Backing 3/4yr olds

TheMule

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So another mile stone ✅ off!

Saturday and Sunday I hacked Jamie with My father for the first time, without my trainer accompanying us. Also, Sunday was the first time I mounted him unaided. Sounds so silly writing it down but for me, it was a very big deal!

He was foot perfect, striding out confidently and even if there was something spooky, no antics just cocked an ear looked at it then strode on by.

What made it extra special however, is that my fathers horse is 27 this year, we have owned him for 20 of those years and he has always nannied us on our ponies and new horses.

So, it was lovely to have the old boy out again doing what he does best!

Also, after 20 years I am now looking down at my father which was rather peculiar!

Not a great photo and video but something!

https://youtube.com/shorts/6BV5UnVITrQ?feature=share

View attachment 73719
Well done! It doesn’t sound silly at all, these things are a big deal and it sounds like he handled it great ⭐️
 

TheMule

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Sorry - yet more Isaac spam! His first XC schooling experience went really well. Keeping it all as quiet and calm as I can at the moment. Lots of trot and pop over tiny obstacles. He loved the water and was bold up and down a step. Jumped off him and lunged over a ditch, then hopped back on and popped it both ways. Ended with far more confidence than he started with. Will probably try and do another XC trip next weekend to consolidate before he has a 2 day camp at Vale View... then a well earned easy few weeks when the older horse is back out eventing again.

You know I think you're doing a fab job with him and he looks really exciting for the future. What a good boy!
 

TheMule

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Nova did his 2nd session of jumping on Saturday, kept the build up the same but went up a little higher and added in a couple of fillers. He was just super- a bit hesitant at the fillers first time but grew in confidence quickly.
He has a couple of little polework outings and we will probably jump once or twice more then leave it for a bit and just enjoy some hacking- it's all in there for when I need it in the future, he's a natural over a fence so he just needs to see more of life.

58F92BD9-77C0-40C3-B72B-D79295692937.jpeg
6525A768-693E-47C5-9BF9-04BD0FC08C9D.jpeg
FFE15E04-CF7C-4111-BEC7-E9A4833C5364.jpeg
 

RachelFerd

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Nova did his 2nd session of jumping on Saturday, kept the build up the same but went up a little higher and added in a couple of fillers. He was just super- a bit hesitant at the fillers first time but grew in confidence quickly.
He has a couple of little polework outings and we will probably jump once or twice more then leave it for a bit and just enjoy some hacking- it's all in there for when I need it in the future, he's a natural over a fence so he just needs to see more of life.
He's so neat, tidy and correct!
 

ahml100

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Sorry - yet more Isaac spam! His first XC schooling experience went really well. Keeping it all as quiet and calm as I can at the moment. Lots of trot and pop over tiny obstacles. He loved the water and was bold up and down a step. Jumped off him and lunged over a ditch, then hopped back on and popped it both ways. Ended with far more confidence than he started with. Will probably try and do another XC trip next weekend to consolidate before he has a 2 day camp at Vale View... then a well earned easy few weeks when the older horse is back out eventing again.

Never apologise for Isaac spam! He looks super, you could tell how much he grew in confidence from the first jump to the last combination. If Jamie goes half as well as that at his xc session I will be very pleased!

@TheMule thank you! It is funny how little things you take for granted with older campaigners mean so much with the babies. Yours is looking as stunning as ever!
 

MarvelVillis

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Thought I'd give a mini update on my gelding. He's been back from my trainer's yard for a few weeks now and we've been hacking out in company about 3 times a week. He's been foot perfect each time. He's getting really good at gates (we've got 2 to open just to get out of the yard!) and he's been showing up the older, naughtier horses we've been hacking out with. My trainer came to visit us yesterday and we went on our first hack without any company, and he was amazing! Long may it continue... How lovely is it to look between their ears after waiting for so long? :)

thumbnail.jpg
 

TheMule

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Thought I'd give a mini update on my gelding. He's been back from my trainer's yard for a few weeks now and we've been hacking out in company about 3 times a week. He's been foot perfect each time. He's getting really good at gates (we've got 2 to open just to get out of the yard!) and he's been showing up the older, naughtier horses we've been hacking out with. My trainer came to visit us yesterday and we went on our first hack without any company, and he was amazing! Long may it continue... How lovely is it to look between their ears after waiting for so long? :)

View attachment 73963
Well done- it really is the best view!
 

daffy44

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Well I've had two days that illustrate the joys of young horses! On thursday, I was out hacking with my 4yr old, and I reflecting on how grown up he is feeling, I get on him from the grown up, fixed mounting block on the yard, we can go wherever we want on a loose rein etc, I was hacking alone round a 50 acre field and he stopped and cow kicked, so I leant over and saw a horse fly stuck to his tummy, so I leant a bit further over and ran my whip along his tummy to dislodge the fly, he stood like a rock while I did this, it worked, I sat back up properly and we continued on our happy way, such a good, grown up boy.

Then yesterday he put his back up when I tacked up, which he has never done, he also had a certain look in his eye... I thought getting on on the yard was possibly daft, so I took him to the school with a lunge line, feeling faintly silly, but at the same time trusting my instinct and not wanting to be decked, and I'm so glad I did! I let the lunge line out and he just exploded, turned himself inside out and did a very creditable rodeo impression, it only lasted a couple of minutes, and then I was able to get on easily and then he worked beautifully. I can only assume it was the change in weather, or maybe he was just having a baby moment, because he is so good I sometimes forget he has only been home from being backed two and a half months, so not totally unreasonable to need a silly five minutes every now and then, and he was very honest about it from the start., 4yr olds!!
 

GG13

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Had such a good session with my 4yo yesterday, we didn’t even do anything particularly ground-breaking but it just left me smiling afterwards.

Started with a hack up the track, going through all the puddles on our way. Then we popped in the school to do a little polework and I also set up a ‘ditch’ with some tarp. I’ve practised in hand but this was her first time going over ridden. Was expecting at least a little look but she literally just stepped over as if she’s been doing it all her life. Can’t wait to take her xc schooling for real soon :)
 

TheMule

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Well I've had two days that illustrate the joys of young horses! On thursday, I was out hacking with my 4yr old, and I reflecting on how grown up he is feeling, I get on him from the grown up, fixed mounting block on the yard, we can go wherever we want on a loose rein etc, I was hacking alone round a 50 acre field and he stopped and cow kicked, so I leant over and saw a horse fly stuck to his tummy, so I leant a bit further over and ran my whip along his tummy to dislodge the fly, he stood like a rock while I did this, it worked, I sat back up properly and we continued on our happy way, such a good, grown up boy.

Then yesterday he put his back up when I tacked up, which he has never done, he also had a certain look in his eye... I thought getting on on the yard was possibly daft, so I took him to the school with a lunge line, feeling faintly silly, but at the same time trusting my instinct and not wanting to be decked, and I'm so glad I did! I let the lunge line out and he just exploded, turned himself inside out and did a very creditable rodeo impression, it only lasted a couple of minutes, and then I was able to get on easily and then he worked beautifully. I can only assume it was the change in weather, or maybe he was just having a baby moment, because he is so good I sometimes forget he has only been home from being backed two and a half months, so not totally unreasonable to need a silly five minutes every now and then, and he was very honest about it from the start., 4yr olds!!
Good job you trusted your instincts- it's little things like this that make young horses unsuitable for the inexperience I think because even the very easiest can have their moments and that could have gone very wrong
 

ahml100

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Happy birthday Nova!!

I had a lovely Sunday morning with my first ride in the school on Jamie. I have only hacked him before.
Lots to work which may or may not include me 1) shortening my reins - who knew they helped with steering 😅 2) keeping my heels down - balance who needs it?! And 3) looking up - apparently helps with direction...! But for my first go in the school Jamie could not have been more amazing. Just need to work on me and he should carry on getting better and better 😇 Also, who knew I would get so excited about trotting some trot poles?!

https://youtube.com/shorts/VVDbB68NXwQ?feature=share

https://youtube.com/shorts/EIEFV6pxI38?feature=share
 

j1ffy

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Happy birthday Nova!!

I had a lovely Sunday morning with my first ride in the school on Jamie. I have only hacked him before.
Lots to work which may or may not include me 1) shortening my reins - who knew they helped with steering 😅 2) keeping my heels down - balance who needs it?! And 3) looking up - apparently helps with direction...! But for my first go in the school Jamie could not have been more amazing. Just need to work on me and he should carry on getting better and better 😇 Also, who knew I would get so excited about trotting some trot poles?!

https://youtube.com/shorts/VVDbB68NXwQ?feature=share

https://youtube.com/shorts/EIEFV6pxI38?feature=share
He looks very calm and rhythmical, well done!
 

j1ffy

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Chilli's had a busy week. My loan horse went to sales livery on Tuesday, so on Wednesday Chilli moved into his stable and 'big boy' routine of coming in during the day instead of being out 24/7. I had my first lesson booked that evening so he also had to stay in while others went back out - he was very slightly agitated when I arrived at 6.30, but didn't seem particularly worried which was a relief.

The lesson was in the top arena, which he'd not been in since last November. Poor boy, I did throw a lot at him on one day! He was very tense to begin with and there was a lot of knee action :p. Had my loan horse been that buzzy it would have ended badly, so I was a little nervous to begin with but soon relaxed as Chilli stayed with me and the worst he did was a half-hearted attempt at napping. He neighed a few times when a horse hacked past and did some very cute little whiny whinnies when he realised he had to keep working - trainer and I were in fits of giggles at him.

He relaxed by the end and felt lovely. We've not schooled at all this year other than checking stop / start / turn in preparation for hacking so I was very pleasantly surprised, particularly by his canter work. Next lesson is 29 June and I'll just school once in between as I am aware that it's easy to overdo it with a horse as balanced and willing as Chilli.

A little video:

We spent the weekend hacking - around the village with a friend on Saturday (during which a random neighbour said he's 'a magnificent animal'!!) then on our own around the farm and top field on Sunday. We did our first canters on grass and he was very keen but very good, with some lovely smooth flying changes when he wanted to go faster and I said no. I suspect they may make an unrequested appearance in lower level dressage tests, he's a little bundle of energy.

One thing I am finding is that I have spent so much time in a dressage saddle in the last couple of years that I am struggling with a GP - I've defaulted to chair seat and have lost the ability to drop weight into my heels! Chilli's not the horse to do position practice on so I'm thinking of going to a local RS for some pole work and jumping lessons. Any thoughts on this? There are some ok bog-standard schools locally or Talland isn't far. I do want to get Chilli jumping eventually and it feels unfair to do that until I've sorted out my own position.
 

RachelFerd

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Well I've had two days that illustrate the joys of young horses! On thursday, I was out hacking with my 4yr old, and I reflecting on how grown up he is feeling, I get on him from the grown up, fixed mounting block on the yard, we can go wherever we want on a loose rein etc, I was hacking alone round a 50 acre field and he stopped and cow kicked, so I leant over and saw a horse fly stuck to his tummy, so I leant a bit further over and ran my whip along his tummy to dislodge the fly, he stood like a rock while I did this, it worked, I sat back up properly and we continued on our happy way, such a good, grown up boy.

Then yesterday he put his back up when I tacked up, which he has never done, he also had a certain look in his eye... I thought getting on on the yard was possibly daft, so I took him to the school with a lunge line, feeling faintly silly, but at the same time trusting my instinct and not wanting to be decked, and I'm so glad I did! I let the lunge line out and he just exploded, turned himself inside out and did a very creditable rodeo impression, it only lasted a couple of minutes, and then I was able to get on easily and then he worked beautifully. I can only assume it was the change in weather, or maybe he was just having a baby moment, because he is so good I sometimes forget he has only been home from being backed two and a half months, so not totally unreasonable to need a silly five minutes every now and then, and he was very honest about it from the start., 4yr olds!!
And this is a perfect demonstration of why babies - no matter how well produced - need experienced people looking after them. Nasty situation totally avoided!

Had a really similar situation with Isaac a few weeks ago - he is generally good as gold to tack up and mount, but I had him in the school and although I had got straight on, he still felt super-tense after a few minutes walk work. I hopped off and lunged for 10 minutes as he tigger-ed his way around the school. Hopped back on after that and he was fine. Haven't had to do it before or since - but I've no doubt there will times I have to do it again in the teenage future!
 

ahml100

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Chilli's had a busy week. My loan horse went to sales livery on Tuesday, so on Wednesday Chilli moved into his stable and 'big boy' routine of coming in during the day instead of being out 24/7. I had my first lesson booked that evening so he also had to stay in while others went back out - he was very slightly agitated when I arrived at 6.30, but didn't seem particularly worried which was a relief.

The lesson was in the top arena, which he'd not been in since last November. Poor boy, I did throw a lot at him on one day! He was very tense to begin with and there was a lot of knee action :p. Had my loan horse been that buzzy it would have ended badly, so I was a little nervous to begin with but soon relaxed as Chilli stayed with me and the worst he did was a half-hearted attempt at napping. He neighed a few times when a horse hacked past and did some very cute little whiny whinnies when he realised he had to keep working - trainer and I were in fits of giggles at him.

He relaxed by the end and felt lovely. We've not schooled at all this year other than checking stop / start / turn in preparation for hacking so I was very pleasantly surprised, particularly by his canter work. Next lesson is 29 June and I'll just school once in between as I am aware that it's easy to overdo it with a horse as balanced and willing as Chilli.

A little video:

We spent the weekend hacking - around the village with a friend on Saturday (during which a random neighbour said he's 'a magnificent animal'!!) then on our own around the farm and top field on Sunday. We did our first canters on grass and he was very keen but very good, with some lovely smooth flying changes when he wanted to go faster and I said no. I suspect they may make an unrequested appearance in lower level dressage tests, he's a little bundle of energy.

One thing I am finding is that I have spent so much time in a dressage saddle in the last couple of years that I am struggling with a GP - I've defaulted to chair seat and have lost the ability to drop weight into my heels! Chilli's not the horse to do position practice on so I'm thinking of going to a local RS for some pole work and jumping lessons. Any thoughts on this? There are some ok bog-standard schools locally or Talland isn't far. I do want to get Chilli jumping eventually and it feels unfair to do that until I've sorted out my own position.

Thank you so much! i always find it so difficult to ride them forward into a baby contact....hence I have what my family dub washing line reins. the times I did actually gather him up felt incredible.

Chilli looks fantastic! I absolutely adore the PRE and he is no exception!
 

daffy44

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Happy Birthday Nova! You must be so proud of him, he is growing up beautifully.

Thank you TM and RachelFerd, I appreciate the nice comments, and I do agree with you both, I love working with youngsters, but I totally agree they need experienced people, no matter how good the youngster is, this guy of mine is incredibly easy, he just had a dodgy day, and thats horses. RachelFerd, I would have done exactly the same as you, and have done on plenty of youngsters in the past! That nasty tight feeling when you know they are holding on by a thread, not fun! Time to make a polite dismount and let it all out safely on the lunge.

As a follow up to his dodgy day on friday, he had the weekend off as usual, and when I tacked up this morning he looked entirely normal, so I took him straight out, and got on in the yard, the grown up way and he didnt even flick an ear, just walked off to the school worked beautifully and walked off round the fields on the buckle, so normal service has been resumed.
 

RachelFerd

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Happy Birthday Nova! You must be so proud of him, he is growing up beautifully.

Thank you TM and RachelFerd, I appreciate the nice comments, and I do agree with you both, I love working with youngsters, but I totally agree they need experienced people, no matter how good the youngster is, this guy of mine is incredibly easy, he just had a dodgy day, and thats horses. RachelFerd, I would have done exactly the same as you, and have done on plenty of youngsters in the past! That nasty tight feeling when you know they are holding on by a thread, not fun! Time to make a polite dismount and let it all out safely on the lunge.
Having spent long enough working with baby flat racehorses in training, it is lovely to have the luxury of being able to get back off rather than have to continue trying to hang on for dear life!!
 

daffy44

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Having spent long enough working with baby flat racehorses in training, it is lovely to have the luxury of being able to get back off rather than have to continue trying to hang on for dear life!!
You're a lot braver than me! I have worked a bit with baby racehorses, but only being the person on the ground, and I'm very happy to keep it that way, if it feels dodgy I want the option to get off!!
 

Poppy2003

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All your youngsters look lovely and going so well!
I have a Connie who turned 4 last month. I was coming on here to ask whether his bucking/broncing under saddle was a common theme or not? He was backed at a pro’s yard February time and whilst it went generally okay he bucked them off once and every time I went and saw him he bronced. Not severely but quite humpy. He came back and had some time off as the weather was rubbish and he’s now at my instructors yard and whilst coming along he’s still bucked someone off there when they tapped him with a stick for ignoring leg aids and bucks nearly everytime into canter or generally if he doesn’t want to do something…. He has a professionally fitted saddle and has absolutely no issues being tacked up or mounted etc…..
 

ahml100

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He is back from boarding school! My trainer very kindly took this picture before he loaded with one glowing school report. Yes, it did cost but I would not change it for the world, he looks a million dollars, is confident in work and looks really happy with life.

His now back out with friends, plan is for him to have a day off today then gentle hacking.

 

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CanteringCarrot

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Chilli's had a busy week. My loan horse went to sales livery on Tuesday, so on Wednesday Chilli moved into his stable and 'big boy' routine of coming in during the day instead of being out 24/7. I had my first lesson booked that evening so he also had to stay in while others went back out - he was very slightly agitated when I arrived at 6.30, but didn't seem particularly worried which was a relief.

The lesson was in the top arena, which he'd not been in since last November. Poor boy, I did throw a lot at him on one day! He was very tense to begin with and there was a lot of knee action :p. Had my loan horse been that buzzy it would have ended badly, so I was a little nervous to begin with but soon relaxed as Chilli stayed with me and the worst he did was a half-hearted attempt at napping. He neighed a few times when a horse hacked past and did some very cute little whiny whinnies when he realised he had to keep working - trainer and I were in fits of giggles at him.

He relaxed by the end and felt lovely. We've not schooled at all this year other than checking stop / start / turn in preparation for hacking so I was very pleasantly surprised, particularly by his canter work. Next lesson is 29 June and I'll just school once in between as I am aware that it's easy to overdo it with a horse as balanced and willing as Chilli.

A little video:

We spent the weekend hacking - around the village with a friend on Saturday (during which a random neighbour said he's 'a magnificent animal'!!) then on our own around the farm and top field on Sunday. We did our first canters on grass and he was very keen but very good, with some lovely smooth flying changes when he wanted to go faster and I said no. I suspect they may make an unrequested appearance in lower level dressage tests, he's a little bundle of energy.

One thing I am finding is that I have spent so much time in a dressage saddle in the last couple of years that I am struggling with a GP - I've defaulted to chair seat and have lost the ability to drop weight into my heels! Chilli's not the horse to do position practice on so I'm thinking of going to a local RS for some pole work and jumping lessons. Any thoughts on this? There are some ok bog-standard schools locally or Talland isn't far. I do want to get Chilli jumping eventually and it feels unfair to do that until I've sorted out my own position.
Of course you can try some riding schools, and I think it's a good idea to try to keep yourself "in check" by riding other horses.

However, chairseat usually comes from the saddle. The stirrup bar can be too forward for your build. Or the saddle can be wrong for your build. Sometimes too short (sort of jams you up into the backseat position) or too long of a stirrup. Or the block/flap in the wrong place.

Many saddles will put me in a chairseat on my PRE because he is much higher in the front than in the back. He has an uphill build and movement with a lot of withers and shoulder. So saddles tend to sit low in the back, throwing me into a chair seat. It doesn't take much to put me in that position. So really look at the balance of rhe saddle. Or try another.

You've also got to make sure the horse is lifting through the back. Which is ...a bit tricky with PRE's since they often tend to lock the back and move the legs. A hollow tight back won't help either of you. It's still early days with a green horse, so I fully understand not everything is installed or perfect yet.

Lessons are never a bad idea, but if you are truly fighting the saddle, all the lessons in the world won't do much. When watching the video, I think it's possible that the saddle isn't right for you two. Possibly works fine on another horse, but for this one, I might be inclined to try something else, have you ridden him in anything else?
 

j1ffy

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Of course you can try some riding schools, and I think it's a good idea to try to keep yourself "in check" by riding other horses.

However, chairseat usually comes from the saddle. The stirrup bar can be too forward for your build. Or the saddle can be wrong for your build. Sometimes too short (sort of jams you up into the backseat position) or too long of a stirrup. Or the block/flap in the wrong place.

Many saddles will put me in a chairseat on my PRE because he is much higher in the front than in the back. He has an uphill build and movement with a lot of withers and shoulder. So saddles tend to sit low in the back, throwing me into a chair seat. It doesn't take much to put me in that position. So really look at the balance of rhe saddle. Or try another.

You've also got to make sure the horse is lifting through the back. Which is ...a bit tricky with PRE's since they often tend to lock the back and move the legs. A hollow tight back won't help either of you. It's still early days with a green horse, so I fully understand not everything is installed or perfect yet.

Lessons are never a bad idea, but if you are truly fighting the saddle, all the lessons in the world won't do much. When watching the video, I think it's possible that the saddle isn't right for you two. Possibly works fine on another horse, but for this one, I might be inclined to try something else, have you ridden him in anything else?
Thank you for posting CC. Funnily enough, I was wondering the same as I really felt like I was fighting the saddle when trying to get my legs under me in the school on Sunday. I'm not one to blame my tools but it's the first GP saddle I've been in for quite some time and it's not a fancy one! It was fitted to Chilli in April - I bought it very much as a stop-gap with the view that he would change shape and likely need another one in six months. However I have put my stirrups up a hole and now feel more secure, so I think it will be ok for hacking even if not for a good dressage position.

When he got back from being backed last year, I rode him in my semi-retired PRE's old dressage saddle and that fit well at the time. Chilli has filled out a lot since then so it no longer fits. Ultimately he will have his own dressage saddle but I was keen to start with a GP so we can do more fun stuff.

I agree 100% on the lifting through the back - I've had to work hard on it with all my PREs, Chilli in particular just wants knee action...and lots of it ;) Our focus this year will be very much on teaching him to use less knee and more back - I think I'll coin the term 'knee mover' for him instead of 'leg mover'!
 

j1ffy

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We had another little milestone today - our first off-yard solo hack. We've been down the lane and around the local village a few times in company so set off on our own . Other than a slight attempt to nap to his field as we walked past, Chilli was lovely. We did jog out of the yard and down the hill (thank goodness he's not got shoes on or we might have been skiing) but he settled after 5 mins or so. Did a fair bit of heavy breathing at scary stuff but walked past everything, including some new roadworks, and was generally great fun to ride.

A little photo from Sunday after a schooling session to add interest ;)

Chilli headshot June.jpg
 

TheMule

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All your youngsters look lovely and going so well!
I have a Connie who turned 4 last month. I was coming on here to ask whether his bucking/broncing under saddle was a common theme or not? He was backed at a pro’s yard February time and whilst it went generally okay he bucked them off once and every time I went and saw him he bronced. Not severely but quite humpy. He came back and had some time off as the weather was rubbish and he’s now at my instructors yard and whilst coming along he’s still bucked someone off there when they tapped him with a stick for ignoring leg aids and bucks nearly everytime into canter or generally if he doesn’t want to do something…. He has a professionally fitted saddle and has absolutely no issues being tacked up or mounted etc…..
In my experience, no, and I would want him scoped for ulcers/ back x-rays as it's not normal for a correctly started youngster to bronc. The occasional jolly buck is fine by me but this sounds more than that
 

TheMule

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He is back from boarding school! My trainer very kindly took this picture before he loaded with one glowing school report. Yes, it did cost but I would not change it for the world, he looks a million dollars, is confident in work and looks really happy with life.

His now back out with friends, plan is for him to have a day off today then gentle hacking.

This is great to see, sounds like he has had a great start and now you just enjoy your lovely young horse
 

lannerch

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Layla went on her 2nd ever outing today , last week I took her with a friend for a quiet hack round the local gallops and she was so good I went in at the deep end today and took her to a fairly local hunt/fun ride with my hunting friends .

she was such a star I am thrilled even though it was busy and we went quite quickly but she took it all in her stride. She started off really excited but soon calmed down , did not mind if others over took us , even was happy to go in front .

We even managed some small fences including spooky barrels but did not jump her too much , as it was a first time in this kind of atmosphere away from home so I didn’t want to overwhelm her, next time I will jump more .

We also discovered 6th gear which she thinks is great fun and she has a lovely length of stride .

There was meant to be a photographer there but if there was I didn’t see them , however if I do find photos I will post them .

ive had to wait 2 years since buying her to get to this stage but boy she was worth the wait and im finally got to the stage where she can have fun. So very happy.
 
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