Colt Starting Dancing - My Program for her First 8 Rides [Slideshow]
Dancing finished her colt start and went with success through my program of the first 8 rides. She has been on little trail rides, alone and with other horses, and is now ready to go home and have some holidays.
I want to share at this point my colt starting skeleton I follow during the first few rides:
1.Ride: accept the human on the back, lateral flexion, no moving
2.Ride: repeat the things from the previous session – then let the horse discover that it can still move with the human on the back. Lot of horses think they can`t move and are pretty stuck. Once they get it, the ban is broken. With most horses, I don`t trot in this session.
3.Ride: First trot with the rider. Understand go and whoa – find forward
4.Ride: ride in a bigger arena, behind another horse or even the first trail ride. I start to be more particular about direction and forward
During every ride, I listen to the horse, add a little extra step, let the horse discover rather than making it do new stuff. I use the help of other horses, bigger places and trails to help them find out what I expect, what their new job is. I want them to like their new “life” as a riding horse – and these first few rides are so important to get done well. As we all know – the first impression is what counts!
When I came back home from my journey, I found a very relaxed and happy Dancing. Everything was right there in place and I could continue the program. I decided to work her only every second day, because of the riding. I tend to keep the first 10 rides very short, somewhere between 10-20 mins. Understanding is what counts, not physical action and exhaustion. One departure to a trot on a light request – that’s enough for a horse to get it.
On her 5. ride I took her on her very first trail ride, with Thomas and his mare Flirt as company. Dancing did really well, no spooking, no nothing.
Ride 6 and 7 were again in the arena in order to improve transitions and direction.
On her 8. ride I decided to take her on a proper trail ride with 2 of our working students and their horses – Mathilde with Undur and Anne with Hidalgo. Dancing was just great, we trotted long stretches – in the end, she even took the lead. We had not one spook or buck. And she seemed to really enjoy it.
Dancing's first trail ride in pictures
I always make sure the horse is connected on the ground first before I saddle or ride. This way I greatly reduce bucking, spooking and other unwanted behaviours. I check if the horse willingly goes forward, stops and changes direction.
Then I saddle up and check the same things again. Little saddle-bucks can happen until about the 50 th ride - so I make sure I prepare my youngster each single time the best I can in order to prevent that.
Now Dancing is ready to mount - she is now even coming to the block to pick me up.
First check: Lateral flexion
Second Check: Hindquater disengagement left and right. This is my emergency break.
Third check: Directing the front end.
Hindquater disengagement on the left.
Can you .... cross the tarp? Yes of course!
Can you .... cross the bridge? Yes of course. Adding purpose to the riding greatly helps the young horse to understand the aids
Before going out in the forest, I also check my forward gear.
Undur and Hidalgo come with us as company. I pay attention that I only take experienced riders with calm horses with me when I have a young horse - they learn be imitation and if the other horses are calm, they will be calm.
Dancing likes it.
A long trot between the fields of Le Plessis.
Dancing behaved very well behind the two ponies.
Later in the forest, I wanted to see how she would act being the leader. She was great! Dancing trotted along with ears pricked and very happy!
What a cool horse! 9 short rides of each 10 minutes and already so cool, relaxed, as if she was doing it her whole life!
Time to say Good Bye
Two days later her owner Carole came for the final session and to pick her up. Dancing is started at walk and trot, she happily accepts the rider and I think she found it all very interesting. It is time for her to go home and have some holiday. The plan is that she continues her education later this year.
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