Foal Training: Mission

Immediately after Mission’s birth
I was still able to catch him. I imprinted him by touching him all over his body. I was able to constrain him at that time by holding him firmly with a hand placed in front of his chest just under his neck and the other hand on his rear haunches. If he wanted to escape now at a month old, I don’t think I could hold him so easily, but he seemed to have learned that my hand was an impenetrable barrier. During the first couple of weeks I caught him a few times in a confined area. These last few days he has taken a curiosity in me and has walked up to me cautiously. I scratch him hoping to give him a motivation to be close to me and not be afraid. Foals seem to be intimidated by height, so I crouch so my head is lower than his head. He is still very cautious. Today after scratching him I was still in a crouching position when he wanted to play a game of tag or something and he reared, pawing his front legs at me. He nearly struck me in the face with his front feet. Colts in their playfulness can be dangerous (or at least cause a little pain–not to mention make bad habits that could be dangerous later). After that rough play incident I thought it was high time to give him a short lesson in halter training.
I caught him in the stall and slipped a colt halter on his face with a lead rope attached. I wanted to constrain him just enough for him to know that he was caught but not enough to cause him to panic, get into a tug-of-war, flip over  backwards or something like that. I did not make any effort to lead him. I will introduce lead training gradually. My goal is to introduce the halter gradually with as little trauma as possible. I put the halter off and on a couple of times. He was worried; however everything went fine.


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