Santo under saddle
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Friday, November 5, 2010 09:52 PM
Santo has been under saddle since July 24th . By now he had roughly 35-40 rides. We started very slowly,
just getting on and off. My husband was helping me with initial rides and walked Santo around arena. At the beginning I was just a passenger, doing nothing,
sitting quietly and letting him get used to this major development in his education. He was not scared or upset, he was rather surprised. Almost every ride I introduced
something new. This new things were tiny, barely noticeable for Santo. Ride after ride the lunge line was becoming longer, I started to steer and ask him to go forward and stop.
When Santo was readily walking and listening to me I introduced trot. Because my arena does not have a fence I spent more time on the lunge line then I normally would.
The lunge line became more and more unnecessary until it was simply there doing nothing and I was controlling Santo's direction and speed from the saddle. This was the
time to let it go. From second half of September I started riding completely on my own.
For now my objectives under saddle are:
- I want him to accept the fact that he is a riding horse. He is learning to carry a rider and listen to the rider's requests.
- As you can see in the picture I am not asking Santo for any particular head and neck position. However, I am keeping quiet contact with his mouth teaching him to be OK with
the idea. My hands follow his mouth passively. The only time I use reins is to help my seat to turn or prevent him from turning the wrong way. Inside rein works as an opening rein and
outside rein works as a neck-bearing rein with the help of a dressage whip on the shoulder. The only time I use reins is when I am working in hand or in long lines.
- The most important lesson Santo has to learn now is to go forward from the leg aid. Until this lesson is confirmed I will not use my hands to put him on the bit. So many times young
horses are asked with the hand to flex at the poll before they fully understand forward aids and strong enough to keep pushing from behind. These horses do well in Training/First Levels
and then disappear to last places as soon as collection required in Second Level. Winter is coming and I will be riding in the fields in the snow. It will be a wonderful opportunity to start
developing Santo's gaits and desire to go forward.
- I am trying my best to make work fun for him, doing different things for each ride, introducing something new every time, going out on short trail rides. The
working session lasts about 40-45 minutes but actual time in the saddle is only 15 to 30 minutes.
Besides working under saddle Santo is working in long lines and in hand. Without burden of a rider long lines teach him exercises such as spirals, serpentines, transitions, etc. In hand he is learning flexions, leg-yield and shoulder in. He is starting to understand a concept of outside rein. On a lunge line he is cantering both directions from a voice command. Recently he easily picked up
canter from walk when I called his name to get his attention before trot transition. I enjoyed watching him do it and praised him a lot for that. Such eagerness and willingness should never be
ignored in a young horse's education.
I am looking forward to working with Santo every time. I enjoy so much watching him grow, learn and develop. This is exciting journey, I cherish every moment of it.