It's a long time since I last backed a youngster ..... over 30 years ago! :-X And then they were someone else's youngsters and I was assisting. Over a few weeks we would get the horse used to saddle and bridle and I can remember doing a lot of long reining. When we thought the time was right leaning over the horse and eventually quietly putting leg over. Then quietly allowing the youngster to go forward without too much interference. My recollection is that this was all reasonably stress free from the horses point of view. I can't remember any major upsets. I was lucky to be doing all this under the wing of an exceptionally knowledgeable horsewoman of "the old school".
So now I'm thinking of backing Zefiro my young Lusitano. He'll be 4 on April 13th. I'm in no hurry. I plan to get on him when the time is right. But I am more conscious of the need to prepare him well both mentally and physically. It's highly unlikely that I'll ever do this again so I want to get it right!
Zeffy arrived from Portugal last April. I had him gelded a month before he travelled to me. I've spent the last months on the very basics - handling (leading politely, tying up, feet, grooming, etc.), lungeing, free schooling (think Lusitano turned Collie!) and since December long-reining. I also take hime for hacks in-hand and he's pretty unphased by most things. I've recently introduced a saddle (only a couple of times) and this week a bit - twice just in the stable for a few minutes and last night I lunged him off the cavesson but with his bridle underneath.
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