How to Train a Clydesdale Horse

Written by jensen johansson
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How to Train a Clydesdale Horse
The Clydesdale breed is over 300 years old (Clydesdale image by Allyson Ricketts from Fotolia.com)

Clydesdale horses originate from Scotland. Their name is the same as the region they come from. They are draft horses, famous mascots of several beer brands and regular participants in various parades. Their height is 16-to-17 hands, and their most famous feature is the long hair below their knees -- known as "feathers" -- that covers their hooves. Training Clydesdale horses requires time and patience. The modern approach implies building trust and friendship between the horse and the man, and can take up to three years.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Halter
  • Paper bag
  • Fishing rod
  • Harness
  • Bridle
  • Heel chain
  • 2 pieces baling twine, 18 inches
  • 8 feet braided cotton rope, 3/8 inch

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Tie the horse to a post with a halter. Take a paper bag and tie it to the end of a fishing rod. Throw it left, right and over the horse until it gets used to it.

  2. 2

    Put a harness on the horse, and a bridle over the halter. Tie one piece of 18-inch baling twine to the heel chain. Bring the right-hand tug around the harness to the opposite side; fasten it with the other piece of twine. Push the other end of the rope through the last link of the heel chain. Tie the heel chain to the harness.

  3. 3

    Pull the end of the rope to position the horse's head to the left. Tie the rope to the heel chain. Let the horse circle around. Leave the horse on its own. Come back in an hour to see if it is standing quietly.

  4. 4

    Untie the rope, and position the horse's head to the right. Let the horse go. Come back in an hour to check if it is standing quietly.

  5. 5

    Remove the rope. Fasten a set of driving lines to the bit. Drive the horse for several minutes. This procedure is called "the Grapevine Twist." Repeat "the Grapevine Twist" on your next visit.

  6. 6

    Introduce the command "whoa" when driving the horse. Tighten the rope to pull the horse to a sudden stop, until it learns what the command means.

  7. 7

    Lead the horse with a halter and a lead rope. Go shoulder to shoulder with the horse. When you stop, the horse stops. Shorten the rope so that he must stop when you do. This is useful for shows and parades.

  8. 8

    Hold the horse's feet -- one by one -- for a few seconds. Gradually increase the time. Practice this each day until the horse is comfortable with the process. This helps with shoeing.

Tips and warnings

  • Reward the horse with a carrot -- or some other food treat -- when it performs as commanded.
  • Back off when the horse turns his entire body toward you, or takes a step toward you.

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