By the nature of their individuality there is no set time scale for training sessions or a horse’s progress. However, I am often asked how I generally work with horses so here is a guide.
I allow a maximum of 30 minutes active training (not including rest times) per session. This time will be less depending on the experience and fitness of the horse. I find that a horse will start to switch off after this and you will have to do more ‘telling’ than ‘asking.’ If you are not achieving your responses in this time then you may not have prepared your horse correctly through the steps required up to that point, or your technique may need some work.
I like to work with horses in five consecutive training sessions a week. With young horses I am starting, I break their first year up into periods of work. I allow four to six weeks for the ‘starting’ part, where I introduce basic groundwork, a saddle and rider. In this time they will have played with obstacles in the arena and gone on lots of hacks incorporating real life obstacles such as gates, ditches and other horses. I then recommend to owners that the horse have around a month off. This allows the horse’s body and mind to adjust and settle. Following another six to eight weeks’ training they have a second month off. From that point on their work schedule is built on a horse-by-horse basis with periods of learning / work and rest. I use the human school year as a rough guide line, or the horse’s future competition schedule and build in term time and holidays around that.