I loved taking our horses for water rides in the summer! There’s no better way to stay cool and still be outside with your horse than riding through the spray of an irrigation system or into a pond or creek for a swim. Summer days with no cattle work to do often turned out that way.
A lot of horses have trouble standing still for a rider to get into the saddle. For most of them, the real problem is that they have never been taught to stand. Some horses never develop the problem, but if your horse is one that just won’t wait for you to mount up, here are some things you can do to remedy this bad habit.
Growing up with Chigger and the chance to ride and work at such a young age is something I wouldn’t trade for anything. Those days were hot, cold, frustrating, tiring, and painful. But I knew better than to ever complain, because then I’d have to stay home with Mom.
My good mare Daisy got a wire cut last week. Not the worst I’ve ever seen, but definitely not something to be taken lightly. We set up a pen for her to keep her out of the mud and cleaned her up the best we could.
I knew I wanted a good riding horse. So I picked the first foal by our Two Eyed Jack grandson stallion and the last foal out of our Three Bars bred Quarter Horse mare, Tasha Jo. This colt was a graying bay roan named Rudy, and I chose him because he acted nice and was built nice.
Last Saturday I got the chance to ride my mare Daisy to help move our cows from one pasture to another. It wasn’t a really long drive, but I got butterflies in my stomach all over again at the thought of taking Daisy on a cattle drive. It was only her second time working cattle, and I wasn’t sure how she would do.
The previous groundwork exercises will give your horse a good understanding of how he should behave under saddle, and the ground driving will establish a habit of giving to rein pressure and being controlled by the rider. So all that’s left is to climb on the horse, but there are still a few precautions to take and things to work through to make sure the horse is ready to accept a person in the saddle.
Ground driving is an important step in preparing a young horse for being ridden, as it asks him to focus on the rider’s commands, yield to direct rein pressure, and covers the beginning basics of reining so that the first actual ride can be a much safer one.
I have climbed on colts bareback with no headgear for their “first ride”. But I think I was lucky to not get into trouble with that. I have also ridden colts in a round pen with no headgear, while another trainer worked the colt from horseback, directing and turning the colt in the round pen. But if it’s just you working with the colt, my suggestion is to introduce the bit and work on him bending his head a little before you ride.
Putting the first ride on a colt is an amazing thing to experience. Much forethought and preparation will make it more successful, because there is a bit more to training horses than climbing into the saddle and hanging on. I would like to share some tips for getting that first ride to be a good one. Always keep in mind that every horse is an individual, and will have certain needs and weaknesses that need to be worked on.
Some readers really need a firm grasp of the basics before they are able to work with a horse, so I’d like to explain how to go about putting the bridle on a horse. This is how a normal scenario of how bridling a horse should happen, but I would always remind you that every horse is different, each will react in its own way.
I think it’s something you’re born with….the horse thing is something that’s so strong you can’t ignore it. Horses give you a reason to wake up in the morning, a reason to get outside and breathe in nature, and a power to look past the small stuff and realize all you’ve accomplished that you can be proud of.
Last Saturday just after lunch, Cowboy Dad came driving up to the house and said, “Come on, hurry! We’ve got trouble. The cows are out and the bull and one calf are in with the neighbor’s cattle.” So I hurried to get my boots on and he loaded up my saddle.
Part of working with horses on a daily basis is understanding that you cannot always control circumstances that involve a near-ton of weight on four fast-moving legs powered freely at the will of a flight-instinct animal.
In my years of growing up with horses, there was one horse who was there through thick and thin, solid and dependable, and forever golden in my memory….it was Kokomo. He was one of those ranch horses who require no pedigree to achieve greatness.
If you have ever worked with a colt on lunging, it can be one of the hardest concepts to teach, especially if the colt is a gentle, in-your-pocket type of horse. If the horse is really “hooked” on you, it’s going to feel really contradictory to your gentling process to have to make him go away from you. What you do need to establish is a cue, and follow it up with bodily actions that are “sending” actions that tell your horse it’s time to lunge.
Yesterday was one of those beautiful balmy summertime days with a good breeze and lower humidity than usual. In other words, it was the perfect day for horseback riding. As soon as Cowboy Dad got home from work, he and the kids and I got the horses saddled and went for a little joy ride.