Sam is my 8 year old recently wild BLM mustang gelding. He’s only been interacting with humans since February.
Training Sam has been a big challenge because he’s spent so long in the wild doing his own thing, listening to a human isn’t something he was taking to easily. We bonded, continually bond daily and I have had to customize my training methods for him specifically. He’s cam but very reactive so I focused on practicing Exercises that promoted him to use his thinking side of his brain instead of his reacting side. This took the longest because his reacting side has kept him alive his whole life now he has to learn to not “run now, look later”. Once he was thinking more and more I started to lay over him and eventually sit up. I chose to do this without a halter or bareback pad just him and I. No force, no restraints. He trusted me but I had to trust him just as much.
Once he was used to me sitting on him, rolling all over him, sliding off both sides of him, it was finally time for his first ride! My fiancé helped me. My training methods require a rider and a ground person at the first stages of riding so the transfer of control from me on the ground to the person on their back. I always have something familiar when I’m introducing something new. The ground person helps for added comfort and confidence for the horse until the horse gets used to the rider giving cues. The rider will ask them I’ll help enforce the cue from the ground so the horse is never confused then once they do as their asked it’s big time praises. This helps the horse become confident and relaxes as well as look forward to riding the next time.
First rides are short just a few steps then every time after, it’s a little more but this way the horse isn’t overwhelmed.
A happy horse is a reliable horse!