Colt Starting - Shimmering Princess - The First Ride [Slideshow]
After 2 weeks of preparations on the ground and having accepted me on her back at a standstill, Princess was ready for the first ride! What do I expect on a first ride?
- that the horse discovers that it can walk and trot with a rider on its back
- that I can bend the horse to a stop and ask for forward
- that the horse does all this with understanding
I usually go in a small enclosed environment so that the horse is less distracted and can feel safer.
Click through the slideshow to learn how I set it up so that Princess could make a nice experience for her first ride.
Yes, she is a western horse, but for the first ride, I choose a saddle that is comfortable for both of us. And I am not good in western saddles….
Before mounting, I make sure she can accept cinch and saddle at the trot….
... as well as at the canter. No luck to get spectacular pictures with Princess, she is doing perfectly. All green lights to proceed.
Good girl! Some friendly game and motion on top of her to check if she is ok with that today.
I am checking the basic yields: Hindquarter disengage, lateral flexion, backing up and yielding the front end.
Last check before going to the mounting block. Can you move your hindquarters towards me?
Then I ask her to position herself to the mounting block.
I am mounting carefully, after all, it is the first time with a saddle. Never underestimate change!
Before I ask her to go forward, I check the brakes: Lateral Flexion to the right
Lateral flexion to the left.
I lead her off to the right and see if she can take the first steps.
Princess found a nice forward walk pretty quickly. Big reward for her!
Next step is to discover trotting. I am using rhythmic pressure and my voice as she learnt to respond to that already on the ground. Only later I will introduce leg pressure.
Again it was pretty easy for Princess to find the solution. What a nice very first trot!
The Preparation paid off
I repeated these basic communications several times in each direction. I quit once she started to respond with understanding. All she needed to learn today was to walk, trot and bend to a stop with a rider on her back. All in all, it took 15 minutes while riding.
The first ride was, thanks to all the preparation she had on the ground, a real non-event for Princess. It all happened with softness, understanding and - most importantly - with her full agreement.
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