The A.R.T. of Barrel Racing

 

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Ask Sharon

Training

Abigail from New York, writes:

Dear Sharon,

What age do you usually start colts and what do you start them on?

Dear Abigail,

Remember that each horse is matures mentally and physically at different rates. I prefer to have the horses ridden lightly in their second year but allow them until they are five to really get ready to learn their chosen sport. If you planning a futurity career for your youngster, I suggest you consult your veterinarian to help you decide if the horse is skeletally mature enough to start a heavy training program.

I consider starting young horses to be an art. The experiences the youngsters have determine their outlook on life for the duration of their careers. If you have never started a young horse and have the option, I would suggest seeking the help of a professional who specializes in starting young horses. If you don’t have that option, I suggest you research the Western Horseman website for the great selection of books on "colt starting" to help you with your training plan.

You can accomplish a lot by utilizing groundwork. The importance of establishing a responsive horse on the ground can’t be stressed enough. Again, if you haven’t any experience with structured groundwork the Western Horseman books will provide great information. My other suggestion would be to send a note to Dr. David Hayes via Ask Dr. Dave on my website. Dr. Hayes has a wonderful program called One-Step Horsemanship and he may have additional suggestions.

Ride safe,

Sharon