Is Your Horse Ready to Ride? Find out before you get on
"Spring is finally here and we’re all anxious to get back in the saddle. But if your horse has been laid off all winter, don’t get in too big of a hurry to get on.
When a horse hasn’t been ridden for a while, I will sure work him from the ground first. I’ll check him out on the lead rope and use a flag to bring out a desire to move, which gives me an opportunity to see how he feels about things. And it gives me a chance to direct the feet. What I really care about is being able to control the hindquarters. If I can direct the hindquarters, then I can control them whether I’m on the ground or in the saddle.
It’s both a look and a feel I’m searching for. The look is what you see when he’s on his own; moving like it’s his idea. The feel is where it doesn’t weigh anything; all four feet are united and he’s mentally in the game with me.
In myStarting Over video, I work with two young horses that hadn’t been ridden in a couple of years. They buck a little bit with the saddle at first and it’s not uncommon for that to happen if a horse hasn’t been ridden in a while. A lot of times he’s just uncomfortable. He’d rather not be wearing those clothes and he’s just expressing his discomfort with something he’s not used to having on.
To get comfortable or feel safe a horse might need to buck or run. Sometimes you have to allow them that and give them a chance to get comfortable. You’ve got to hang in there until they come around and find their comfort zone and it’s sure better to do that on the ground than in the saddle." -Joe Wolter