What a month January was for Team Joyce. Wes and I have our hands full with all our youngsters, Volta seems to be a young man now and not a baby colt. His overall body has matured, his legs,neck,rump and girth have thickened immensely and his facial shape becoming more and more attractive with those distinct Warmblood features. His eyes just melt when you look at him those big brown soft looking eyeballs put one in a trance instantly. His nature is wonderful , yes he is playful and loves to pick up the hose in his stable while one is trying to fill up his water bin, Volta picks it up with his teeth and swings it over his head! The only sad feature is of course his tail, we try our hardest not to look at it thank goodness it shall grow and its nice and thick so once it has grown back boy he will look just stunning!
Wes started the process of breaking Volta in. He has accepted the bridle and mouthing bit very happily. And this month we placed the saddle blanket and roller on with the bridle and side reins. He was taken up to the yard and taught how to lunge. The side reins were not clipped up at the start and then once he was trotting around contentedly we then connected the side reins loosely and tightened them a little by the end. This whole process is a calm and slow one, there is no rush and should always be an easy, fun and willing experience for the youngster/horse.
Breaking in your horse
The best age to introduce a horse to a rider depends on the individual horse and his breed and conformation. It is usually a good idea to wait until the growth plates in your horse’s legs are finished growing. Some breeds mature faster than others.t is also advisable to wait until your horse is mentally ready to accept carrying a rider.Before you mount your horse for the first time, he should already be willing and responsive to you on the ground. If a horse does not respect you on the ground, he will not respect you when you are on top of him. He should lunge in both directions, understand the words “walk”, “trot”, “canter”, and “whoa”, and be accepting of the saddle and bridle. Finishing your groundwork is the first step in saddle training your horse.Be sure to lunge your horse before you start backing him. This serves two purposes. First, it gets him in the mind set of listening to you, and second, it ensures that he is not fresh when you get on his back for the first time. After you lunge your horse to a sufficient degree, lead him to a quiet corner of the arena and have someone come over to help you, preferably someone who is knowledgeable when it comes to horses. Have your helper hold your horse while you work with him.
How to lunge your horse
Lunging is one of the most useful tools at your disposal for training your horse. When you lunge your horse, you get to watch how he moves and behaves from the center of the round round, rather than just feeling it from on top of his back. Most young horses are trained on the lunge line from the beginning so they can get used to working with people without endangering their owners.
Lunging your horse isn’t difficult, but it does require some coordination. If you’ve never lunged a horse before, it is a good idea to have someone standing outside the round yard to watch and critique your movements. If you don’t have someone who can watch, you’ll just have to practice until it comes naturally. Practice and patience is the key!
To lunge your horse properly, you’ll need a few pieces of equipment. First, we used a saddle blanket and a roller, with side reins. You should also have a good quality lunge whip, which is about six feet long and cracks like a bull whip. You can lunge your horse just about anywhere, but the best place to start is a round yard , ours is about 35 feet. Your horse should be wearing his bridle, though the saddle is optional.
Take your horse out to the round yard with his bridle already on. Close the round yard gate behind you and lead your horse to the center of the arena. You can either clip the lunge lead to his bit ring, or you can weave it through the ring and over his head to clip to the other side. This gives you more control. You’ll also want to remove the reins or thread them through the rings on the roller.
The point of lunging your horse is to instill obedience in your horse. For this reason, you should always start your horse off at the walk rather than sending him out on the circle at a gallop. With the end of the lunge lead in hand, step back behind your horse’s shoulder and ask him to walk. If he doesn’t move forward or tries to follow you, tap him on the rear with the lunge whip or the end of the lunge lead.
You want your horse to head out to the perimeter of the round yard and walk quietly in a circle. If he tries to break into a trot or a canter, give the line a sharp tug and tell him to walk. Continue this until he’s completed one full circuit of a round yard quietly. When you’re ready, you can ask him to trot.
To lunge your horse effectively, you’ll need to use proper technique. First, you should always be behind your horse’s shoulder because this is what keeps him forward. Never step out in front of him, or he’ll try to turn around. Secondly, you always want to keep the lunge lead in both hands, with the lunge whip trailing behind the horse. You don’t need to crack it unless your horse misbehaves or refuses to move forward.
When you are ready to switch directions, pull the lunge line and ask him to “whoa”. He should halt on the circle, facing the direction he was traveling moments before. If he turns to face you or tries to walk into the circle, send him back out at the trot until he halts correctly.
Lunging your horse will take some practice, but eventually it won’t seem difficult at all. Once you’ve mastered these techniques, you can try “free lunging”, which is to lunge your horse without a line. This requires that your horse respond well to voice commands, however, so don’t try it until you’re ready. There is no set time on any tasks really, just be kind and patient some learn faster than others therefore as trainers one should realise that patience is the key to success. In regards to Volta he lunges very well and quietly. He responds very well to Wes’s commands , watch the video below showing just a little bit of him in the round yard with no whip as he does not require one.
Tiffany lunging at Lever Equestrian in Belgium.
To read the full story click on https://lalshaven.au/tiffany-euro-story-3/
Volta was re-wormed on the 16th February.
Here are Volta’s sponsors!The one stop Produce & Saddlery shop! Equestrian Factory Outlet for all the latest Equestrian fashion