Quest is a three-year-old Arabian gelding who came to EPI to be started. He recently had his first official ride, with my intern Maddie as his passenger, and I’m happy to report that the session went well from start to finish.
To start, Quest left his hay to be caught, even though the other horses in his pasture were still eating. When brought into the arena, he wanted to roll, so we offered him the rope. He had a nice roll and then he took a nap.
Maddie hung out with him for about 20 minutes, during which time Quest allowed her to touch him all over. When he was ready, he got up, and we began the games to prepare him for his first ride.
The first step is for him to accept the human without any tack. I helped Maddie lie over his back while he stood still, from the left side and then from the right. Then she lay over his back while I helped move his feet. She crawled around on him and sat up on him while I continued to help him move his feet.
His first “ride” looked like this:
Quest did well over all. He was bothered when we would pull on his mane, but he recovered well. We will do this for as many sessions as he needs until we feel that he is first tolerating us and then accepting us on his back.