Taking a horse, by the hoof, on his journey to becoming a solid citizen under the saddle is a big responsibility and undertaking for any rider. Decisions made throughout those initial few weeks have the potential to impact your horses attitude to being ridden for many years to come, if not for the whole of his life.
This 6 week, step by step program will take you and your horse to ‘riding’ in a way that leaves you both feeling confident and optimistic about your journey on from here.
The realisation that you have the power to determine a horses future is enough to send many riders running in the opposite direction. This is how I see starting or backing a green or young horse. Decisions made now will impact so many things in the future for him… When done correctly, you will be responsible for starting a horse on his career under the saddle in a way that he can flourish and reach his full potential – regardless of what that is.
In Part 1 of this Starting Series, we take a look at how to start your green horse off on the path to being ridden in a way he can understand and gain confidence in. This is taking things from the beginning – rushing is not an option – remember with horses, slow and steady wins the race…
In Part 2, we will begin introducing your horse to different pieces of tack and equipment, in as relaxed a way as possible. We will also continue working this week on reinforcing the basic training we began last week, with regards to your aids from the ground. Our goal to is to create a system which we can easily transfer across to the saddle when the time comes.
Consistency is one of the most important factors to your success when working with horses, and starting them under the saddle is no different.
Focusing on the basics of relaxation and balance in all you do will ensure your horse is confident and happy in his training, both now and later.
In Part 3, your horse will really begin to look like a ‘riding horse’. You will introduce the saddle and side reins; both building up to actually having a rider on his back.
Getting on your horses back for the first time is a moment many riders dream about. However, when it is your horses first time to also have a rider on his back, there are quite a few considerations and factors to keep in mind. We want this to be a relaxed and ‘good’ experience for your horse and so, again, making sure he is ready for this potentially life changing event is vitally important.
In Part 4, you will eventually get to experience the view from your horses back. We will take this slow and steady, so your horse can work things out for himself both mentally and physically.
It is easy to forget that your horse, regardless of how balanced he is on is own, will have to learn how to move in a balanced way with you on his back.
Part 5 and 6 will see you ‘riding away’. Getting him to a point where he is now ready to begin working and ‘schooling’ in the arena or on the trail.
All horses are different, however this 6 week method is one that I and many other riders all over the world have used with great success to get your horse thinking and working how you want him to under the saddle.