Australian Brumby Challenge ©
After a great five days off Maximus and I were back at it this week to take his development to the next stage. I was thrilled that last week he made the big change to accept me on his back and was confident enough to allow me jump up and down from the ground without getting worried. So I did this all again in our first sessions back this week to keep the consistency and he was super, really chilled and getting much more accepting of having me on the left side as from the start this was the side that worried him the most. Once I got the green light here I knew I was ready for his first saddling.
Like with any young horse and their first experiences with new things I always try and make sure it is a positive one so I placed the saddle up in such a way that was as though I was giving Max a big hug having the saddle land smoothly on his back so there was no shock or reaction from him when it was placed down. This was all done with him in the large arena and with a loop in my lead rope so that I knew he was connected with me and I wasn’t making him stay there. Then I went to doing up the girth and again because I had prepared him earlier with the bareback pad he had no reaction to the tightening of this and accepting the feel around the girth area was wonderful.
Now I had the saddle on I could than turn him loose in the yard to move around and feel the saddle on his back by himself without having me nearby, this then allowed him time to process this feel and experience by himself. I then put Max in an environment with three other horses so that I could move him around at liberty with them all, which is called a rodeer, and so by having the added draw of the herd to help him to move out freely and start to do transitions from walk, trot and canter then back down again was perfect to help with his confidence to have the saddle on. Once I could see that he had no issues with the saddle I was then able to step on up half way and rub on him. Once this was nice I put my other leg over and just sat there rubbed him all over and playing friendly game from above for confidence.
I was pleased with his confidence to yield and turn loose to lateral flexion, which I always check first on young horses, so that I know I can bend them if need be for control. Then it’s all about been a passenger, allowing him to go wherever he feels like and just support his idea and confidence to have me on his back. Forwards is the first and most important thing when you start to ride any young horse, it’s not about the human trying to take over and have control. You want the young horse to feel freedom with you on their backs and have the ability to be confident to think about where they are going rather than worrying about what the human is doing on their backs.
As I progressed through the week I got to where he could be confident to ride around the large round yard and then also out into the large, open paddock. Here I again was just happy for him to go forward and have confidence in the new surroundings of the paddock. I did very little directing as the biggest key was still that he is thinking forward and happy to go explore. If I do too much steering early on then they can start to get worried and lose confidence to go places. I love how he is starting to show more character in each session and still building his confidence with been around other people, horses and manmade things.