Breaking a throughbreed also takes experience and knowledge. There are several videos out there that will show you ways to break your yearling. Some of them are good and some of theme are trash. I highly recommend finding someone that does this all of the time. This is an important part of your horses life. If not handled properly, you will make it difficult for the next person to fix the problem. We have been breaking yearlings here on the farm for quite awhile now and feel that we have put together a program that is above and beyond the norm!
1st – We start out breaking our foals to lead as soon as we wean them. With our program our foals learn to lead on the very first day.
2nd – We have built a a feeding area that we call the Starting Gate. It is built to the specification of a track starting gate. The foals must enter the starting gate to eat. They are slow to enter the first couple of days but they do go in and eat. After the first two days, it is second nature. Our trainers have told us that our two year olds go in the starting gate very easily and they are not scared, timid or nervous. When our horses are physically one year old, we will bring them into stalls for 4 weeks. We will work with these yearlings five days per week. During this time, we will teach them several things like: noise control, distraction control, how to wear a blanket, bridle and saddle.
In most cases we will not mount a horse the first week. Our program would allow us to mount the first day but we want to really instill the basics in these youngsters. Also, the first week we will have the yearlings travel both directions in a sandy round pen. From the second thru the fourth week, we will repeat all of above with the addition of a rider. During this 4 week boot camp, we will load the yearling in the trailer and take them on short trips. We will also take an older horse that has experience hauling. We do this at least twice and sometimes more depending on the horse. The last thing anybody wants is a horse that will not load and travel.
Our program is not designed to get the yearlings in a track condition. It is designed to teach the youngsters all of the basics along with some discipline and respect. After 4 weeks, we will turn them back out to play and just be horses. We will bring them back in two weeks before they go to the trainer (usually six months before their first start) and give them a refresher course before we send them out.