Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How they do it in the Netherlands...

When I think of how we backed Riley for the first time, and compare it to this -- well it's a totally different approach! While I think Riley had the perfect introduction to the riding life, I'm impressed with this clip...

Why I'm impressed? Because of...

The Rider. She is tight as a tick, sitting lightly, and look how motionless her legs are. I would ride this way if my lungeing partner was flicking a whip behind a just-backed horse. I would also be whispering expletives at him as my heart pounded in my chest with fear. It would never have occurred to me that the first time a horse is ridden, one would use the...

Look at this mare's ears. She looks as if she is contemplating whether to cooperate or not. Let's see, there's something moderately heavy sitting on me, I've got a metal bar tugging at my lips, and there's a long lash tickling  my hocks. Should I go forward or leap about wildly???. If she chooses the latter, it may be because she feels a little too confined by the...

Reins. Is it me or are they a tad snug for a first-timer? Maybe it's this mare's way of going naturally, but she appears to be driven forward into a frame. Unusual, as are her incredible...

Active, bending hocks. Love it! This is a nice, nice, talented mare. She doesn't seem to be struggling all that much with the work load, even in this...

Teensy 15 meter Circle.  If I were the owner I'd be at the arena's edge, mimicking the scream from Edvard Munch's famous painting.  Small circles =  Tork. Strain. Early arthritis. And she is so game, trying to comply with so much thrown at her.

If this girl does not buck now, she never will.

What do you think they'll do for an encore?
On her second ride, will they...

  1. Bring her out second level at a local show.
  2. Set off some firecrackers.
  3. Introduce some large predators in the ring.
  4. All of the above!
I really am kidding. Kudos to horse and rider. Still not sure about the guy with the lunge whip.


    1. Thanks for this stacey. To be honest (hate to admit it) I never thought of lunging for the first ride. I have been preparing my baby for the big day now for about a year. He carries a bit and a saddle will W-T-C quietly on the lunge and I have sat on him about a 1/2 dozen times. This would be a great intro for him. He has had rein pressure and moves on the bit nicely (for a 3 year old!). I think its brilliant and if the horse has been lunged a bazillion times with the whip and bridle, I don't think its as preciarious of a situation as at first it may appear.

      Thanks for sharing.

    2. that mare already has her crest muscles, i bet they did a lot of lunging with her "in a frame" this might have just been the first time with a rider
      doesn't look bad at all, in fact it looks like they are doing a very good job

    3. Hmmm nice horse, but I always follow the "just can they can, doesn't mean I should." I.E. I know my horse can piaffe, I've seen him do it quite well. Am I gonna ask him to do it? No way! He's way too young. I've re-trained and have seen several horses started quickly because the horse never argued. They usually blow up later in life. Slow is always the way to go even if the horse is always cooperative. JMHO. :-)

    4. This is similar to how I backed a certain mare. Reins slightly short should the horse bolt. We rode in a bit bigger of a cirlce with a lunge line and I was told to keep her moving. Keeping the horse moving kept her from stopping and thinking too much. I was told that leads to trouble too :).

    5. How do we know it really is the first time? I'll assume it is and it shows that plenty of ground work was done so the horse is calm and unafraid, including recognizing the whip from prior groundwork. Both horse and rider are calm and prepared with the basics. Of course if this was done in the bright outdoors, she might have behaved differently. Horses are often more subdued indoors. Who really knows from a short video clip?

    6. Rileigh's(my coming 4-y/o) first ride was on the lunge line. He didn't understand that the concept of leg pressure meant forward at first, so I thought the easiest way to teach him was to coordinate leg pressure(a new cue) w/ the lunge whip(a cue he already was familiar w/). He had it figured 100% out within 5 minutes.
      However, I had him on a very loose rein, and on a large, following circle.
      This doesn't seem at all a strange or chancy way to back a horse to me.

      I agree that this mare seems quite nice. She's a beautiful horse.

    7. My horse's first ride U/S involved a lunge line, but I don't know that I'd ask *this much* of a typical horse.

    8. I'm with you on the size of the circle, but I think lunging a horse that is used to lunging and the whip and so on for the first ride makes good sense. You notice that although the rider had a short rein, her hands were absolutely still. I suspect this horse has had a lot of side rein work and they were trying to keep that rein balance consistent.

    9. I agree in believing there was a lot of side rein work. How to make sure your horse always travels in a frame and can get to Grand Prix by age 8 or 9 without necessarily really engaging the hind end well.

      I like the hock action... except in that frame, that much action should mean the hooves land much more under the horse. (And should take quite a bit of riding to get to that point anyway.) The event itself doesn't seem a big deal to me - but the likelihood that frame and back end which seems detached from front end come from overuse of side reins does bother me.

    10. My first actual ride on Riddler was on a lunge line. Before that he bolted and we had a terrible mishap when he fell on me so, no way was I going to try riding him without a safety line.
      Kbarrett is right, sooner or later a young horse blows up so even though everything looks good now, a few rides on they start to try little things and act up. If your foundation work is good, it won't matter much, and they'll stay on track.

      They do look great though!

    11. I agree about the small circle. The mare is really moving forward - and on such a tight circle - given physics - I worry about the strain on her young legs. I'm assuming she is young anyway. She does look very muscled like you guys noted. Probably a lot of side rein work... unless she is a late break...

    12. Oh, BTW the mare won some big championship for dutch mares in the Netherlands. She isn't just nice, she is uber uber nice!

      I have no problem with lungeing a youngster to keep control (we did that with Riley). But we were much more meandering and much less directive, and the circle was much bigger. The lunger used her body to direct him forward, not the whip so much.

    13. Did you know that the Appaloosa's have a long line class? It is a very good segway from halter to riding classes. My mom did quite well with her youngster even tho he is sometimes willful about loping
      (cantering). I think Americans get confused about how good a tool the lunge can be for every horse and rider no matter what age. I was only lunged at my last student job for awhile before they were sure of my riding. Good of you to show and discuss these different methods of training. I like your blog alot!

    14. Totally off topic for this post but....The Cheltenham Gold Cup will shown live be on HRTV Friday March 19 at 11:00 AM Eastern Time.

    15. Lovely mare.
      I am happy to see that she has been taught that the whip is not a weapon. I think that I might like to see the rider in a less forward position so the young horse could keep her balance. I do not like side reins because the fixed reins teach the horse that the reins are a wall to lean on rather than having a responsive human at the end of them.

      A small circle is only detrimental if the horse is traveling out of balance. Sometimes it is only a smaller circle that helps a horse to slow down and find her balance, whereas a larger circle may encourage rushing on the forehand.

      So I mostly like this example of starting a young horse. Thank you for sharing!

    16. Hello, what happened to your "Friesian/Mule" post. That was interesting!

    17. That one was published prematurely actually I didn't know it had been published!!! Look for it on 3/22, sorry!


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