.During his career, Louis has had the opportunity to start a large number of young horses of a variety of breeds and from a diversity of different environmental backgrounds before being sent to us for the starting process. In the early part of his career, most of these horses came from a farm or ranch background, but as he began to start more performance horses, they were often brought in from a much more physically closed environment, with little or no direct social interaction with other horses. He noticed that these horses were often more difficult to start, and often had behavioral issues or difficulties that not only inhibited the education process, but often carried on with these individuals throughout their careers. As he began to notice these trends, he began to study, and observe everything that he could to try and learn what caused these issues, and more importantly what could be done genetically, physically, or environmentally to insure that these young horses were given the right start so that they could continue onto happy, healthy successful careers with their owners.
Though he had implemented a number of changes to this effect in his program, he discovered an amazing opportunity to find most of the answers he sought while working for a number of the top breeders in the world during his trips to Europe. Many of theses breeders were descendants of the families that have developed and bred some of the top warm blood breeds for hundreds of years, and he had the opportunity to observe their horses and methods and to discuss what it was that made their horses so significantly special. Drawing on these experiences and coupling these with a number of his own ideas has led him to these very distinct conclusions on what it takes to develop a healthy, well adjusted young horse.
*Good breeding for balanced traits from carefully selected sires and mares is critically important.
*The personality of the mare the foal interacts with during the months leading up to weaning have a huge impact on the personality of the foal and will set the mental stage for the rest of it's life.
*Proper weaning, both mentally as well as physically need to occur at a proper age.
*Once weaned, a young horse should be socially integratedwith other horses (preferably including other youngsters) of a mixed age group so that it may learn proper expectations and boundaries, as well as a willingness and needfulness to work with other herd members.
*During the period between weaning and starting under saddle, the youngster should be in reasonably large pastures for long periods of time, with a group of horses that allows for plenty of interaction and lots of movement so that it may properly develop both mentally and muscularly. This period should also allow for lots of exposure to the world that surrounds it.
*Horses should not be started under saddle until they are at least 4 years old to allow them to develop fully in mind and body. The joints are not fully closed until 4 years of age, and on some later maturing horses until the age of 5.
*When started under saddle, they should be given proper time to absorb their learnings, and be progressively developed as they are mentally and physically ready, with a proper foundation of fundamental skills for success that will carry with them into any discipline.
It is for these reason, that we began offering our Young Horse program. Though we are not involved with breeding or foaling, many of our clients send their young horses to us shortly after weaning where they remain up until we start them under saddle. Others, whose horses won't get these opportunities in their environment, sent them to us to develop, and then take them to other trainer to be started, or in some cases, start them themselves. This gives their young horses the opportunity to develop properly in a very natural, healthy environment before beginning their formal education.
While with us, these youngsters are exposed to veterinarians and farriers, as well as general handling as needed, all under the watchful care and guidance of our experienced staff. Many of our youngsters come with excellent ground manners, and others come needing to learn even basic leading skills to enable them to be safely handled, but in either case, we can provide a program based on your particular horses needs at an extremely affordable price.
If you have a young horse, and would like to have it started on the pathway to a successful future, please feel free to contact us to discuss the available options to best suit your and your horses needs.
Louis with Captain
Louis with Cantara in a round pen session