Australian Brumby Challenge ©
Week 15 was an easy one for Playboy. He has had some time off and a few days of short, easy sessions.
His rides at home throughout the week were predominantly focused on introducing the bit. Playboy has only been ridden in the rawhide hackamore and occasionally a rope halter. I enjoy starting horses without a bit. It gives them a chance to become familiar with what is expected of them under saddle without any pressure on their sensitive mouths. Transitioning to a bit after a few weeks under saddle is usually a very smooth, stress free process. The horse has developed confidence with being ridden and the established seat and leg cues support the new signals from the bit.
A few weeks ago I introduced Playboy to wearing the snaffle. He would simply wear it for a few minutes each day so he could become accustomed to the sensation of holding it in his mouth. There were no reins attached to the bit and no pressure was applied. This week I taught Playboy to respond to light pressure on the bit by asking him to bend and follow a feel. Once he started to develop an understanding of responding to the signal from the bit I put him through his groundwork exercises and progressed to riding. Our rides were very short. The first day was simply walking and allowing him to get a feel and understanding of being ridden in the bit by asking for soft responses to signals for change of direction and bend. The next rides we had some trot and a little canter asking for the same responses.
Throughout the week we also had a visit from Kloe, a talented 12 year old rider. Kloe was visiting to ride her own pony, Yuki, and she spent some time with Playboy leading him, changing his rugs, giving him his feed and riding with us. We went out riding through the creek and had some fun playing around with our ponies bareback in the arena. Kloe did a wonderful job reading Playboy's body language. She observed that, although he didn't move, Playboy was a little tentative when she first approached but once she gave him a pat his uncertainty dissipated. It was great to see Kloe and Playboy interacting so comfortably and confidently.
For photos and videos of VBA Playboy’s journey please visit:
Thank you to Barastoc for supporting Playboy’s journey from Wild to Wonderful!