First year under saddle
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Saturday, July 31, 2010 11:36 PM
Last year I was hired to start a 4-year-old Trahkener stallion. When I saw him for the first
time I thought that there is a mistake and the horse is 2 years old not 4. However, he comes from the
line of very late maturing horses and even now at 5 he still looks like a 3-year-old and still has
growing and maturing to do. Because his owner wants to keep him at her property I work with the horse
only twice a week. At first I wasn't sure it will work. However, the stallion is very kind and easy going.
He seems to be OK with such light schedule and though he progresses slower than a horse which will
work 4 times a week he still coming along nicely.
I started working with him in May last year and it took me 2,5 months of ground work to get to the
point when he was ready to be ridden. I did similar work with him as I am doing now with Santo. Check out my blog on
Santo's ground work
is easier to work with, calmer and more straight forward plus I have a fenced arena at my client's place.
By the middle of August I started putting my student on his back. My student acted as a passenger, staying very quiet and calm.
At first I was leading him around, then lunging. My student started to give him command to go and stop with me supporting her
from the center. Because he knew all these commands everything went smoothly. After about 8 lessons like that
I decided it was time for me to ride him. At first he was confused about idea of me disappearing and than asking him
to go from his back. However, after only a few moments he figured that out and started walking around. At this stage of his training
the goal was to teach him to accept the rider, accept simple commands of going forward, stop and turn which he already knew
from ground work. So telling him what to do was easy, plus I could use a whip on him right away because he knew
what it meant. All the preparatory work made transition to riding very smooth and uncomplicated avoiding drama and stress.
By November my client started to trailer the stallion to neighboring indoor arena. It was very good decision instead
of giving him a winter off which would made him forget almost everything he learned during the summer and I would had to start all over again this spring.
Trailering and working away from home taught him many new lessons. I could continue his education and expose him to strange horses working
around him, to cavalleties, and etc. I always warmed him up either on the lunge line or long-lines.
When he started consistently cantering on the lunge line both directions just from the voice command, when he was balanced and alway picked up the proper lead
it was time to start cantering under saddle. Again, no drama, no confusion, I used the voice command and he went right into canter and simply continued large
around arena with no emotional roller-coaster, speeding up or bucking. He picked up correct leads and made smooth balanced transitions.
His first ever canter under saddle looked better than many horses look after years of cantering without proper education.
Now, August approaching and it marks a year under saddle for the young stallion. He will be going to his first show in August 21/22.
We took him to Sharon Merkel-Beattie for his first lesson and he performed beautifully, worked very hard and was attentive
most of the time. Sharon was impressed with his kind temperament and willingness to work. For more details about the lesson click here
As you can see his career as a riding horse is all set. He is very nice to be around, calm, friendly, enjoys attention. He has accepted to be ridden and
very solid at walk, trot and canter. It is time for him to start more serious work.