Some people think a 10 year old horse would be a safe horse to buy just because it is 10 years old. But the horse may not have had any training to be ridden. The new owner gets bucked off first ride and thinks the horse is bad. But the horse just hasn't been trained. Horses require a lot of training before they can be ridden.

Training involves ground work which is handling of the horse from the ground before it is mounted or sat upon by a person.

Ground work includes teaching a horse to:
bulletlead safely while you walk by its side
bulletaccept being touched all over its body
bulletaccept grooming
bulletallow a person to pick up its feet for cleaning and trimming hooves
bulletmove away from pressure in preparation for riding cues
bulletaccept things on its back
bulletaccept a bit in its mouth
bulletaccept the human body rubbing on its body

When the horse is thoroughly accepting of the ground work, then the mounted training begins. A quick description of the mounted work follows.

Repeatedly a rope is passed around the horse's girth area and held briefly in place then released. When the horse accepts the rope, a surcingle is buckled around the girth area. When the horse accepts the surcingle, the saddle pad is rubbed over the horse and placed loose on the back. If it falls that is okay. The horse gets used to things falling off of it. Then the pad is held on by the surcingle. The horse trots around until comfortable. Finally the saddle is set on the back briefly and immediately removed. That tells the horse he doesn't have to buck it off, it will come off. If the saddle falls off, that is okay. It gets the horse use to things falling off. When the horse is okay with the saddle loose on his back, the girth is held briefly in place. Then let go until the horse accepts the girth pressure. Finally the girth is strapped on snugly. No horses have bucked with this method of gradual introduction of the saddle and girth.

When the horse is completely accepting of the saddle, start putting things on the saddle. A large doll can be sat on the saddle. If if falls that just gets the horse used to things falling off its back. The trainer can hold the stirrup down with his hand to get the horse used to weight in the stirrup. Flop the stirrup leathers, wiggle the saddle. Put your foot briefly in the stirrup. Lean over the saddle with your belly and slide down on both sides of horse. Pull the horse's head toward you with one rein from both sides of horse. When the horse is completely calm and accepting of everything you do, then ease onto the saddle and slip right off. That tells the horse he doesn't have to buck to get you off. Eventually spend more time in the saddle before slipping off. Finally have someone walk next to the horse encouraging him to go forward. The assistant can move away from the horse as the horse gets the idea that he is expected to go forward with the rider on its back.

Training 1

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