Foal Halter Breaking and Training

Join Daniel Dauphin and his six month old filly Scarlet, in her first experience wearing a halter.  Foal halter breaking at its gentle best.


This film illustrates how Daniel goes about halter breaking a young horse. Scarlet was basically unhandled when he first got her as a weanling. Since then, he’s spent plenty of time petting and handling her, and now she accepts him and is comfortable being with him.

Daniel starts off by noting some practices that he discourages when halter breaking the young horse: It’s not a good idea to put the foal and mare together in a stall to halter break a foal. Generally this leads to shoving the youngster up against the wall, or running them into a corner, and cramming the halter on whether he wants it or not. This tends to be very confining, putting a lot of pressure on the little ones. If the young horse becomes scared in the process of halter breaking, he needs some space to be able to get away – or you can walk away to give them more space – so that pressure is removed.

Foal Halter Breaking is a Vital Moment

As Daniel states, foal halter breaking is a vital moment in the rest of the youngster’s training and ability to trust. It is the horse’s introduction to “learning how to learn.” If you get the horse overly frightened and you force the halter on, you’re really setting the stage for things to come.

Daniel proceeds with the view, we’ll just see how this lessons goes. If he does not get the halter on in this session, it’s fine. If it takes several days to finally halter the filly, that’s OK too. His view is not to be in a hurry, as there will be years before Scarlet will advance beyond a halter. It’s way more important that they’re comfortable with you and the process, than it is that the halter gets put on.

Much of the halter breaking lesson is just walking with the horse, standing with the horse, rubbing and patting, being gentle. When the opportunity is there, slip your hands and halter around the neck as though preparing to halter the horse, rub their neck gently, then back away. Continue in this approach until you can actually slip the halter on without fastening, then take it off. Finally, there will be the opportunity to put the halter on and fasten it.

Also Daniel reinforces the importance of instituting respect at this point. If the young horse tries to shoulder in at you, bite or kick at you, treat them just as you would an older horse. Don’t let bad manners slide. One or two firm corrections during this early critical training can nip bad behavior in the bud.

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