter but I would keep

my arm really soft so that way when he

did start to throw his head I could just

kind of go with him and if he went back

I would just move back with him instead

of trying to brace and like out pull in

so again here is he's kind of fighting a

little bit I just try to go with him and

keep the keep the pressure there but not

drag him around

and then he seemed to be having it just

about enough for one session and then

his um his mom Fiona the mayor she

started to get a little bit tired of

what we were doing too

but yeah it's really nice to be able to

work on this at this age because it's

you know I was able to stay nice and

soft and just go with him and even when

he really would toss his head or get a

little bit upset

I could stay close to him I keep the

pressure there I didn't feel like I was

in any danger and you know I made sure

that by going with him I didn't put him

in a situation where he was in danger

all right so we're just finishing up

here Fiona's starting to get a little

bit agitated a little bit tired of us

working with her baby but I think he's

doing really good he seems to have

accepted the halter and kind of be

getting the idea for moving forward and

he loves having his neck scratched