How Do You Develop a Partnership With a New Horse?
We recently talked with some of our BioStar riders of multiple disciplines to hear how they approach bringing a new horse into their program and how they develop their partnership with the new addition. Read on to hear their words of advice when saddling up with a new equine partner:
“Riding a new horse is exciting, but sometimes can be overwhelming! In general, I like to bring the new horse to a show right away. Horses tend to have different behavior at the show than they do at home, especially in the ring. Seeing their tendencies at a show early on gives you a better idea of what to work on at home. Then, I like to have a good chunk of time to work at home. I try to have goals and work towards those every day. When you go to the next competition, you’ll have a good read on what’s improved and what still needs work.
I find it very important to study the show videos, especially when pairing with a new mount. All the details matter! It’s easy to get discouraged, but you must remember it’s a long process. My mentor, Katie Prudent, always said it takes a year to get to know a horse. This is very true! Don’t let setbacks disappoint but rather take them as a learning experience to build for the future.”
“It’s nice to spend a little time at home getting to know a new horse, doing flatwork, gymnastics and some course work — then we take that to the show ring. It’s a combination of getting to know them at home and getting to know them in the ring, as well as them getting to know you. Learning where all the buttons are and what their strengths and weaknesses are, and being able to help them in the ring a certain way.
For younger horses, what you’re going to do at home is probably more basic and straightforward, and you have time on your side. It’s definitely a big difference between young horses and older horses — for older horses you are mostly just getting to know them and forming a partnership. I try to keep things as simple and straightforward as possible.”
“Meeting new horses is, for me, a lot like meeting a new colleague. You’re going to be working together, so it helps to figure out if you share similar approaches to work itself. If the horse is already going under saddle, I like to give her a good grooming, tack her up, and take her in the arena to ask some basic “work” questions like transitions between and within gaits and some lateral work.
I try to figure out where my aids work for her and where I need to translate them and listen to see where we can go from there. That first ride–and really, the first week of rides–set the tone for how we will do together, so I really try to get it right!”
Photo Credits: Phelps Media Group