Friday I ran a pre-ride checklist on Nuri. He has lovely transitions and gaits, his hindquarter yields are excellent, and most important… he really likes people. Where he is weak is on his understand of how to properly yield to various types of pressure on the front end, which is an essential skill for any horse, but especially a stallion! On Wednesday he also showed overreaction to stimulus touching his flanks and hindquarters, but this is 90% better today.
Julie and I prefer to ride a horse this green in a side pull (which is basically a rope halter with reins attached) rather than a bit. As long as you can disengage the horse’s hind end with one rein, riding a young horse off of a side pull is no more dangerous than riding with a bit in a horse’s mouth, and it is better for the horse because he doesn’t get anxious about the bit hurting his mouth while he is learning about rein pressure and still making mistakes (or the rider makes mistakes!) Please note that colt starting and riding is inherently dangerous, and that throughout the course of this blog the techniques we describe are for use by professionals only and not intended as advice or instruction.
I rode Nuri in the side pull in the walk only for about 10 minutes mostly letting him calmly wander and get used to the feel and weight of me on his back. Occasionally I would check his hindquarter yielding on one side or the other. The left side is a little better than the right, which matches up with his ground work. He feels pretty accepting and calm with the rider, and takes direction well.