This month, for our young horse training feature, event rider and trainer Harriet Morris-Baumber offers readers her top tips when training a young horse.
Young Horse Training with Harriet Morris-Baumber
If you have got a young horse with bags of potential how do you ensure that you harness this talent in the right way to produce a well-rounded horse that is a pleasure to compete?
Event rider and trainer Harriet Morris-Baumber has a wealth of experience in training young horses for herself to compete and when coaching her clients. Producing your own horse can be one of the most rewarding things to do but can be a bumpy road with many ups and downs on the journey to success.
“Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. A young horse needs lots of practice competitions before the real thing.”
Here Harriet offers her top tips for training a young horse, that are simple but effective.
- Build confidence in training by gently stretching the boundaries but always go back to an easy, achievable task.
- Praise good behaviour with your voice and a reassuring pat but be sure to correct mistakes such as being lazy or unreactive with a touch of the whip or a nudge with a spur.
- When jumping narrow, corner or skinny fences use guide poles to help show them the way, so a young horse can easily understand what is being asked of them. These can then be lowered to the ground before being removed completely.
- Expose your horse to a competition environment by taking them to a show without the pressure of competing (providing you have permission to do so from the event organisers). This gives you the chance to gauge their reaction and see how they respond – it could be wild and exuberant or they could retreat into their shell.
- Fail to prepare then prepare to fail! A young horse needs lots of practice competitions before the real thing. It is a good idea to go to as many different venues as possible, repeatedly going to the same venue can lull you into a false sense of security leading you to believe they are more advanced in their development than they are.
- Make sure they have seen as many different cross-country questions as possible such as water under tress verses water in open spaces.
- Going backwards to move forwards. Never be afraid to move back a few steps in order to progress forwards. Dropping down a level or asking a slightly less demanding question in training can take the pressure off for a while. If a young horse has a less than desirable performance the next one needs to be a good experience. Competing within your horses’ comfort zone will help restore confidence, eliminate doubt and build trust.
Harriet is available for dressage, showjumping and cross-country lessons at her base near York.
To find out more call Harriet on (07795) 562745 or visit www.harriet-morris-baumber.co.uk
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