The First Ride, tips?

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The First Ride, tips?

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    01-07-2012, 10:29 PM
The First Ride, tips?

I have been training Scarlet, a 4 year old Bashkir Curly mare, since we got her 5 months ago. It has been progressing quite well for a while, but today (1/7/12) I worked with her and felt very good about where she was. If it hadn't been dark out I probably would have taken the step to have someone "commit" to riding her. I have put all my weight on her, had the saddle on multiple times while working with her and it does not bother her the slightest. (The cinch makes her a tad cranky initially, but she is curious and accepting.)

What really impressed me is she acted like my gelding. I have bombproofed my horses pretty much by acting over the top around them. People look at me like I am crazy - which is only a bit true - but hey, it works. She just stood there as a jumped around, I put a scarf on her neck, put a blanket on her, set a cat on her back; miscellaneous redicuous things which she reacted to with calm curiousity. She just really trusted me and stayed calm the whole time. I could have her do stuff off-lead and she listened impecably to my body signals.

But anyhow, I really wanted to know what I should ask of her in the first ride. I figure I should probably just mount and dismount a few times before going anywhere, but should I push it any farther than that? What sort of things should I work on? I know if she is not ready I am not going to get on her, but if there is another opportunity like this I won't hesitate to take it.

I also am not looking for someone to tell me to go to a trainer; I am not asking for that. My trainer told me if she trusts me and listens well then I should ease into riding her. Either way I would be the first one to get on her. I will take her the trainer's in the spring/summer and get lessons and work on forming her into an enjoyable riding horse.

But I just need ideas, so I would love it if anyone has suggestions or stories of how it went with them getting on their horse for the first time, or a horse they were breaking. Safety is definitely always in mind, and I will make sure to take it seriously.

Pictures are from today.
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    01-07-2012, 11:24 PM
My mare is very calm and mellow, she is much sweeter and saner than my gelding always. She just turned four, I started her in May of last year.

When I was ready to ride, I saddled like normal, lunged her while bitted up and worked on transitions from walk to jog to lope and back down both directions, then took her in a round pen and tightened the girth - I always keep it loose at first to minimize cinchiness and tighten as we go. Then (after a deep breath and quick prayer) put my foot in the stirrup, stepped up, reassured her while slightly over her, then swung my leg over her and sat down. Patted her, swung my leg back off and got down. Lots of praise. Repeated from both sides about a dozen times, then called it a day.

The next day repeated the above process just a couple times from both sides, then asked her to walk around the round pen. She had been ground driven so was familiar with the rein pressure and directions, she had been lunged so was familiar with the voice commands to move forward. We walked and stopped, I dismounted, got back on, walked, stopped, and turned all over the round pen.

The next day we added a jog. A week or so later when we both felt confident we added the canter.

The next few weeks we walked, jogged, cantered, bended, stopped, backed, and then went on a trail ride with a fearless gelding in a quiet park.

Your mare looks confident, and it seems she trusts you, I think you are doing a great job. I would work on the cinchiness issue, maybe try the little bit looser at first method, and correct with a spank on her shoulder or growl if she shows her displeasure at being tacked up... my mare did pinned her ears at first, but when she tried to move away or swung her head at me she got popped and was told "QUIT!" - now she accepts it as part of the price of getting three good meals a day, all the fresh water she can drink, a warm stall at night and lots of room to roam during the day as well as unconditional love :)
    01-07-2012, 11:42 PM
Aw she's cute :) and she sounds a lot like the morgan filly I started. She was great.
I'd just say keep doing what you are. And when you get up, sit and rub her down, and then get off. Maybe have someone lead you with her.. but it sounds like she'll progress fast :)
    01-07-2012, 11:51 PM
I'm glad to see another Curly owner! They are awesome aren't they?

Anyways. The first time I'm on my horses, I'm NEVER alone! Wear a helmet just in case. I see your leaning across her back and she obviously doesn't seem to mind. Looks like you've done a wonderful job with groundwork and desensitizing her.

I'd have someone help you (mom or dad maybe? Friend?) and have them hold your mare while you swing all the way up. Don't ask her to move, just have her get used to your weight on her. Try not to hit her in the behind with your foot while your swinging it over her back. That may cause her to bolt forward. Once your on, just sit there, try not to move. And then get off. Repeat. Once she is comfortable with your weight, move around a little bit. Wiggle some, swing your legs slightly, but don't make any sudden or big moves.

Get off her. You can end it there on a good note. Or if you want to continue, have the person helping you lead her around. I usually do this for a week or so to get them used to me being on them. If your using a saddle, keep your feet out of the strirrups for the time being incase she explodes at anytime. It'll be easier to bail off. If anything happens and it spooks her, always get back on and leave on a good note.

Curlies are by far the easiest breed that I've ever worked with. They are like a huge teddy bear. They are a breed that thinks things out first, as opposed to a breed that acts first. My trainer LOVES any Curlies that we send her because she knows they'll be easy to work with.

Is your mare papered? Do you know anything about her bloodlines? She looks like she's got the Bad Warrior breeding in her.

Where did you get her from?
    01-07-2012, 11:54 PM
Actually, I looked at her horse profile and realized I posted on here a little while ago. I know her sire...My step-aunt used to own him.
    01-08-2012, 10:57 AM
Thank you everyone for your replies! I think today I will work with her for 10-15 minutes on ground driving, then put her away and take her out later and just play some games to get her listening and see what we can do. :)

CLaPorte432 ~ I am definitely hooked on Curlies since getting her. She is from a farm called "Color Me Curly" but I got her from Don Mead, Joe Mead's brother. She is ABC registered and here is her pedigree.
    01-08-2012, 11:45 AM
She has a lovely pedigree. I remember seeing Thunder's Jewel at a ABCR show down in Indiana years and years ago. She passed away a few years ago.

I'm not sure how my step aunt got a hold of Mac. I thought it was that his owners passed away and she took on quite a few different Curlies from the farm. I don't remember and no longer speak to her for personal family reasons, so I can't verify the story.

Regardless, they are an absolutely wonderful breed. Your mare does carry the Warrior lines, she's a distant cousin to my boy!
    01-08-2012, 12:06 PM
Butt in the Dirt- She looks so much like my horse Curly! I know that Curly isn't a very original name for a curly, but he was already named that and he's the only curly around these parts, so I figured I'd keep it. :) lol

Anyway, this doesn't have much to do with your post, but it is more of a question for you and CLarPorte432. I am currently leasing my horse, but I am going to buy him (probably this month!). He doesn't have any paperwork. The BO that I am buying him from got him from someone here in town. He didn't have any info on him. All we know is that he is about 8 years old and he was very hungry and LONG over due for a trim when they got him. Is there anyway that I can find out more about him? Do you think it would be inappropriate for me to call the previous owner and ask. He obviously was no longer able to care for him and it might be a touchy situation. His background makes absolutely no difference on whether I will buy him, I'm just dying of curiosity! Also, do either of you have gaited curlies? I sent CLarPorte432 a pm, but I'm not sure I did it right. :)

Anyway, sorry to not reply correctly to your post. I have no idea about training as I have only been riding for 3 months, but I do love curlies and I was so excited to see you both talking about pedigrees! LOL By the way, I love that hat on your mare! Too cute.
    01-08-2012, 01:35 PM
Newby, I replied to your PM but I don't think I did it right. LoL. It's on my profile page? Anyways, no my Curly isn't gaited, and looks like ButtInTheDirt's isn't either from looking at the pedigree. We have to stock type Curlies that relate back to foundation quarter horses.

You could try contacting the ABCR (American Bashkir Curly Registry) and see if they'll be able to help you out in your quest for history on your Curly. You may be able to send in a blood or hair sample and they may be able to compare it to anything they have on file to find out more about your horse's ancestry.

Was Curly caught off the range wild through the BLM? That might make it difficult for them to research but you never know. I would definitely shoot them an email explaining your situation. You could try contacting his previous owner, you might get somewhere but then again, you might not. I can't say it would hurt though.
    01-08-2012, 01:36 PM
Sounds like you have done a great job so far! Definitely agree on having another person around to help or at least keep an eye on you, and wear a helmet! You never know how they will react. I feel it's all about what you and the horse are comfortable with. No need to do things in a rush, and when you push too far too fast, that's where you run into the problems. I would just lay over her and then bring your leg on the other side, quietly, slowly raise yourself into sitting up position (which can startle some horses when they see something tall on top of them). Lots of petting and praising. If you feel comfortable doing more and she's behaving well, go for it. Just take things one step at a time and make sure you are both totally ok with everything before moving to the next step. Mount and dismount, wiggle around on top of her, touch her all over with your hands and legs, on her neck and butt. Then maybe take a little walk around. I wouldn't be overly concerned with steering, just letting her get used to the weight of the rider. And ALWAYS ALWAYS end on a good note!! Good luck with her, she's a cutie! I bet she will be just fine.

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