Patience and respect

Teaching patience and respect isn’t just for youngsters, any horse can benefit!

I teach all my horse’s to stand untied patiently until asked to move. If they lose focus it’s regained with a snap of my fingers.

This method is the result of many steps leading up to it stemming from ground work in the round pen and teaching the voice command stop and there they learn to stand until commanded to do otherwise. We then go outside of the pen and enforce it in the grooming area. This way they know what is expected of them we just change the environment.

This helps them to stand tied with impeccable manners, helps them stay focused on you, keeps their respect for you and very convenient if you need them to stand where there is no place to tie.

This is the first step to ground tying as well so when you’re on the trail and you get off you can drop your reins your horse will stand as if it’s tied.

Remember there’s preliminary steps leading up to this in order to set the horse up to succeed but be patient and consistent it will come.

The first ride

The youngsters first ride should be as eventful as movie night with granny. What I mean by that is simply this, grandmas house is familiar, comfortable and you know what to expect. Low stress and you know you belong there. Keep that in mind when starting the process to swing the first leg over a young horse.

Think to yourself, is the horse prepared? Is the horse comfortable? Is the horse ready? Did you TAKE YOUR TIME setting this horse up to succeed? All these questions will, in the end, be answered by your horse. If the horse is thinking and not reacting you did your job well. If the horse takes off bucking and obviously not ready then you need to focus on basics longer.

Some people turn the horse’s head to their saddle before getting on in order to keep the horse from blowing up while they get on for the first time. I don’t agree with this personally. My reasoning being, if you’re afraid of the horse reacting you didn’t do your ground work long enough or detailed enough. Horses should stand quietly for mounting and dismounting, on a loose rein, head and neck in a relaxed position as if they’ve done this their whole lives. If you have the horse’s head turned to get on you’re focusing on the left eye and leaving the right eye out. Once you give that horse their head that right eye will eventually see you up there and that’s where the reaction kicks in. But by then you gotta ride it out and lay in the bed you made yourself.

Rushing leaves holes in the horse’s foundation and therefore not doing the horse justice and possibly creating bad habits down the road.

Moral of the story if you ask yourself this question, “am I 100% sure this horse will remain relaxed when I first throw a leg over?” before you get on for the first time and answer it “no”. Do more groundwork. It never hurts.