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Franklin Levinson's

Horse Help Center

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TB question/my new horse


I found your website and love reading all of your questions and answers. I find it very interesting and informative.

I have a 3 1/2 year old thoroughbred filly. She raced for about 9 months and I bought her off of the track. She has been living the barn life for 2 months now, she was extremely head shy, and we are starting to get over that. She is trusting me more each day. I have seen her every day for 2 months (except 2 days) from 30 minutes to 6 hours. (Weather permitting, we live in Florida). She used to ignore me when I came for a visit to now she puts her head outside the stall to see me and waits for petting. All we do is spend time together and turnouts and some grooming. No training yet. I am a novice, she is my first horse. I am taking riding lessons on a much older OT TB.

My question is, when would you start ground training, and, since she is so young with such little racing experience, do you think she will grow into being a good horse for a novice? I appreciate your advice.

Thank you very much. Shari

Hi Shari,

There is so much more to horses than learning to ride them. Your riding instructor can teach you to ride. But she/he may not be able to give you the sort of information you would need about training your horse. In order to really develope a good bond of trust you need to get good at directing the horses movement in a winning cycle of action. A winning cycle is when you ask your horse to move, it does, and it gets an immediate reward of a very short rest/break in the action and a bit of praise. When this sort thing becomes habitual for the horse, it gets into the habit of trusting you to make appropriate requests. It does not involve treats/food. it is much more than hanging out, grooming and petting. It is active and very much like ballroom dancing with you as the great leader. It should be fun for the horse as much as it is work/movement. It should engage the horse. It engages the horse's mind (very important) with many transitions (as opposed to endless circles). I suggest you get some horse training DVD's available in the backs of all horse magazines. This is the fastest, most economical and efficient way to get the horse information you need. I have several in the shopping corral of my website that would be very helpful to you. No matter whose DVD's you get, get some and watch them a lot. You will learn about the psychology of horses and how they think and learn, along with specific techniques to make requests. This is the sort of information you need. Your horse is definately old enough to have been in training for a good year. Horses like and need a job. Like with humans, too much hanging out is not so good. Whether or not she will become the best horse for you I cannot say. It will depend on the training the horse gets, her personality and attitude (a lot of which is developed by the training), old issues the horse may have, your skill level and attitude as well. The best suggestion I can make to you Shari is for you to get education about horses (way beyond your riding of the horse). The lack of racing experience is a good thing for you. Race horses are trained for one thing only, to run to the left as fast as possible. I don't think that sort of training is what you are looking for. Good Luck and please keep me posted.

Sincerely, Franklin

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