All my horses have been started as 2 year olds. Light walking/trotting. All were started slow and easy.
Once all the ground work was done. They were comfortable with a saddle, bridle, voice commands and so on...I started getting on them. I was 100 pounds when all my horses were younger. I wore a helmet, my mom was there holding the horse at the time. I never had any issues with them freaking out. All my horses were great.
Id start by putting weight in the saddle...lean, then get off. Go to the other side, put weight in the saddle, lean, and get off. Then when they were comfortable with that, id lay across the saddle while my mom led them a few steps. If all was well, id slowly swing my leg over and sit there. Feet out of stirrups for quick dismount if needed, and my mom would lead us around.
After a few sessions id add either a halter and reins, or a bit into the mix. I would give the signals while my mom held the leadrope for extra control. I would turn left or right, stop when I wanted.
After a few more sessions, my mom would unclip and walk besides up and then slowly move further away.
That's the very basic version of how I start my horses.
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