To be sure that the ponies will be safe in all kind of riding situations, I have to prepare them well.
After our first lessons they already got the basic concept. They understand my signals for moving forward, right, left, stop and back up. When I put the saddle on, I also expose them to things that moves, touches them and make a noise. That way, I will keep training them how to stay soft and keep listening to me even if they don’t understand, even if they are afraid or even if they don’t want to.
When the time is right the rider will take place in the saddle. As you can see on these films, one of the purposes of first riding lesson for both Chieftain and Puck, is to get them used to being touched all over by the rider and to stay soft even if the rider is moving arms, legs or body.
When I got Chieftain it was obvious that he was really uncertain when the rider got up on him. Also, he was scared of things catched in the corner of his eyes as well as sounds, especially from behind. So, to be able to impose his capacity, I need to make him brave.
Puck on the other hand, needed to calm down, focus and concentrate on the handler or the rider. She had a tendency to just run away from all kinds of work, while her mind was occupied with everything else around her. She is judged as “spooky”, and that is what I will put an effort in to change. It is obvious that she is used to the rider holding her back with the reins so I need to teach her how to give to the bit instead of pushing against it and get heavy in the hand. At the beginning of this process I want her to stop for one rein, and to slow down when I put her in a smaller circle without puling the reins.