One of the questions I get most often is about my oldest son, and that’s “How does he break horses?”. Since he recently started a colt, I thought I’d share with you day 1 of breakin’ Nintendo, his Dad’s horse. And if you’re wondering why his name is Nintendo….this is why.
He’s branded with DS. I thought my husband was clever with the name, don’t you?
Tyler starts with ground work, which he claims is not near as fun as just getting on them and going, but it’s a better, safe way. You want to give the animal respect but also demand things of him. He needs to know who boss is but also needs to learn that. My son uses a long halter so that he has plenty of room to swing the end of it to make the horse go, without getting kicked. He usually takes that halter and lets the horse smell it, then he rubs the halter all over him, then puts it on. He asks him to give and he won’t let go until he does. He just holds it there and waits. It takes lots of patience to do this kind of work. That’s when he teaches him to lope in circles in each direction.
He pulls him to a stop, making sure he’s facing his direction and pulls him forward….then pets on his nose to let him know he’s doing good. You can tell the horse is very alert, watching Tyler, listening to Tyler.
Next comes the saddle blanket. He lets the horse see it, smell it, and then he rubs it all over the horse so that Nintendo knows the saddle blanket won’t hurt him.
He does the same thing with the saddle. He tosses on his back a few times so that he understands the saddle won’t hurt him either. Then he lets the horse “soak”. He lets him sit a minute with the saddle on.
So now once the saddle is on, Tyler does more ground work because almost always, a colt will buck a little. He knows there’s something on his back, doesn’t really know what and is unsure about whether or not that saddle is gonna hurt him. Once Tyler’s done some ground work with the saddle on, Nintendo quits pitchin’ and realizes it’s okay.
Pulling him towards him again, just like at the beginning.
It’s amost time for Tyler to get on the horse. Before he does though, he steps up on the stirrups on both sides and kinda jumps around like he’s gonna jump up on the saddle. It just lets the horse know that there’s nothing to be skittish about. He pets him all over once he’s up there on the sides, letting him know all is okay.
He finally gets on Nintendo and all he does it sit there, letting the horse feel him up there. He sticks his foot out letting the horse smell of the stirrup. He reaches around petting on him, moving around up there.
After that, he finally makes him go. There’s a little resistance but not much with horse. Nintendo seems to learn well. Once he goes how Tyler wants him to go, he stops, gets off, and lets him sit a minute, while he takes his own break. Tyler gets to rest a second and reflect on how he did and Nintendo gets to think about everything that just happened. The whole process takes at least an hour, if not longer. From day 2 and beyond, the ground up work is not near as much because the horses already knows all that.
And that my friends, is how Tyler breaks a horse.