We are now up to our fourth ride, here is a recap on our rides so far…

Ride Number 2

Having had time to think about the first ride, Oakley walked forward without hesitation as I gently squeezed my lower calf on his tummy while also asking to walk on with my voice.

For our second ride I decided to move into the arena rather than staying in the round yard.

We walked on the buckle (long reins) around the arena as we would if I was leading Oakley on the ground. I asked for a number of one rein stops as we did on our first ride. As Oakley was walking he was doing his best to find his balance, though felt really wobbly as all horses do when learning to move with a rider on them!

To negotiate a straight(ish) pathway I used one rein at a time to direct Oakley’s head to the direction I wanted to go, doing this without pressure on the opposite rein. I needed to calmly ask Oakley to continue walking on as I re-directed his head.

We continued our ride for about 10 minutes. I dismounted in the same way that I mounted, with Oakley’s head held around to my hip (click here for photo’s).

Ride Number 3

Oakley was relaxed and calm as always, standing still while I mounted and found my seat. For our second ride we again rode in the arena area.

We walked over a few trot poles and walked around the jumps in the arena as abstacles. Being as wobbly as ever I continued to redirect his head to the direction I wanted to go.

Then, having a nice long line to follow we tried our first TROT!

This lasted about 10meters… with Oakley feeling like a complete drunk. I asked for walk by sitting in the saddle and saying ‘whoa’.

We repeated out attempt at trot, then walked a little more and called it a day.

Ride Number 4

I don’t know of any other horse that has been so relaxed on their fourth ride that their ‘man hood’ dangles as they walk along!!!!

It gives you an indication of how chilled out Oakley is!

We repeated our mounting and walking again. I tested the front breaks for the first time today, and due to a great mouth on Oakley (Thanks to Mr HP’s mouthing DVD!!) he pulled up quickly and easily.

The trot was also practiced again. Again, with a night to sleep on it, Oakley was much more balanced and comfortable trotting with me as his rider. We trotted for 60 meters and repeated our trot another three times.

I then asked Oakley for a backup. We have also practiced this on the ground, so it is nothing new for Oakley. After a few seconds with Oakley contemplating what I was asking for he started to move one front foot backwards. In the same instant I rewarded him and ceased asking for the backup.

I walked on for a while before again asking for halt and backup.

We then called it a day. Oakley is a champion to me!!

RECAP:

1st Ride :       

  • Gentle, relaxed atmosphere
  • Mount (with the horses head held at your hip)
  • Walk and one rein stop

2nd Ride:

  • Repeat 1st ride
  • Take control of the direction you are going by using independent reins.
  • Have NO pressure on reins you are not using (opposite rein or both reins)

3rd Ride

  • Repeat 2nd ride
  • Attempt a short trot, repeat if successful
  • Walk to finish the ride.

4th Ride

  • Repeat 3rd Ride
  • Attempt backing up your horse ONLY if you give the millisecond the horse gives.
  • Praise, reward and congratulate the horse!!!

5th Ride

  • COMING UP! Some more obstacles for Oakley…  if all goes well we’ll be negotiating a dam bank and practicing more trot and backup.