2024 Clinician AcademyLearn More
Over the years, Clinton Anderson from Downunder Horsemanship has developed an effective method to train horses, regardless of their age, history, or behavioral issues. Join him on his weekly endeavors of tackling some of the most challenging situations with problem horses, and with problem owners. On this week’s episode, we get a chance to see part of Clinton’s newest professional series, the foal training series. Clinton works with Miley to demonstrate how his method can ensure the dreams for your foal come true.
Clinton opens the episode by reminding us that if we want to see success, we need to start training our foals as soon as they open their eyes. First, you need to teach them that humans aren’t the enemy. This can be done through a series of desensitizing exercises that start right away. Second, you teach a foal that he or she needs to respect you as a human. The younger the horse is, the faster they learn, so the sooner you start, the better.
The first lesson that Clinton introduces is respect without fear. Respect simply doesn’t work if your horse is afraid of you. To start, Clinton gets the foal’s hindquarters to move using a gentle touch in an exercise called Touch and Rub: Yield the Hindquarters. This helps your foal tune in to you and become respectful because they start using the thinking side of their brain.
Next, Clinton moves on to the exercise Touch and Rub: Yield the Forequarters, where he focuses on gaining control of Miley’s front end. The goal is to touch your foal with your fingers and have the foal respond by moving their forequarters away. When the foal responds correctly, rub them to a stop. Clinton repeats this until Miley gets the hang of it. Once you gain control of the hindquarters and the forequarters, you’re on your way to getting your horse to be a great, respectful partner.
All successful foal-training starts with desensitizing, so never skip this step. You need to make sure that they’re not afraid of you if you want to teach them anything. Give them a lot of hands-on attention and introduce ropes and halters at an early age.
One of Clinton’s favorite exercises to do with foals is called Turn and Go. The exercise teaches the foal to follow the feel of the halter pressure. The goal is to get your foal to turn and draw automatically as soon as you pick up on the lead rope and apply pressure. Check out the Foal Training Series to learn more about how to successfully complete the Turn and Go exercise. Another great exercise to teach your foal is Leading Beside. This teaches your foal to come up beside you rather than get in front of you or drag behind you when you’re leading. The point is to get your horse to walk when you walk, stop when you stop, and back up when you back up.
Clinton goes on to explain important steps in a young horse’s career, including teaching them to stand quietly while tied up. You do not want the foal to pull back, panic, or break their halter and lead rope, and most importantly not to injure themselves or others. He accomplishes this using his tried-and-true method, an Aussie Tie Ring, and a lot of desensitizing behavior.
To tie up this preview of Clinton’s Foal Training Kit, he reminds us how important it is to handle your foal’s feet. This means preparing them to be trimmed and handled by a professional at an early age so that they grow up respectful of everyone. He explains how he teaches a horse to willingly pick up their feet and stand quietly while he handles them. It’s a gradual process, where you’ll hold each leg up longer and longer. You’ll work your way from the front feet to the back feet, chipping away at the lesson during every training session. Before long, the foal will be confident about having his feet handled.
Get the Clinton Anderson Foal Training Series to instill a solid foundation of respect, trust and willingness in your foal, and ensure all of your dreams for him or her do come true. Clinton recommends starting with the Foal Training Kit and then progressing to the Colt Starting Kit when you’re ready to start your horse under saddle. Both of these training kits will give you the information and the steps you need to train your horse. To learn more about the Clinton Anderson training method, or to get information on any of the products seen in this training session, head over to our website.