02 12 16

One of My Favorite Times of the Year

02 12 16

This is one of my favorite times of the year. Our 2 year olds have had at least 30 days riding and we finally get to see them under saddle after 3 years of waiting time. A lot of people ask me why I start my 2 year olds early in Dec or Jan. The reason I do this is so they get 5 days a week of consistent training.

When we start our foals we spend as much time in the round pen as they need. This varies from horse to horse. Some stay in for a few weeks, others are only in there for a few days. One thing I have always lived by is training each horse as an individual. I know lots of trainers who say certain horses don’t fit them and won’t ride certain bloodlines, etc. I think as a trainer you have to be adaptable, but if you ever have a trainer tell you this, respect their opinion and decide whether you want to leave your horse with them. A cookie cutter program does not work on all horses.

After leaving the round pen we spend lots of time just cruising around, sometimes outside on a trail ride and lots of time going around the outside of the arena learning to guide, rate and move off of pressure. When we are comfortable and the colts are confident we move into teaching them very basic maneuvers. Our time on these colts is no longer than 20-30 minutes. It is important to keep things basic and simple. Baby steps is the key to a long and successful future. Another reason we start early is so later down the road if the horse develops any unsoundness or gets sick for any reason, we can afford to give them all the time they need to heal. Many people don’t start there 2 year olds till later in the year. Unfortunately in the case of soreness or sickness you end up playing catch up and can not afford any time off. I highly recommend sending your colts out early to a good reputable 2 year old program that builds futurity horses. These trainers understand what it takes to build on baby steps.

About Craig

Reining horse professional Craig Schmersal is the fourth-leading rider of all-time, with earnings of more than $3.2 million. Over the last decade, Craig has won almost all of the major reining events, often taking all three of his entries into the finals.