Colt Starting Dancing - Accept the Rider [Slideshow]
After 3 weeks, Dancing was ready and prepared to accept the rider on her back. I have a little checklist in my head, to make sure the horse is mentally and emotionally prepared to take this important step with full understanding.
"Accept the Rider" Checklist:
- Being confident with me and my tools on the ground
- Understand about pressure and release – both rhythmic and steady pressure. I want to have solid yields already in place
- Accept the cinch and bareback pad
- Understanding about mutual communication – this is maybe the most important point.
During this week Dancing had only 3 sessions – one to play all the games with the saddle on her back on the ground and 2 for her very first times with me on her back.
She did very well. As she had already learnt the week before to come to the mounting block and stand still, the only new thing was me suddenly leaning like a bag of potatoes on her back.
As with a lot of new things, she was surprised but in an introverted way. It took her quite a few repetitions to let go, relax and decide that this was just another weird human idea. I finished with her being really ok and relaxed about me crawling around on her back.
All I do on this very first “ride” is the friendly game, sit up and then ask lateral flexion left and right. This is important to make sure they see me up there and are really aware what is happening. Nothing worse than sneaking up and 10 mins later the horse suddenly sees the rider up there and gets the heart attack of its life!
Enjoy the little picture story about Dancings very first time with a rider on her back!
Coming to the mounting block
Step 1: jumping up and down, getting the horse confident with movement
Step 2: carefully leaning over the horses back
It is important to allow the horse to explore and check things out . If it doesn't stand still, it means that I went too fast, that the horse lost confidence.
Touching everywhere, also on the croup - she wasn't so sure about this at first.
Hey Dancing, it´s just me!
Step 3: laying along the horses back. It is simply a whole body friendly game
Everything gets repeated from the other side.
Step 1: Laying over the back
Little break to think. It is too easy to go too fast with Introverted horses, but she didn't lick during the whole processe. Although she seemed calm, I felt a bit of tension. A little break helps a lot for the horse to processe things.
And again. Repetition is key. Step 1...
Step 2 - already better expression
Step 3 - bend the knee to prepare for swinging the leg over
Step 4 - first time sitting up, legs left and right. For some horses this can be a claustrophobic experience and a surprise to see us up there.
Swinging the rope over the head as another friendly game
Now she looks ok with the whole thing. Well done Dancing!
Read more about Dancing's Colt Starting