Horse Training

Shiny Strategy

September 13, 2011

Daily schedules can help balance out horses’ looks and attitudes.

Using a daily schedule when training can significantly improve horse health. Journal photo.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

Sitting behind a big oak desk, Mike McMillian could be mistaken as the CEO for a Fortune 500 company.

He may dabble in accounting for bookkeeping chores from time to time, but mostly he designs step-by-step halter horse programs for his customers.

The most important part of keeping horses on track is to constantly evaluate them. Look at the horse every day, or at least two to three times a week, to see if he is losing or gaining weight, putting on hair or getting too hyper. Re-evaluate your horse regularly because they change with growth patterns and times of the year. Constantly readjust your exercise and feeding schedule to achieve that optimal look and attitude for your horse.

It’s no secret what they’re looking for. You can learn how AQHA judges score halter classes in this FREE report, Judging Halter.

Mike’s daily routine in his facility:

4:30 a.m. – Mike feeds all the horses.
7:30 a.m. – Begin the cycle of exercising the horses. The routine for each horse is:

  • Put on leg wraps and neck sweats
  • Exercise each horse for a prescribed amount of time
  • Remove leg wraps, leaving the neck sweat in place
  • Hose feet and legs, clean out feet
  • Tie horse in stall with neck sweat still on (maximum for one and a half hours)
  • Untie horse and remove neck sweat and replace sheets or blankets

12 p.m. – All horses have been exercised
1 p.m. Begin cycle of grooming all horses. The routine for each horse:

  • Brush with rubber curry to remove sweat and dirt
  • Vacuum horse
  • Brush with soft brush

4:30 p.m. – Horses are fed.

The guy who pays the bills is boss. Don’t mandate what the owner does with his or her horse. A trainer’s job is to help guide customers but leave the decision up to them.

If owners take their horses home, work with them to keep the horses in their routine, encourage the owners to keep them at close to the same amount of condition, with about the same about amount of exercise and the same amount of feed.

Halter horse judging is an evaluation of balance, structural correctness, breed and sex characteristics and balanced, proportional muscling. Learn to evaluate these characteristics with AQHA's FREE report, Judging Halter.

A horse that is on a scheduled program has fewer health problems and is generally happier because he knows what to expect every day.

There are people who keep their horses at home that can be as competitive as any trainer. Some people simply want to have their horses at home and enjoy them, rather than leaving them with a trainer all the time.

Either is fine. But if these owners win, it’s because they have spent a lot of time at it, and they’ve studied their lessons. People do not put successful programs together overnight; it’s a learned skill.

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