STARTING A HORSE... DIRFT
🐴 Starting a horse… 🐴
When I’m trusted to start a horse it’s always a great privilege, and it should be so even if you’re starting your own. I now take considerably longer than many people to start a horse and much longer than I did a decade ago. The main reason for this would be simply due to continued education, as we learn and educate ourselves, we change, we develop and we progress, it’s the way of the world in general.
If you have a young horse, I highly recommend taking the time to educate yourself on how they learn, how you can help them be the best version of themselves and what you can do personally to be the best partner you can be.
Starting a horse is a big responsibility for me and I have to be prepared to bear that responsibility every single time, honestly, sometimes it can be a heavy weight because I am genuinely passionate about the work I do, it’s difficult to spend so many hours with an animal and not become invested in and connected to them.
Let’s put things into perspective; a horse has (hopefully) been nurtured and cared for for some years prior to being started. Breeding fees have been paid, a mare has been fed and cared for and sleepless nights have been spent waiting for a safe arrival. Foals have been reared, fed and cared for, vet bills have been paid. Hopefully your horse has a long and prosperous future ahead, they may work into their 20’s so let’s say 3-4 years of care prior and up to 16+ years ahead of them.
Many people already have aspirations for their equine partners from a young age. When I’m working with a horse to be started I’m mostly thinking about longevity and the future rather than just the work we’re doing at the time, this can make deadlines all the more daunting. The way each horse learns to move its body may affect their long term soundness, the way a horse deals with the pressures of the future and their environment can be influenced, there will be many firsts, it’s my job to make sure these are positive to avoid contributing to any negative associations or fear of certain things or situations, the way a horse views people, handling and work is shaped.
In just a few months I am challenged to make sure responses and coping mechanisms are adequately in place to advance each horse into their new career, that they can be confident and forgiving enough to allow for our inevitable mistakes along the way, that they can carry their riders to achieve their hopes and dreams and reach their true potential and enable them to be valued for years to come.
Excitement or pressure from others around can get the best of people when it nears time for a horse to be started but I urge everyone to reflect on the importance of these foundations and what they mean for your horse, not just today or tomorrow, but long into their futures. Just a few months can influence future decades and as someone dear to me used to say…DIRFT…do it right the first time.
CADENCE HORSE TRAINING
Striving to maintain an encouraging and inclusive culture among fellow equestrians. We're passionate about all things equine including behaviour, biomechanics, training and horsemanship!