breaking to ride
 
 

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breaking to ride

This is a discussion on breaking to ride within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Breaking horses to ride
  • Breaking a horse to ride

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    12-27-2012, 03:43 PM
  #1
Foal
breaking to ride

I have this shetland cross exmoore pony (not exactly sure he was a rescue) he is so well behaved and is currently used just for driving he is resting at the moment and im bringing him back in feb. I want to beak him to ride in the summer but don't have enough for a saddle or be profetionally done. Would it be possible to just ride him bearback and have you got any tips for breaking him in
Thank you x
     
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    12-27-2012, 03:52 PM
  #2
Yearling
You could break him bareback, I am wanting to do that with my quarter horse, but I am planning on using a bareback pad with sturrips, they are cheap and easy to use and the sturrips can be taken off.
     
    12-27-2012, 04:13 PM
  #3
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Breezy2011    
I am planning on using a bareback pad with sturrips
Don't.

Seriously just don't. Not only does that put ALL your weight on a very narrow strip [which is a lot of pounds per square inch even if you're a really light person], most people also rely on their stirrups for balance, which is a really stupid idea in a bareback pad because if you put more weight in one stirrup than the other the pad WILL slip and you WILL fall off. Probably get dragged, too.

I have seen far more nasty nasty accidents as the result of a bareback pad with stirrups than I have seen in any other circumstance. I haven't HAD any such accidents because I refuse to use such dangerous equipment. Bareback pads WITHOUT stirrups are a-ok, but with them they are a recipe for disaster.

Regarding the OP... a driving pony will generally make a reasonable riding pony. A good driving pony has to be quiet, because driving is more dangerous than riding when things go wrong. It also has to be good in the mouth, and will have been desensitised to things on its back already. They're not difficult to break to ride if they've done well in harness, mainly because they've had a huge amount of the foundation work already done to get them ready for a rider. HOWEVER, even so, you really don't want to be breaking a pony to ride all by yourself. Get help. It's much easier with help. The more experienced and qualified that help, the better - and in BREAKING, not just riding!

When I start to ride, I start them first as if I were intending to break them to harness. Roller on, straps hanging off here there and everywhere, make sure they understand giving to the bit vertically and laterally as well as reinback and halt... then long lines on and ground driving. Once they are proficient at that, then and ONLY then do I put a saddle on... and let them get the buck out without a rider. For the initial stages of breaking the saddle doesn't have to fit because nobody will be sitting in it; so long as it's reasonably close it's ok. Once the horse is ready to take weight on its back for the first time, however, it is IMPERATIVE that the saddle fits, because the last thing you want is for your pony to associate a rider with pain.

Best to break in a saddle because it does give you that little extra grip. It concerns me greatly that you have a pony and can't afford a saddle for it, to be honest... my breaker saddle has a market value of MAYBE $30, cheap second hand rather worn out old thing that it is. You can get a lovely high quality second hand leather saddle for under $500 if you shop around. If you haven't got $500 for a saddle, what are you going to do for vet fees if your pony gets sick or injures itself?

Very important that your pony doesn't learn it can buck you off. Once is enough to create an evasion which even an experienced rider might struggle to fix. The horses I've had a hand in starting don't get opportunities to buck, and I know I can ride a good one.

First thing I always do is the saddle because if I can get that on and girthed, I can get some buck out of my horse before I get on. Then I put a little bit of weight in the saddle with my hands, and very gradually work my way up to sitting on their back briefly. I mount and dismount until I'm getting vertigo from the constant changes in altitude, then mount and dismount some more until my horse is utterly bored with the whole caper. Then I stay on a while and get someone to lead the horse at a walk. From there I teach leg aids, and because the horse is already mouthed before I get on its back I don't have anything to teach regarding my reins. Once my horse has well-established leg aids, my helper gets a break while I establish confidence with no person at the horse's head. Once that is well-established it's back to the helper for the trot, and once everything is established there, I will typically ride trails with company and on a nice straight even-footed stretch, get my helper to ask their horse to canter, and allow my mount to just fall into it. Once that's ok I start introducing aids and correct leads, and once that's all established my horse is green broke.

First canter it's best to be prepared for a bit of bucking but if they are prepared properly not many horses buck. It's all about preparing them right, though, and that takes a lot of feel, timing and patience.

I am not 100% on how to get a horse from green broke to "broke with basic education" but hey, I'm not at the stage where I need that knowledge yet. Not with my filly, not with Mum's filly.

Do bear in mind that I've only "half broke" 3 horses, two are too young yet to get to the stage of being green broke and one was sold from under me when I was a little kid. My opinion comes from a LOT of reading up, a LOT of theory knowledge, but very little practical knowledge.
LisaG likes this.
     
    12-27-2012, 04:21 PM
  #4
Started
All of you bareback breakers better be taking video. It would be great entertainment!

Seriously, get a saddle. Why you have a horse before a saddle, I don't know.
     
    12-27-2012, 04:36 PM
  #5
Foal
How are you planning on breaking he/she in l
     
    12-27-2012, 04:41 PM
  #6
Yearling
OP, I think blue eyed pony gave you a great idea of how to start your pony.

I also advocate the no bareback starting opinion.
Horses are too predictable to be risking that kind of nonsense.
     
    12-27-2012, 05:00 PM
  #7
Foal
^^ I wrote this befor I noticed they posted it also to blue eyed pony the only reason I don't really have enough is my mum and dad wont pay for every thing only food and vet bills and I was just woundering if I could walk him round for 15- 20 mins whilst im saveing for a saddle now that's why im asking now so I can save up
     
    12-27-2012, 05:33 PM
  #8
Trained
The trouble is, J&R, while your pony might be ok at walk, what happens if he gets spooked at something and in his fright breaks into a canter, then gets spooked at you on his back and starts bucking? Can you ride out a full on bronc fest bareback? I don't know a single person who can. Even professional bareback bronc riders... THEY only have to stick on for eight seconds and I will tell you from experience that eight seconds is a very long time to stay on a bucking horse!

I will reiterate, THE MOST IMPORTANT THING is to absolutely not get thrown under any circumstance. Ponies are smart little devils and if he succeeds ONCE he will learn that he can ditch you. Then you'll have a REAL fight on your hands and your parents will have to send him to a professional. Honestly I believe sending them to a professional is the best idea anyway - my reasoning for breaking myself is that I want to BE a professional one day and you've got to start somewhere, but I have help from very experienced horse people who have broke more horses than you've had hot dinners... plus more reading than I really know what to do with, youtube videos coming out my ears, and sitting there watching some very good horse people break their own horses.

I ride bareback regularly and my gelding [17 and well and truly broke, a "finished" mid-level event horse and decent showjumper] likes to chuck in the odd buck now and then... so I know I can ride a buck bareback. I can ride a rear, spin, bolt, buck, shy, all of the above at once... bareback. But I refuse to get on a green horse without a saddle, even for 2 seconds at walk. Horses are far too unpredictable and I'd rather have my saddle to hang onto [even though I typically drop my stirrups anyway if/when things go wrong, because my seat is better without them] just in case. If it's been broke less than a year, I'm not going anywhere NEAR its back unless it's got a saddle on. And I mean a solid 12 months of work and miles, not "jump on and ride it until it stops bucking, ok now let's chuck it out in the pasture for 6 months, jump on and ride it until it stops bucking, bring it into work, chuck it back in the pasture for a month to 'let the lesson sink in' and bring it back again". By this point in time the horse should AT LEAST be balanced walk/trot/canter on the flat and have some idea of basic laterals... I know many that by this time are already jumping 3' [I personally don't agree with this - I think they need a good year of flatwork only before they're even started over fences]. No sign of buck and a good lot of miles out on trails. I have to be able to trust it on trails alone before I will get on it bareback.

If I were to professionally break a horse for someone it would not leave without knowing what being ridden bareback was all about, but first things first I'd break it in a saddle and put the miles on it in a saddle... THEN bareback.
     
    12-27-2012, 09:07 PM
  #9
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by oh vair oh    
All of you bareback breakers better be taking video. It would be great entertainment!

Seriously, get a saddle. Why you have a horse before a saddle, I don't know.
The reason I have a horse before a saddle, is that my horse is only 2 and won't be needing a saddle for a while.
     
    12-27-2012, 09:09 PM
  #10
Started
I only have a weanling and I have 4 saddles... Just something you acquire when you think that you might be riding a horse in the future.

Now's the best time than ever to buy a saddle when you're about to break him.
     

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