Whenever we get a new horse in, regardless of how much training they have had, we start from the absolute beginning with them. This allows us to get to know the horse and lets the horse get to know us and what to expect from us. It also lets us find out if there are any holes in their training.
Cerice's new 8 year old Friesian mare, Lyra, is a fully trained driving horse and has some riding experience too. Lyra has been no exception in our start from the ground up policy. So far she's done great with all the ground work and Cerice has backed her. We bitted her today for the first time, and she did get a little panicky. We took that opportunity to practice putting the bit in and taking it out of her mouth (since she's got such a long neck and can get her head up so high it's easier if she's relaxed about the whole thing). We made sure there was lots of praise and were calm and cool about it all. She relaxed quite a bit and we ended on a good note. It's always important to end on a good note with a relaxed horse. They carry that feeling through to the next lesson.
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Pangaea Equestrian Services provides tips, tricks, and thoughts on care, training, and discussion topics for our friends in the horse world.