Backing 3/4yr olds

daydreamer

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I have, however, backtracked a little.......

Everyone else's youngsters seem to be making far more progress. *sigh*
I'm feeling exactly the same. I felt like I was making good progress but have been waiting for a saddle to be made and delivered since early May. My instructor said to crack on with lunging/long-reining to work on fitness but that hasn't quite gone to plan as I tried to long-rein a short route by myself (walked in hand lots of times and long-reined with a leader a few times) and we had a napping/reversing/squealing issue. I lost confidence in myself and Duncan lost confidence in being long-reined. We also had spring-like weather and I think the sugar in the grass blew his brains a bit as he became spooky even walking in hand which put me off doing much lunging or long-reining in case it went badly. I'm also always by myself unless I ask friends to come and help which I'm rubbish at doing.

I'm trying to look at the positives - he has remained very good to tie up/groom, waited very patiently at an unfamiliar yard for his field mate to have his sheath cleaned and has been better walking in hand recently.

Yesterday I went back to basics and worked through lunge>add extra line from roller around back>extra line to bit, roller, then around back>both lines from bit to roller and work on a circle. On his good rein I got all the way through the process and he was very good. On his trickier rein I did the first two steps but felt he had done enough so stopped.

I'm trying not to compare myself to all the posts I see about youngsters progressing but it is very tricky! I'm also trying not to worry about exactly how the ridden work is going to progress as I'm going to have to ask people (that I don't really know) from the yard to nanny us out hacking and the yard have just opened the hacking to the public and we seem to be flooded with visitors after it being very quiet for the 3 years when I haven't been using it!
 

alsxx

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🙋‍♀️ I hit the deck today! Having a lovely ride, we negotiated a ditch with water, had a little canter, then terrified himself on a branch so leapt into the air all 4 feet off the ground, kind of went sideways and he wasn't there when I came back down 🤣 he trotted off a short way then stopped to wait for his friend, caught him and hopped back on. He threw me totally clear and still had the reins round his neck, so didn't seem too traumatised by the human hurtling through the sky. He's coming home on Saturday so I'm kinda glad we got that out of the way before venturing out mostly on our own!
 

SEL

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🙋‍♀️ I hit the deck today! Having a lovely ride, we negotiated a ditch with water, had a little canter, then terrified himself on a branch so leapt into the air all 4 feet off the ground, kind of went sideways and he wasn't there when I came back down 🤣 he trotted off a short way then stopped to wait for his friend, caught him and hopped back on. He threw me totally clear and still had the reins round his neck, so didn't seem too traumatised by the human hurtling through the sky. He's coming home on Saturday so I'm kinda glad we got that out of the way before venturing out mostly on our own!
Ooops! Hope you're both OK

I nearly had similar on Sunday. Think something either touched his bottom or he saw the jogger we'd recently gone past take off behind him. There were a lot of nettles and fortunately he was under me after the big leap. First time I've need the neck strap and I forgot to grab it!!
 

SEL

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Little update!

I rode with a friend last week and she has quite a spooky gelding so we led most of the way. My youngster led the way up a busy road, through a village full of jubilee flags and lots of traffic. Either she’s really seen before especially flags, so she did so well and was so brave with a nervous horse following.

We were on our way back home just saying how outstanding she was, I was so so chuffed, when we had a fall :(

A dog. It lives on a farm on a narrow single track road, she’s seen it before but today it was asleep under a Defender and as soon as we got level with the farm gates (and close to them!) It scrabbled out and jumped on the gate going absolutely crazy.

My mare jumped (and I can remember jumping myself at suddenly noticing a huge German Sheppard running full pelt at the gates) and her feet just went from underneath her! I fell off, she was struggling to get up for what felt like forever but was probably only 5 seconds. She walked off ok and we got back safely. I never usually boot but that day 4 brushing boots on, they had all slipped down, so glad I did. She wasn’t lame and only had a few scuff marks, touch wood looks sound in the field, she’s had a few days off since.

Such a scary experience, never had a horse fall from under me. :( Aim to do a bit with her this week, just basic short hacks and see how she goes. Will work on getting her to go back past the same area but with a confident horse leading.
Dogs are my nemesis at the moment. The bridlepath by the yard ends on a 40mph road, with a blind bend and no warning signs that horses might be appearing. It also has a house that was built last year with a large dog that likes to run up to the fence bordering the bridlepath just as you get to the road. Even the saintly microcob has been spooked by it - and you spook straight into the traffic.

I have a few times got off baby cob just before the house (especially if I can see their patio doors are open) so we can walk in hand past it and stop and process any running, barking dog behaviour. I've found another house with barking, fence running dogs and we're walking in hand past that too. We are 100% fine meeting the hounds on their morning exercise where he can process what is coming towards him - its the movement behind his eyeline of a running dog that's the issue I think

I hope you're both OK. Its horrible when the horse falls because you lose that split second realisation that you're about to hit the deck and you're also panicking about whether they've hurt themselves. I hope no long lasting effects - bad enough with an established horse let along a youngster
 

alsxx

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All fine thanks SEL. Honestly all happened so fast that I was off before I'd even had chance to grab the neck strap! Broke my 8 year run, last fell off out hunting, which sounds more impressive than being evicted at walk by a 4 year old 😅

Ooh another dog hater here, my one worry about bringing him home is the amount of dog walkers, he really doesn't like them!
 

maya2008

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All the posts above are reminding me to do LOTS of walks with our new one before my son's allowed on board out and about. Was out long-reining today and we saw a tractor - no big deal - then the same tractor came back the other way with super scary equipment on the back. There was me, 2 kids, a 5yo pony who's not been backed yet and an 11.2hh who was only backed this year. Thankfully, darling 11.2hh shrugged at the scary stuff and focused on stuffing her face with the contents of the hedge. 5yo looked, but trusted me to shield him. Phew!
 

HufflyPuffly

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So the award for the most straightforward 3 year old goes to Beryl! If I’d not ever backed other horses I’d wonder what the fuss was all about 😂.

Second time sitting on properly and we did a lap of the school whilst we were at it! I thought it would take ages to back her on my own and only having sporadic help, but Beryl just takes everything in her stride 🥰, I love her!

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windand rain

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Had a great lesson and the physio all clear so no physical reason for the rearing so will carry on slowly for now. Then turn away later once established in walk and trot
 

maya2008

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Random thought of the day…is it actually easier to back a horse outside of a school? The only issues we ever had with my daughter’s mare took place in a sand school (she got bored in literally 5 minutes and decided that learning to long-rein was something she was not doing) and everything else (out hacking, in field, always going somewhere) went so smoothly she begged to be ridden, trotted home with happiness and has done everything asked ever since. New pony doesn’t have access to a school. Long-reining took 5 mins to learn, no drama (down the lane behind the fields). Yesterday we practised mounting - initially in our tie-up area and then off roadside banks. No issues. Walking forwards with child in the tie up area is always a question mark, whereas doing it out and about was like a light coming on. Obviously we would walk forward with child on board because we’re out walking, so forward is what we do…and we were off! It all seems to make more sense to the pony if you’re going somewhere and not round and round in a rectangular space!
 

alsxx

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Picked the boy up yesterday and brought him home, loaded and travelled brilliantly. We went out for his first hack at home this morning, just the best feeling. Husband led out my semi retired mare for a safety blanket, but for 95% of the ride we went up front including trotting away from them and then waiting. He was quite looky as expected but so good. Met a runner, strange concrete blocks in the field gateways and loads of cyclists, took it all in his stride. Tomorrow its going to be venturing out alone as have no one to come out with me, but hoping he'll be OK, he's hacked solo while away regularly so it's really just going to be about getting to know the new sights and sounds.

And he's looking so grown up, definitely think he's grown a tad too, might even be 15hh now 🤣🙈 but honestly super pleased with him!
 

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Hormonal Filly

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Random thought of the day…is it actually easier to back a horse outside of a school? The only issues we ever had with my daughter’s mare took place in a sand school (she got bored in literally 5 minutes and decided that learning to long-rein was something she was not doing) and everything else (out hacking, in field, always going somewhere) went so smoothly she begged to be ridden, trotted home with happiness and has done everything asked ever since. New pony doesn’t have access to a school. Long-reining took 5 mins to learn, no drama (down the lane behind the fields). Yesterday we practised mounting - initially in our tie-up area and then off roadside banks. No issues. Walking forwards with child in the tie up area is always a question mark, whereas doing it out and about was like a light coming on. Obviously we would walk forward with child on board because we’re out walking, so forward is what we do…and we were off! It all seems to make more sense to the pony if you’re going somewhere and not round and round in a rectangular space!
Yes, I’ve backed my last 2 and current one out of the school, we have a private woodland and track to ride along which was super helpful. She just followed my other half the first ride. Bucked once, but nothing nasty. Find they understand much more if you’re going along a lane, or quiet road as it channels them forward.. with a person on the ground or a horse with you. :)

I think some people do everything in a arena and it isn’t great for them.
 

Palindrome

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So the award for the most straightforward 3 year old goes to Beryl! If I’d not ever backed other horses I’d wonder what the fuss was all about 😂.

Second time sitting on properly and we did a lap of the school whilst we were at it! I thought it would take ages to back her on my own and only having sporadic help, but Beryl just takes everything in her stride 🥰, I love her!
she's a real gem ;)
 

maya2008

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We have walk and trot under saddle (on the lead rein at the moment as a safety brake just in case). He’s doing really well, trotting to his rider’s command and stopping when requested. Steering works fine if pony can see the point of it (i.e. turning right up a track is fine, turning round to go home is more of a challenge). Pony knows to go as fast as whoever he is attached to, unless his rider tells him otherwise, and has been led out riderless a fair bit but not cantered yet. Do I:

A) Ask for canter for the first time with rider on and able to help (less likely to have him shooting all over the place while we canter and he doesn’t/he runs backwards and spooks at something/he canters and goes too fast and wraps himself round me…).
Or
B) Canter him riderless first, led from another horse, then with a rider. He lunged in his previous home so has technically cantered on command without a rider already, just not with us. We have nowhere flat enough to lunge so that isn’t an option.

When I am riding, I usually go for A). Up a hill, with buddies. With my daughter’s pony we went for B). My son is a much better rider than my daughter and this pony is more sensitive. Finding it difficult to choose to be honest!
 
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HufflyPuffly

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Beryl update, she's been sat on a couple more times and long-lined round the forest solo with zero issues from her 🥰.
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I was going to get her walking, trotting and stopping in the school before hacking out, but as she is being so chill about being ridden I’m wondering whether to just go straight out with her, with mastering walking, stopping and steering?

How much do you install before you head out?

At my last yard the hacking was as all out onto busy roads so you needed the basics pretty solid for manoeuvring but here the hacking is v quiet…
 

maya2008

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How much do you install before you head out?

At my last yard the hacking was as all out onto busy roads so you needed the basics pretty solid for manoeuvring but here the hacking is v quiet…
Earlier this year, my daughter’s pony long-reined and walked out with us for about 4 weeks, then my son got on her half way round a hack and rode her home in walk and trot (following me). Steering was a bit iffy, but stop and go were fine.

My son’s pony is hacking out now on the lead rein - he has never been in a school and we are on actual ride (rather than 2 min sit) number 3. If he was adult size, I would happily hack him off lead as he is now, but with another horse obviously. He walks and trots with good brakes, steering approximate, considered canter today so will probably be cantering in a few days once he plucks up the courage to have a go!


My 12.2hh was backed out hacking - off lead on ride number 3 or 4 once she knew what the basics were.

Years ago, my 13.2hh is the one who never needed friends - at the end of the first week of her backing experience, I hacked her down the road solo, round the housing estate and home. Job done!

So basically, you need stop, go, rough left and right plus a friend to follow. I would wait longer if no friend, until the steering is good probably.
 

HufflyPuffly

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Earlier this year, my daughter’s pony long-reined and walked out with us for about 4 weeks, then my son got on her half way round a hack and rode her home in walk and trot (following me). Steering was a bit iffy, but stop and go were fine.

My son’s pony is hacking out now on the lead rein - he has never been in a school and we are on actual ride (rather than 2 min sit) number 3. If he was adult size, I would happily hack him off lead as he is now, but with another horse obviously. He walks and trots with good brakes, steering approximate, considered canter today so will probably be cantering in a few days once he plucks up the courage to have a go!


My 12.2hh was backed out hacking - off lead on ride number 3 or 4 once she knew what the basics were.

Years ago, my 13.2hh is the one who never needed friends - at the end of the first week of her backing experience, I hacked her down the road solo, round the housing estate and home. Job done!

So basically, you need stop, go, rough left and right plus a friend to follow. I would wait longer if no friend, until the steering is good probably.
Sounds like I’m overthinking it a bit then, as the steering and stopping are pretty good now! Slight lack of a ‘good’ nanny horse but Topaz should behave herself for round the forest!

She seems less stuffy not in the school (she’s hacked just back up the drive), so I think she’ll benefit for getting out hacking as soon as poss, but don’t want to rush her…
 

maya2008

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Sounds like I’m overthinking it a bit then, as the steering and stopping are pretty good now! Slight lack of a ‘good’ nanny horse but Topaz should behave herself for round the forest!

She seems less stuffy not in the school (she’s hacked just back up the drive), so I think she’ll benefit for getting out hacking as soon as poss, but don’t want to rush her…
Young horses shouldn’t be in the school much beyond the initial training. The surface isn’t what they are designed to move on; neither are the constant corners. I have never taught canter in a school, always out hacking in the open, on a grass surface with no corners. I hack for the first six months to a year with limited school time (coblet went in twice a week for 10min because he was backed in the winter, but for the others it’s been every now and then until they turn 4 or six months have passed). Lots of hacking gives a horse balance and muscle to cope with varied terrain, it lets them build the muscle needed to carry a rider and it also gives them a love of being ridden. Both of my smaller ponies’ attitudes to being caught did a 180 once they started hacking out.
 

HufflyPuffly

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Young horses shouldn’t be in the school much beyond the initial training. The surface isn’t what they are designed to move on; neither are the constant corners. I have never taught canter in a school, always out hacking in the open, on a grass surface with no corners. I hack for the first six months to a year with limited school time (coblet went in twice a week for 10min because he was backed in the winter, but for the others it’s been every now and then until they turn 4 or six months have passed). Lots of hacking gives a horse balance and muscle to cope with varied terrain, it lets them build the muscle needed to carry a rider and it also gives them a love of being ridden. Both of my smaller ponies’ attitudes to being caught did a 180 once they started hacking out.
So for context, she’s been sat on five times total, been long lined and gone round the forest twice. She’s been in the school a handful of times, so I’m very aware of not rushing her but equally she is very chill about it all.

She’s so cool I don’t want to mess her up!!
 

Caol Ila

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Hermosa turned four today. Not the ideal birthday -- why didn't the US Supreme Court issue this ruling yesterday? Or Monday? Anyway, her great achievement this week was accepting saddle pad, saddle, and girth without any drama. No spinning and looking at the tack in horror, or acting like the girth flopping against her leg was the worst thing that had ever happened to her. She stood like an old schoolmaster to get tacked up on Wednesday, then repeated it today. I finally feel like I can think about moving forwards IMG_1336.JPG IMG_1338.JPG . IMG_1337.JPG
 

alsxx

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I've had a great week with my boy, he's been home exactly a week now and couldn't be more pleased with him. He's been out solo a few times, my friend hacked to meet us and he was as cool as a Cucumber about making a new hacking buddy, and not phased by her super fast walk and being left behind. Lots of questions too, meeting dogs, dustbins, going through the farm, baby responses and tension sure but gives everything a go and learns each time.

I got made redundant this week which is rather pants, but on the up side, a summer with my baby pony to ride 🙌🤣
 

southerncomfort

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So for context, she’s been sat on five times total, been long lined and gone round the forest twice. She’s been in the school a handful of times, so I’m very aware of not rushing her but equally she is very chill about it all.

She’s so cool I don’t want to mess her up!!
When I was introducing Bo to the big wide world, I'd do 10 to 15 mins in the school to make sure he was listening and then we'd go out for a short wander along the road and back so it was all very low key, and just kept extending the route a bit each time.

It helped that I walked him round and round all our hacking routes before he was backed so it was all familiar to him.
 

maya2008

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Hermosa turned four today. Not the ideal birthday -- why didn't the US Supreme Court issue this ruling yesterday? Or Monday? Anyway, her great achievement this week was accepting saddle pad, saddle, and girth without any drama. No spinning and looking at the tack in horror, or acting like the girth flopping against her leg was the worst thing that had ever happened to her. She stood like an old schoolmaster to get tacked up on Wednesday, then repeated it today. I finally feel like I can think about moving forwards View attachment 94824 View attachment 94825 . View attachment 94826
Our new pony still looks at saddle pads/saddles in horror until they are actually on him. Less of the spinning now, but his eyes still go wide. Fine with a person on though 😂!

I have been meaning to ask - what saddle is that? I’m sure I’ve seen one before but can’t remember the make!!
 

Hormonal Filly

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Does anyone have a young mare and noticed a big difference when ridden in season? I’ve written down in my diary when it happens and it seems her cycle is 28 days (which can happen and be longer than the standard 21 days I’ve read)

She just is not forward at all, nappy, calls, squeals. Total opposite to what she’s usually like. She doesn’t do anything nasty just isn’t feeling it - bless her. I’m guessing she aches, she feels sore behind her saddle - a place I’ve never felt her be sore before. We have physio again soon, so interesting if she picks up on it (or it goes once she’s out of season)

I was writing the dates down to try and avoid riding when she’s like it but it seems this cycle has gone on a bit longer. On the ground she’s always super sweet, just a little more grumpy some days but it’s not massively noticeable. She isn’t a squirter a winker (so far, ha ha)

Anyway. We mainly just hack but she is ridden in the school every couple of weeks, just for a short period of time. Mainly to ask for forward and some flexion. I’ve changed her bit to a Nathe which has made a huge difference as she hasn’t been tucking her head in, but I don’t really want to collect her yet rather her long and low but it’s all work in progress.

Yesterday was a in season ride.. which was a shame but even looking back at the videos and pictures it’s amazing how different she looks in the space of a couple of months. I think she might of grown a little too, same saddle and bridle (and obviously rider)

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Caol Ila

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Our new pony still looks at saddle pads/saddles in horror until they are actually on him. Less of the spinning now, but his eyes still go wide. Fine with a person on though 😂!

I have been meaning to ask - what saddle is that? I’m sure I’ve seen one before but can’t remember the make!!
It's made by a Spanish company called Sorenta. It has a leather tree. My friend gave it to me for Gypsum when she upgraded to a nicer one, and that served Gypsum well for a few years. Could not be made to fit my Highland, but I think it will work for Hermosa.

She is massively in season this week. A new gelding in the field has made the girls go doolally, and she's madly in love with him. You'd think she would learn from her last mistake.... She's okay to work with when in season, but she's a bit scatty and distracted, so no point in teaching her anything new.

Last week, I bitted her up! With a rubber Mullen mouth belonging to YO and Gypsum's bridle. Nothing really fit. I will need to find a better bit. @shortstuff99, what bit did you use to start your PREs? She seems to have quite a small mouth.
 

j1ffy

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@Caol Ila - all my PREs have preferred a slimmer mouthpiece. They do have a tendency to back off the contact until they gain confidence, so an eggbutt and Mullen mouth are worth trying. My lazier PRE is definitely better sticking with a more stable bit, whereas my two more active PREs have needed to move onto loose rings and lozenges.

ETA - my more active PREs have been very sensitive and prefer the more precise action of a loose ring. If you look at a Myler, for instance, it tends to dull the aid a little as the eggbutt rings are so large. Great for my less forward / less sensitive PRE but not clear enough for my current sensitive youngster!
 

Caol Ila

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YO's bit is a thick rubber Mullen mouth. It's too long and definitely too thick.

I have had epic bit faff with Foinavon. I am really hoping Hermosa will be straightforward.
 

windand rain

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Kitten didn't like a jointed bit so is now in a simple steel mullenmouth although could do with getting her a slightly bigger one as its a bit tight above the rings
 
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