Monday, May 21, 2012

Answers To Some First Ride Questions

Thank you everyone for the great comments on yesterday's first ride post.  I'm still grinning ear to ear from the ride.  It's taking everything I have not to go for another ride (probably not a good idea with a painfully twisted ankle which I did yesterday and then had to work nine hours standing up on it).  Anyway, I just wanted to answer some really good questions that I got on that post from the gang over at the Poupounette ( 

Unusual dismounting technique after that first ride!?  Yeah the dismount was for fun and also to show some people I know in real life who thought Chrome would buck me off during our first ride that he's such a laid back horse I can do anything with him.  I've had him since he was five months old and he's used to my crazy antics lol.  :)

Also seeing you get on from both sides.  Yep I always get on my horses from both sides.  After an incident where a horse (not mine) threw me because I lifted my right hand I always work with them from both sides.  It's good for them to learn everything from both sides so nothing ever catches them by surprise lol.

Why did you ride bareback rather than on a saddle? I rode bareback for two reasons.  Number one I don't have a saddle that fits him right now and number two it's less distracting for the horse.  I wanted him focusing on me and not on a saddle.  I really wasn't expecting him to feel so narrow and for my balance to be so off (from not riding bareback in a long time) so I probably should have used a saddle, but it didn't hurt anything and it just gets him used to even more craziness.  I like my horses exposed to a lot of weird, different and unusual circumstances and stimuli so that they are far less likely to be spooked by something in the future.

Are you planning to always use a bitless bridle?  Yes I am planning to always use a bitless bridle unless something comes up that makes that impossible.  I also used a bitless bridle (or his halter) for his first ride for the same reason I didn't use a saddle.  Less distraction.  And it's a good thing because I caught him in the face with the reins a couple of time and that would have hurt with a bit in his mouth.  He also had his teeth done fairly recently so I'm doing everything I can to protect his mouth.  If I ever put him into dressage training with my old trainer I will probably teach him to wear a simple snaffle bit because that's what she rides in.

Are you planning to ride Faran too eventually? We hope to maybe someday ride Faran, but right now that's just not in the cards.  Due to the way he was raised (not handled much I guess and definitely not desensitized to everything like Chrome was) and the abuse he suffered from previous trainers, he is just way too unpredictable.  If you walk up to his left side and hop up and down he bolts away from you.  Everything scares him.  I worked with him with the mounting block the other day and we made progress, but he was on the point of exploding for most of it.  I'll do a video soon to show you what I mean.  We're going to keep working with him and when/if we ever get to the point where we trust each other we might ride him.  For now we're just loving him and giving him the life he never had and teaching him to trust.  Thanks for the questions!! 

If anyone else has any questions feel free to ask.  I will happily answer them all.  :D


  1. Just went back and watched your first video. Now that's the way a first ride should be. Relaxed, happy horse that's not worried!

    I also started both my horses bitless (Gwen will probably stay that way forever) and I also got on Gwen bareback the very first time. I decided I would rather not have something to get caught on if she was going to get upset.

  2. smazourek, my thoughts exactly on starting them bareback! Nothing to get hung on. In fact that's exactly what my farrier said when I told her I wasn't using a saddle lol. There are some people that I'm dying to show that video to because they were all saying I was going to get myself killed and I should send him to a trainer . . . yeah right! Maybe later when he needs some dressage training that I don't have the know how for, but I can easily start him and teach him the basics because he's the most amazing horse on the planet (a little biased) lol!

  3. Thanks for all the great answers! This is really fun! Especially as I look forward to my first rides on both Vidock and Violette fairly soon! I am looking forward to discussing all these points with the people who are schooling them both.

    In France, most breeders of Percherons don't have the sense to even manipulate their horses whilst young, and sometimes just leave them in the field with no human contact until they're three or four. They're even worse when it comes to stallions who are simply categorized as monsters, never get handled, and then are called crazy. The people I work with are among the rare exceptions.

  4. I like the idea of bitless in the beginning, too. Mostly because it's a type of control that they are well accustomed to already. And for the record, I got on my guy bareback the first time, too! :)

  5. I am hoping you can continue with the bitless bridle. Although I'm not concerned if you do have to go with a bit. I know that in the right hands (like yours) it is a training tool.

    I love that he trusts you so much. Good info on getting up on the right side. I always mounted from the left (which is tradition) but you are spot on that you don't want an animal to spook when something happens on the right.

    Mango Momma

  6. I just got all caught up. Congrats on your first (and second) ride! Glad it went well. 100% agreed on the importance of mounting from both sides.


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