I like thinking outside the box. It isn’t that thinking inside the box is bad…it’s more that I can add to that knowledge by thinking differently at times. Let’s apply this thought to halter breaking.

When does halter breaking begin? That depends on who you ask. Some people begin the day the foal is born, others wait until weaning time while still others, like big ranches out west, often wait even longer than that. Many times the size of the operation and the use of the horse now and in the future are all taken into consideration.

Presto and Justice are both around a month old and have not been halter trained yet. They have been handled. When the foals were sent home the instructions were to ‘bear hug’ them off the trailer. Even though they haven’t worn halters they HAVE picked up an understanding of yielding to pressure.

Let me put that another way.

Possibly –because- they have not worn halters yet they have learned to yield to pressure well.

Stacy Westfall with foalsI’m suggesting that the lack of wearing a halter at first makes the handler more aware of the ‘whole body’ experience that must happen with the foal. Sometimes old habits are hard to recognize, let alone change, and for that very reason there are times when doing something in a different way can have better results. Not because the original method was bad…but because sometimes we get familiar and lazy when it comes to something we do all the time.

These foals handle amazingly well because they have been guided by pressure and release. it is easy to wrap one arm behind them and guide their head and neck in the direction you desire to steer them. This method encourages driving the foals from behind and not getting in a tug of war. Not that anyone sets out to get into a pulling contest….but how many times have you seen someone accidentally end up there? Again, it is not the tool (in this case a halter) that has a shortcoming or defect…it is the understanding and the timing of the release.

And that is the secret from the first day until the last.

My foals need to learn to be halter trained. It is a safety thing. If one were to escape someone might guess that they were halter trained and try leading them. Plus they are growing quickly and the method that worked on a 3 day old won’t work on a 3 year old (I would need longer arms) and halter training should be fun.

These babies are already excited to spend time with me and this will give me more ways to communicate with them. It will also increase the places we can go!

Want to help pick the halters Presto and Justice will be wearing? Weaver Leather has committee to providing halters and is letting everyone vote on their Facebook page for the color they want each to wear. Jump over to their page to have your vote count or leave your comment here if you just want to leave it for fun. The votes close Thursday night (June 9, 2016). 
Weaver leather halter votingWeaver halter colors