If your horse has had the winter off and you’re ready to get back in the saddle, keep these success tips in mind so that it is a safe and enjoyable experience.
- The first two sessions you spend with your horse after time off should consist of strictly groundwork. Groundwork is the safest way to get your horse to use the thinking side of his brain and focus his attention on you. Move his feet forwards, backwards, left and right and reward the slightest try.
- When you go to saddle your horse for the first time, don’t saddle him in the middle of the barn aisle or tie him to a post. Go where you have room to move in case he overreacts when he first feels the saddle on his back or the cinch tighten around his barrel.
- Keep in mind that weather plays a huge role in your horse’s behavior. Changes in weather, which happen often during spring, can make your horse hypersensitive and therefore more reactive. Make sure you’re more thorough with your groundwork on cold, rainy, windy days.
- The more times you pick yourself up off the ground, the better your groundwork gets. Rather than finding yourself dusting dirt off your jeans and wishing you had done a better job of preparing your horse for the ride, you’re better off being overly cautious and making sure you stay safe.
Courtesy of Downunder Horsemanship