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How to Start a Yearling on a Halter

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A yearling is a young horse who is at least 1 year old, but less than 2 years old. Ideally, young horses should be taught how to halter and lead within their first few months of life, but a yearling and even older horses can be taught if you have an adequate amount of time and patience. The older a horse gets, the harder it is to halter break. If your horse cannot be haltered, there is very little you will be able to do with him because using a halter is an essential part of handling your horse.

Step 1

Introduce the halter to your yearling. Allow him to see the halter, sniff the halter and desensitize him to the feel of it being rubbed against the skin on his body, neck and face. Praise him when he allows the halter to touch him. Do not force the halter on your horse. You will need him to take the halter willingly for the rest of his life so you do not want to make this process into a fight.

Step 2

Slide the noseband portion of the halter gently over his nose. Practice doing this multiple times until your horse no longer tenses or worries about it. Sometimes holding a treat right below the noseband so that your horse will have to stick his nose through the halter to reach it can provide extra encouragement for your yearling.

Step 3

Stand to the left of your horse and slide the halter all the way up onto his head as many times as necessary until the horse accepts the feeling of the halter on his head. Slip the crown piece behind his ears and buckle the halter in place.

Step 4

Practice haltering and then removing the halter on your yearling multiple times a day until he accepts the behavior as being commonplace.