Backing a young horse for the first time is often seen as something dangerous and dramatic. Horses who aren’t prepared can panic, bucking bolting and rearing. But, it doesn’t have to be that way!
I believe that horses should have a positive experience when someone sits on their back for the first time and this is all down to these 3 things:
#1 Preparation. Spending enough time working with tack and at the mounting block to ensure your horse understands about lining up and is totally relaxed as you lean over their back in all sorts of ways. I do this for weeks before mounting.
#2 Rewards. Making the time spent wearing tack and at the mounting block rewarding and relaxing through using rewards and positive reinforcement training.
#3 Connection. Many horses ‘lose’ their human when they mount as it hasn’t been explained to the horse that it’s just you moving to a different position. This leads to horses being relaxed and tuned in when worked on the ground becoming distracted, tense and unresponsive when ridden. I like to make sure that the horses stay totally tuned in and connected to ME as I move from the ground to the saddle, ensuring we’re working together right from step one of starting a horse under saddle.
Rowan is actually being re-started in this video as she’d had previous bad experiences with humans and being ridden and driven before she was rescued by Hope Pastures sanctuary (and then came to me). Horses who have had negative experiences follow exactly the same process as young horses being backed for the first time, but it takes a bit longer and more repetition to help them overcome their fear and truly relax and enjoy being mounted.
I hope this video helps you to see that this process can be safe, calm, relaxed and enjoyable for both you and your horse.
Let me know if you have any comments or questions below ☟
➣The CT Club is an online membership site where you can get access to hundreds of step-by-step training videos on training your horse using positive reinforcement, both on the ground and for riding. We have a WHOLE STEP-BY-STEP Home Study Course on exactly how to start or restart your horse under saddle, showing you everything from introducing tack, teaching ridden cues from the ground, preparing for mounting, mounting for the first time, your first steps and teaching cues like walk, halt and turn from the saddle. You can find out more and sign up here We look forward to seeing you there 🙂
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