• Yahel Applbaum

First Ride Tip

Question of the week - What to do when my horse/ colt is not moving forward at the first couple of rides?

I get that a lot, and I was so frustrated the first few times it happened to me, but let me reassure you, it is OK.

Along my journey with horses I often came across people telling me that horses should buck and run when I first go up on them, and I believed it, for a very long time, causing me to question my work when surprisingly it did not happen! Instead of a bucking horse I found myself sitting on a non-moving horse.

For a very long time I thought it is a bad thing, cause' this is what I have been told.

No, it is not a bad thing.

With that said- there has to be a balance; between the 'crazy- fast' and the 'crazy- slow' parts. I gave the two sides of the spectrum a nickname to make it easier to understand, at least for me.

We want to create a positive experience while teaching our horse to respond to pressure, ques and different types of requests at the same time, and many times all of those goals we have will only cause us to move slower and get the opposite of what we asked for.

That is where the 'crazy-fast' and 'crazy- slow' come to life- either we have rushed things to far, or missed a few steps on the way and our horse is losing grip (literally living the ground), or our horse is moving as slow as turtle and we are trying to ask too many things at the same time- causing our horse to move even slower.

Both times it is up to us to stop- and make things as simple as we can:

1. 'Crazy- fast'- it is our job to find a way to relax, stop, and create a positive experience, even if it means going back to the ground- it is no shame to go back, or stop and re-valuate the situation.

2. 'Crazy- slow'- our topic of the day, and as it seems a very common situation.

First of all, lower your expectations, don't go ahead thinking that if your horse is not a 'crazy- fast' horse it means that everything is fine- some horses freeze at times of stress or discomfort, and it is up to us to notice that. In addition, don't expect things to go bad, and take out of your mind what others think should happen, after all you are the one sitting up there and feeling what's going on.

Second of all, if you are up there, trying to move forward, and nothing is happening look back at the ques you have established from the ground and try to follow them; I find it very helpful to use the same tools both from the ground and from the back of the horse, that way I maintain a persistent approach.

The last tip I will offer you today, and for me the most important one, and it had taken me a very long time to actually apply it myself- Do not be a control freak!

What I mean by that, is go with it! If your horse is ok with standing- find a task for it- maybe flexing to sides? Moving their hip? Swing a rope? (if you did something from the ground, carefully try to do it from the top).

Walking? Great! Don't give directions, as long as everything is well- pet your horse, flap the rope every once in a while, but don't give million directions at once, after all, the fence is as far as you will go!

Still want to go a bit faster, good! Apply pressure, use your rope as a tool and then your legs, and build speed gradually- walking faster, to jogging, and if you get there- loping. But like said, don't rush it!

If you got a little improvement, quit there, and create a positive experience- that will lead to a positive outcome.

Everything written here, is the tip of the iceberg, and my change from one horse to the other, but might simplify things for you!

p.s.- I always recommend having someone with you when first riding a horse, you can never be too safe!

Let me know how it worked out for you! Videos are welcome!



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