Here’s an unedited three minutes of the kind of first ride under saddle that we like to see. This is my intern Maddy Baker on Chandra, a young Arabian mare who is sweet, playful, and dominant.
Chandra’s first ride under saddle was a pleasant experience for both horse and rider. And isn’t that the goal, not just for the first ride but for every ride? No bucking, no fireworks, nothing that would cause the rider’s (or the horse’s!) mother to worry. Just a safe, interesting, and enjoyable experience that can be built upon in subsequent rides.
About two minutes into the video you’ll see Quest, another young Arabian we are starting. Quest provides Chandra with a horse buddy and a friend to follow around during her ride. As you can see, Quest is totally unconcerned about his own saddle. (Luckily it’s an old beat-up thing we are using for training, and not his owner’s real and quite possibly expensive saddle….)