The methods of Natural Horsemanship make the progression from Groundwork to First Rides a remarkable experience. Dudley & "Angel", a 2 year old palomino filly.
Laying the foundation with Groundwork
Using a surcingle as an introduction to the cinch.
Then.... the saddle.
First Rider- Angel is now 2, and the work in the saddle has begun. After practicing mounting and dismounting several times, MJ is now in the saddle with Dudley nearby in case Angel jumps away or becomes frightened. In that case he would pull MJ off to safety. We will just take a few steps to help Angel become comfortable with balancing a rider on her back. During the first rides Angel is taking her cues from Dudley, and with each future ride she will gradually learn to respond to rein, leg and voice cues from her rider. We use a rope hackamore so as not to pull on her mouth inadvertently, graduating to a snaffle bit in the later sessions.
First Solo Ride We take it slowly, introducing each new phase once she is comfortable with the previous steps.
Walk & Trot We graduate to the big arena once she is comfortable in the round pen, using an experienced horse partner for comfort. This was Angel's 8th ride, but her first time in the big arena.