As many of you including myself are starting out with newly backed/ purchased young horses, I am going to share some tips to keeping them happy, healthy and sane as the winter progresses.
Firstly, I lunge any new or freshly backed young horses before I ride, this gets rid of any unwanted energy and sets them up ready to ride. I keep my schooling sessions short and sweet and always let the horses have stretches in between exercises. My main objective is to work on getting the horse forward and relaxed in a rhythmic way of going.
The session will start with some gentle trotting incorporating lots of circles, changes of rein and serpentines as I find this keeps the young horse interested and helps loosen both sides. Once I am happy with that I work on transitions – walk to trot, trot to canter, canter to trot and trot to walk getting the horse to be responsive, (when riding the transitions always keep a tall, balanced seat and ride forwards into and out of the transitions with your leg) repeat several transitions and reward when good so your horse clearly understands what you are asking…always ask the same way and be patient as the horse must be given time to learn. Keep sessions to 20/30 mins max and finish with a happy horse!
I also incorporate pole work into these sessions and I do lots of hacking in between. Remember to keep your horses well rugged, warm, feed good quality hay/haylage, hard feed and remember those electrolytes are required in winter just as much as in summer!
My next instalment will include the pole work and 1st jumps