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A Typical First Ride for a Horse in the Rising K Ranch Training Program

   For the first several rides on a horse, my primary intent is not so much to "Train" the horse to do anything; but is simply to give the horse time to gain confidence with a rider on his back as he moves around the round pen naturally. For a horse's first rides, pulling on him usually creates life-long bad habits, so I do all I can to keep out of his mouth or face. If he must be pulled on, such as when the rider first climbs on his back, he should be pulled on with only one rein for the purpose of moving his hip out of the way to keep him from moving too quickly and scaring himself. Once the horse is calmly moving his hip away from my leg, I can allow the horse to walk or trot out at a loose rein. At this stage, I am not concerned about where the horse goes, as long as he is moving forward. On a horse that has not learned bad habits already, it does not take very long before the horse is even able to lope out and stop comfortably and on a loose rein.

Pilgrim, a Rising K Ranch Horse, Working a Cow

 

   In this video, I was simply allowing Pilgrim to work a cow as much on his own as possible, right or wrong, just to help him build his confidence on a cow. A horse's being able to watch a cow and trust his own decisions is an important aspect of any good cowhorse.

Hackamore Work with Tenbrooks, a 2 Year Old Filly

 

   In this Video, I have Tenbrooks in a Hackamore for the third time. She had already been ridden in a snaffle for several months before this. The first hackamore ride was spent primarily at a walk, simply teaching her what the hackamore feels like and how she ought to respond to the nose buttons, the bosal cheeks, and the mecate underneath her chin. 

    There are some horses that really don't seem to appreciate the hackamore very much and in a case like that I will not force the issue, especially if I am only going to have the horse in training for a few months before he goes back home. However, if I am going to have a good horse for the years that it takes to make a good cowhorse, I often use a hackamore for a period of time for several reasons:

   1. It appeals to a sense of tradition that I like- especially the part that says a horse should not be rushed, but dealt with gently and patiently over a longer period of time to create a much more solid end result. I like the feel of a horse that learns exactly what each angle of the slow pull of a mecate means, and it is very satisfying to watch them learn it first at a walk, then a trot, the lope, then high rate of speed, then finally, high rate of speed working a cow.

   2. Along with the myriad snaffles, bridles and rigs, the hackamore is yet another way to teach a horse to be that much more soft and willing with yet another set of pressure points.

   3. It allows me, especially in the case of this horse, to create just the right neck and body positioning without even tempting the horse to open his mouth. Later on, we will want the horse to carry a bridle bit, so the more I can keep his mouth closed now, even without the aid of a caveson, the better.

Jazelle: A Client's Horse in Training at Rising K Ranch

   Jazelle came to Rising K Ranch to be started under saddle and stayed with us for a few months. 

First Trail Ride on A Client's Horse in Training at Rising K Ranch

 

   If you spend a little time in the Round Pen or Arena teaching a horse what your hands and legs mean, you will be much less likely to have to pull on their mouth so much out on the trail the first several times just to get them around or over trail obstacles such as logs, rocks and ravines, of which there are many here in Southern Utah. There are of course exceptions, but this is about a typical first trail ride for a horse in training at Rising K Ranch.

Walking Over a Tarp on Rico, a 2 Year Old Gypsy Vanner Stud Horse in Training at Rising K Ranch

 

   Rico is as gentle of a stud horse as they come and very willing, even at two years old. In this video, we had just taught him that tarps will not kill a horse.

 

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    2937 W 3800 S
    Cedar City, UT 84720
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