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How to work with a ‘head-shy’ horse

The problem with horses is that they are scared animals. Of all domesticated animals they have the biggest “fear and flight” part of the brain. It does not take much to scare them. As a product of millions of years of evolution and the...
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Photo per illustration (horse.com).
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Hard-core horse science tickles me pink!

When one comes to understand the  science of learning, the training of animals becomes more comprehensible, even for individuals who only take a passing interest. This is something that behavioural scientists like Dr Andrew McLean continue to reinforce in their work with, for example,...
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With the Winterbach team.
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Some training at Winterbach Stud

“Two weeks before the 2021 National Yearling Sale I was asked to visit Winterbach Stud to assist with their yearlings going to the sale,” writes MALAN DU TOIT. Winterbach Stud wanted me to ‘fine-tune’ their yearlings for the sale so that they could be...
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‘Breaking in’ is a most important function

Malan du Toit does plenty of work behind the scenes – we hear of his success with racehorses but a chunk of his basic work is performed ‘breaking in’ young horses. Malan tells: “Horsey people have their own ideas of how to break in...
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Memories of Belgium, 2012

I can hardly believe I was in Belgium working with renowned breeder and show trainer of some of the best Arabian horses, Johanna Ullström, almost nine years ago. Our project was a very expensive two-year-old Arabian named Kelzo, as aggressive as he was expensive....
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A privilege to work with such horses!

THIS beautiful photo by Chase Liebenberg is of Saturday’s G1 Queen’s Plate winner Jet Dark, a smart three-year-old, fast up-and-coming, getting a splashdown after the big race. I was discussing big race winners with Jason May, the pre-trainer from Drakenstein Stud, and we are...
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High Born Lady.
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Malan’s success with High Born Lady

HIGH Born Lady, a fluent winner of her 1200m debut at the Vaal on 5 December, had some behavioural problems as a younger horse, and trainers Mike and Adam Azzie called on Malan du Toit for help. Malan tells: “I’ve had a long and...
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Malan took Sundari for a spin!

Malan du Toit, seen at Randjesfontein at the weekend on Candice Dawson stables’ lead horse, Sundari. He was working with one of Dawson’s runners and decided to take a break and sit on this former Kimberley Mile winner who was a very good sand...
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Malan du Toit with Legislate.
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Make haste, slowly!

I had two very interesting recent discussions with people involved in managerial positions in stud and pre-training facilities within the horse racing industry in South Africa. The discussions were about the breaking in of horses. Let me first say, I do not really like...
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