The First Connection: Learning from Foals

Have you ever wondered why reward-based training works so well to build a strong connection with your horse? Maybe it’s because when we start Connection Training, we emulate many of the behaviours that horses use themselves to create their mutual bonds.

This fantastic video clip from The Cloud Foundation shows an older foal meeting his 1 day old sister for the first time. There is a huge amount going on in this short interaction.

In this video, I look at these foals interacting from the perspective of training, communication and building bonds with our horses.

Take a look (and you get to watch two very cute foals!):

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3 thoughts on “The First Connection: Learning from Foals”

  1. OMG Rachel I love this video and your explanation was so clear and concise and cleared so many of my head scratching moments. More of these please they are fantastic, thank you so much.

  2. I very much enjoyed the video and your commentary Rachel. I raised old genetic Morgans horses in large pastures, even in the wilderness and produced over 70 foals over the years. I recognized what you are recognizing here …with the mares, new additions, the stallions and the foals. And from them, in the 1980s, not wanting to use traditional methods of training but connection training…I learned positive reinforcement connection with all my horses and trained with it. It worked wonderfully and when I sold members of my heard, their new owners often exclaimed they never had more willing horses in their lives, that learned so well. Of course I feared for my beloved horses…but had to put them out into the world to preserve wonderful genetics that were so rare. Most went to breeders, but many did show and compete as well and I am proud of all of them. My click was “good” and my positive reinforcement was loving words and scratches. It was quite easy to encourage them because they had wonderful energy to move forward and delightful minds…and connectedness from foals on. Though I was asked, I never trained other peoples horses…for I liked my wonderful advantage to raise the foals and have five years in huge pastures with us to be connected deeiokt before ever thinking of being ready to train them to ride in their fifth year.

    It was not until I got donkeys for my retirement plan…and they don’t have that energy to move forward, that I could tap into, to let them know what I wanted from them…that my search brought me to clicker training. I found connection very easy…but how to train for movement and cooperative team work? Clicker Training made the connection into a wonderful working connection. I think it is wonderful to teach heard relationships…for that is where I learned so much about connecting with my horses…though as a teenage girl I found it to in all the time spent loving my horses and never wanting to not be connected…so I had a beginning. And when I saw what other people did to get performance out of their horses – I wanted no part of it. Flicka and Fury responded to kindness and shared intentions…there had to be a way to have the same connection with my horses. It worked to the extent I needed it to then, and I wanted more as I lived and breathed my beloved Morgan horses.

    Your video is a wonderful way to teach those who have never has the privilege of studying a natural herd in huge pasture. It is wonderful.

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