We start riding our young horse when they are six years old. We start to put a saddle on and hop on them for few seconds when they ask for it, which usually happens around 3-4 years of age. Our young horses observe older horses and are curious and positive about experiencing riding themselves.
We open many possibilities, and we allow our young horses to choose.
We bring saddle to the round pen and allow our horse to show us if he wants to play with it or not. We encourage our horses to be open and communicate by expressing love and showing our horses that they are free to speak. We bring the mounting block and play with it even with very young horses.
Invitation to riding
Riding comes as a gift from our horse. It comes in the form of invitation. We never try to mount or sit on a horse without clear invitation. We ask again: do you really want to ride? When the answer is “yes” we start gently mounting and sitting on him.
We never have “need” to ride a young horse. We do not create or believe in any theories that you “should” ride your young horse before he is this or that age.
We also do not believe or create any theories that riding is not good or not natural for our horses. We have seen many times that horses LOVE to ride with us, and they INSIST on doing this.
Who will be riding
When we are Calm, connected and freely exploring all the possibilities of life, then our horses want to ride with us. We do not put pressure on it because pressure disconnects and then horses are not willing to ride.
They invite for riding calm, open and PRESENT person.
How to sit
We ride young horses very short. We even do not think about it as riding. We think about it as expanding our connection to the sitting in the saddle position.
We start from having a beautiful connection from the ground, and when it is possible, we want to have EVEN BIGGER connection when we sit.
We do not sit on a horse with the intention to “consume” connection we had from the ground. We always keep intention to have more and more connection and Calmness. Your horse will support such intention, and you will invite you to experience it.
In the beginning, we just sit and jump off. We try to mix it with fun exercises from the ground, bu our horses are very much into riding, and when we sit on them they want to do only this :)
It is very important to allow your horse to keep balance all the time. Try not to use any “techniques” that are based on pushing your horse out of balance. Do not push your horse out of mental or physical balance.
We allow our young and older horses to move all the time in balance.
We only smile to the possibility of taking the first step and keep the intention to have EVEN MORE Calmness and connection in this step.
We do not “consume” Calmness we had in the stand to make the first step. We want to EXPAND and GROW Calmness from stand to walk. Your horse will support this intention.
When we want to walk, we relax. When we want to stop, we relax. We keep the intention for more Calmness and more relaxation all the time. We do not stop by pulling or forcing our horse to stop. We do not push our horses out of balance to stop. We relax, keep the intention to stop, we want this stop to bring even more Calmness, and we allow our horse to stop in balance and Calmness.
Our horses are very open and curious, and they want to trot with us very soon. When we see that the horse is strong enough to balance himself with a rider in trot, we gently open the possibility of trot. We trot from the saddle the same way we trot from the ground, by gently smiling to the possibility of trot. We do not kick, click with a tongue, or “encourage” the horse to do this. We simply ALLOW it to happen.
Our horses are offering us the first steps of canter when they are ready, not when we are ready but when they are ready. We trust that horses love to move and love to experience relaxed movement that is free from tensions, we also trust that our horses are open and willing to offer us all dressage movements when their balance and body awareness under the saddle expands.
The first canter departures, when they happen this way, are the most beautiful experience ever.
Before we even sit on our horse the first time we have already at least one year of doing things together from the ground. We have very good connection build by our techniques, especially by doing Touch To Calm.
When you do Touch To Calm, you can see that touch can bring even more Calmness to you and your horse. When you can do this in the walk, trot, and canter, then riding is just extending this technique to the situation when you sit on your horse.
We also do our program for Finding and Extending Natural Balance of the Horse that we described in our book and videos set. Thanks to these exercises our horse know how to move in collection BEFORE we ride them. It is very important that your horse knows how to carry his back and potentially you on his back BEFORE you will sit on him.
If you enjoyed watching selection of my videos showing my being and riding with my young horses, have a look into my JoinAnna: OneHorseLife Online Videos Program.
JoinAnna was created especially to support you on your path with your young, advanced and maturing horses, showing you my Real-Life trainings with my horses, aged 0-10yo and sessions from my Clinics and private trainings with my students where I guide them step-by-step to experience the change that will be instantly reflected by their horses. To reach partnership that is equally fulfilling and developing for the horse and for the rider.
Thank you for showing us what is possible. So, so beautiful. I hope to meet you soon. Meanwhile I will joinanna :)
OH WOW! Welcome to JoinAnna, Christina! :-)
Wow! I just learned so much from the first video and the ones after that. Thank you for these kind lessons.
Thank you do much for this article, this is absolutely awesome!!!
And horses looking so lovely and relaxed… beautiful!