Most types of training relate to several stages in a horse’s life. Even more types of training claim to do something marvelous with the horse--whether more tame or submissive. It all comes back to the quality of training the horse received early in its life and the methods used as the horse progressed. A correctly trained horse makes for a better riding companion.
Human training should happen first. It is as simple as spending time with a new horse, showing it a new home, and conducting proper grooming. The horse gets used to human contact. It makes the horse more comfortable with its human surroundings. A famous training method, imprint training, involves human contact within minutes after the foal’s birth. Training in this stage occurs throughout the horse’s life, though it lacks formality.
Ground training will continue throughout the horse’s life. This training lets the horse walk on a lead without pulling or refusing. It teaches the horse to respect the person. Two disciplines, showmanship and halter, show off the quality of the ground training. The judge determines the horses with the best conformation in halter. In showmanship, the rider exhibits the horse to the best of her ability. Ground training includes lunging and round pen work.
The next stage on a horse’s training journey is basic training. Like the ground training and horse training, basic training happens early in the horse’s life. He will not receive this training again unless improperly trained the first time. Basic training includes “breaking” or “gentling” a horse to accept a rider. The horse will take the bit. He will also walk, trot, lope on command as well as turn right and left. The horse yields to leg pressure and learns to moderate his gait. The horse learns the basics of being a riding horse that translates into one of the many riding disciplines. The horse will halt, speed up and slow down.
Western Discipline Training
Discipline training varies greatly and encompasses many sub categories. It lasts years as the rider perfects the horse’s training. Western riding disciplines include reining, western pleasure, pole bending, ranch horse, roping, cutting, team penning, and trail riding.
English Discipline Training
Most trainers focus on either western or English, making horses that excel in both far and few between. English disciplines include show jumping, cross country jumping, endurance, dressage, and English pleasure. This focused training lasts until the horse is retired from the discipline. The trainer may teach the horse more than one subcategory. Like western discipline training, English training lasts years.