Author: Charles Wilhelm

It’s a Cinch

When the big day comes to saddle up for the first time, it is usually not a really big deal when you have put the time in on ground work and you have a solid foundation. When you have worked with your horse to desensitize her to the saddle blanket, the next step is to get her accustomed to the cinch. A horse’s belly is a very sensitive area.

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First Rides

We have been talking about working with a young horse, foundation training, groundwork, saddling and getting your horse used to the basic equipment (bridle, bit, blanket, saddle). Now it is time to take that first ride. The purpose of the first two or three rides is to get your horse comfortable with you or her back. You must focus on translating the ground exercises you have already taught her into under-saddle cues.

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Working With a Young Horse

The best place to work with a young horse is in a round pen. Begin by letting the horse be at liberty to move freely but with the object of getting the horse to go forward. This may be too much for some young horses. When I worked with my three-year old filly she felt enough pressure that she wanted to go through the round pen rails instead of around inside them.

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What is Foundation?

I’ve done a couple of articles on this topic but I always think this subject is worth revisiting. So what is foundation? It is the basic training that makes up the building blocks of performance. It is the point where you start with a horse and revisit to reinforce behaviors or correct them when the horse goes off track. Or, in other words, it is the skill set that makes up the foundation of all training.

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Crossing an Obstacle

Many of us ride trails that cross creeks that may be dry in summer and fill with winter rains. Also, you never know when you will encounter a dead fall that blocks a trail. If your horse balks at a creek or any other obstacle, you need to get him comfortable with crossing.

To teach a horse to go over obstacles the horse must already understand certain things and we must have control of the horse. You must be able to control your horse’s nose, shoulders and hind quarters. The horse must know how to lunge on a 12 or 14-foot line and give to pressure. You need to have established a strong go-forward cue with your horse and be able to stop his feet and change direction.

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