Getting On a Young Green Horse For The First Time
So that’s a full on thing to ask of a young horse. So when people say to me, “Oh, I get so nervous riding a young horse.” I go, “How do you think the horse feels? How do you think they’re coping with it all?” And it’s our job to tell them that everything is going to be okay. It’s not their job to tell us that we’re going to be okay.
They don’t have to let us on their back. They don’t have to let us do anything. And the fact that they do and the fact that they’re so beautiful about it just inspires me and makes me love these animals. That’s why I love working with them. So to answer that question, “How do you handle a young nervous horse?”
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Natasha: This horse is a three year old, and you can see he’s a pretty cool customer. But you can still see his eye. He’s like, “I’m in a big arena all by myself and you make me go around in circles. And I’ve never done that. And you put things in my mouth and you put things on my back. And when you think about it, how terrifying. I was that to say how effing terrifying. How terrifying for this animal that it’s natural instinct when it’s in danger is that it’s a flight animal. It’s meant to run. And we make it that they can’t run. We put things in their mouth and we say, “Don’t run away from pressure. Don’t run away when you’re scared.”
Natasha: So that’s a full on thing to ask of a young horse. So when people say to me, “Oh, I get so nervous riding a young horse.” I go, “How do you think the horse feels? How do you think they’re coping with it all?” And it’s our job to tell them that everything is going to be okay. It’s not their job to tell us that we’re going to be okay.
Natasha: Julie puts her foot in this stirrup up with full … knowing anything could happen. And that’s okay, because we don’t know how he’s going to react to having a rider on its back. And we’ve broken in maybe 50 horses. And it still almost makes me cry when you see this gorgeous horse trusting a human and saying, “Yeah, okay. You can get on my back.”
Natasha: They don’t have to let us on their back. They don’t have to let us do anything. And the fact that they do and the fact that they’re so beautiful about it just inspires me and makes me love these animals. That’s why I love working with them. So to answer that question, “How do you handle a young nervous horse?” You be their leader. You be their confidence. You be their reassuring hand. I love riding young horses. I get a soft voice because all I’m doing is, “Good boy. It’s all right. Oh! We leapt in the air. That’s okay. Oh. We’re going to back. That’s okay.” Because it is okay. And me being okay with what they do gives them the confidence to maybe start trusting me and maybe start listening to me. Cool. Is that how you feel?
Natasha: Julie’s like, “Yeah. That’s it.” All right, so we’ll start on the near side. I’ll just bring him over here. Cool. And I’ll get you to come around on the other side, Julie. And just start, is he okay with the banging, the noises that you’re going to make when your leg goes around? We might check the girth. That looks a little loose.
Natasha: Good boy. Good boy. Cool.
Julie: All right.
Natasha: And then the next step is we just put the foot in the stirrup. And if he moves, I just want you to hop with him. And if you have to put your foot down, do, but stay close to him. We don’t want him to think, “If I move, the human gets further away from me.” I always stay with them. But yeah, you’re not going to go all the way up. You’re just going to … and start hopping around and doing things and just putting a bit of weight there so he can feel that.
Natasha: And you can say him going, “Oh, I don’t know about that. But okay.”
Julie: Good boy.
Natasha: Okay. And then the next step is you’re just going to go and obviously lean across. And if he goes bananas, you’re just going to … yeah. Once you’ve leaned across, you can take your foot out of the stirrup. And you’re just going to land back down. Oh good boy.
Julie: Good boy.
Natasha: Good boy. What’s she doing up there?
Julie: Good boy.
Natasha: What’s she doing up there? What’s she doing? What’s she doing? Do you want to have a look? Do you want to have a look? How do you want to handle it? Yeah. I don’t know. What’s she doing? What’s she doing?
Natasha: Good. And back down. Yeah. And I bang down. I land down. I want to make as much banging as possible. So they just go, “Oh, that stupid human makes a lot of noise. But nothing ever bad happens to me.” So we’re going to do that again. And then when you’re over there, are you like touching? I want you to touch all where your leg’s going to go, even up to his ramp. Because if you get on a bit retarded, you might sometimes hit your leg on their ass as you come through. And you just want them to be okay with all of that. Just be the most uncool getting on person. I can have the stirrup on the other side. Okay. Good boy. Good boy.
Julie: Good boy.
Natasha: Good boy. Yeah. Very good. What’s she doing? What’s she doing up there? I don’t know. I don’t know. Beautiful. All right. And thump down. Good boy. Good boy. So he was like, “What’s that?” And it’s like, “That’s just Julie. That’s just Julie. She makes noise.” All right. You ready to swing your leg over?
Julie: Yep. That’s right. Do you mind holding the stirrup?
Natasha: I just, Oh, hang on. I’ll put him on this side. So I’m going to turn him into me on this side if I have to. Just because I’m on this side. Okay. Good boy. Good boy.
Julie: Good boy, Rob.
Natasha: What’s she doing up there? What’s she doing up there? And what I love about this horse is he looks to you. You can see him constantly going, “Is everything okay? Yep. Mom says everything’s okay.” And Julie’s done a great job on the ground. He’s only been lunged two or three weeks?
Natasha: Of telling him, “Whoever’s on the ground, whoever’s around him, we’ve got you.” And you can see he’s not loving this. He’s not thinking this is the best thing in the world. But he’s accepting it, which I think is just so nice. Put you back over here. So nice. Okay. I got licorice. I don’t think you can eat it with that big bit in your mouth, but you can try.
Natasha: What’s that? Good boy. And can you just talk so …
Julie: Yeah. Whoa. There we go.
Natasha: So Julie’s making noise, she’s touching him up there and he’s okay with that. He’s not, “What’s that? What’s going on?” So all in all, really, really cool. So you can hop off and that’s all we’re going to do today. We’ll do that for maybe another day. And then we’re going to start moving. Because sometimes they can be okay with getting on and off, but when they first feel your bum hit them, like rising trot, when you first do that first step, they go, “Whoa! What was that?” Or in the canter, when your bum kind of hits, they can sometimes have a little bit of a thing. But I think he’s going to be great. Well done. Thank you, Julie.
Julie: Thank you.