Preparing for a Filly's First Ride

Preparing for a Filly's First Ride

My young half-Arabian sporthorse filly is training up nicely. She’s learning to move away from pressure, and she’s gaining rhythm and balance in all her gaits. This one shows plenty of promise.

Although it is still very early in her training, we’re getting quite close to the day when she will accept a rider.

For the past few days, before a professional trainer has worked with the young horse, I have experimented a bit with her. Because this filly and I have been together since she was foaled, we have enjoyed a trusting relationship from the start.

Spotting a friend playing with her somewhat skittish (formerly feral) mare and an old boot bag, I opted to try the technique myself with my green sporthorse.

I have been placing an old tall boot bag, containing an actual pair of riding boots, over the saddle while working with her in the round pen. The first time I did this, I allowed her to look at the boot bag and sniff it a bit before sliding it onto the top of the saddle. She looked at me (perhaps for assurance) and apparently decided to go along with the program.

This sacking-out technique seems to be working, as the filly is readily accepting the load and the bounce of the boots. She continues to move forward willingly and obediently, without concern for the slapping of the heavy boot bag upon her sides.

Walking next to the filly, I have pressed a boot against her side, and she has stepped sideways promptly, even as she will one day do under saddle.

These photos were taken with a cellular phone camera, so the resolution is poor, but the images display the technique.

Photo copyrighted by Nickers and Ink.

Soon, she will be ready to ride!

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