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A young horse can be trained to accept a rider through a process of leaning on the horse, jumping next to the horse and getting it comfortable with human movement and pressure. Learn how to get a young horse comfortable for riders with helpful advice in this video on training horses.
Hi, I'm Rick Gore from Travis Equestrian Center. Today, we're going to talk about how to teach a young horse to accept a rider. If you watch some of the other videos, you're going to learn about sacking out and getting a horse used to things. Accepting a rider is nothing more than an advanced sack out technique to where I'm desensitizing the horse to me being on him and jumping on him. This horse needs to know that no matter what I throw on him, no matter what I have on him, he shouldn't be scared. He knows this ain't going to hurt him, he knows it's not going to hurt him, I'm not going to do anything to hurt him, he's used to it, I can hit him with it, if it falls, if I drop it on him, if I set it on him, if I pound on it, if I throw it underneath him, he knows that this blanket isn't going to hurt him. So if you've done your sack out tools correctly, and you've taught your horse to accept different things, then you want to accept him on how to accept a rider. So if this horse is young and I've been working with him since he's young, I should have been preparing him to accept a rider. And I prepare him by doing that by leaning on him. When I'm brushing him I'm putting weight on him. I kind of reach over and hang on him for a minute. I kind of lean against him, I'm teaching him to accept my pressure so he knows it's no big deal if he gets pressure on his back. As I'm walking around I'm putting pressure on him, I'm leaning, I may get up on a stool and lean over on him. He's not cooperating because he wants to be nosy here. So if you've got a fence or you want to tie him by a fence, you can climb on the fence and again, you want to lean on him and put pressure. So after he gets used to that and he's telling me I don't care if you do that, then I'm going to start slowly jumping and making movements like I'm going to get on him. You can't just get on a horse because then it will scare them. So now I'm going to jump next to him and let him know hey, if I jump next to you, it's OK. OK? So he's getting a little nervous saying hey why are you jumping on me? Are you going to get on me? I don't want you to. So then I jump, he stands still, I stop. I jump, he stands still, I stop. Always do it on both sides. I'm on this side, I jump, he stands still and I stop. So that's preparing him. I've done all this preparation from all this time working with him since he was a baby on getting him used to me being around him, under him, behind him and now I'm working on top of him. So that time I jumped on him I stayed for just a couple seconds, just to see how he was going to react and to let him know if he lets me on his back, I'm going to get off. And he let me stay there for a little bit longer. So I got off him pretty quick, I let him know hey, you did a good job. And I may do this five minutes, three times a day for two or three days, until I totally know that he's like no big deal, you can jump on me. Then I may want to try to get all the way up there and hang. And now I'll get off. So the first time was a few seconds, that time I stayed for 3 or 4 or 5 seconds. So I increase the time in small increments so I know the horse knows the right answer is to stand still. If I jump on this horse and stay on here until he moves, rears, bucks or gets scared, then he thinks the only way to get me off is if I move. I don't want him thinking that. I have to think like a horse and say if you jump on me and I don't move, that means you'll get off. So that means I'm going to stand still because I want you to get off. So once he's accepted those, I know you're a good boy. Since I'm on a hill here, and I'm a little older, I'm having a hard time getting up over him, I'm going to see if he'll let me lean on him and get used to me being on top of him. So I'm higher than him so his head's up, he's like what are you doing up there, I'm not real comfortable with this. That's OK, he needs to be comfortable with it. He needs to know that I'm not going to hurt him and that it's OK for me to be above him. It's OK for me to lean on him and then get off of him. So I put pressure and release. Everything with a horse, the horse learns on release. So when I put pressure, I have to let him know it's going to stop. He's thinking right now, what do I need to do to get this crazy guy off of me? He needs to stand still. I got off him, he's like phew, all I need to do is stand still and this guy will get off me, perfect. After I do that a few times, then I'm going to lay on him for 5 seconds or so, let him get used to it, I know you're a good boy. After he doesn't give a response pretty good, I'm going to slide off him, tell him good boy. Slowly making these small increments of time, on top of him, teaches him that it's OK for me to be on top of him because I've taken my time, I've prepared him correctly that it's OK for me to be up here. And it's OK for me to slide off and it's OK for me to go anywhere I need to go, and he's used to it because I've done my homework and I set him up for success instead of getting in a hurry and setting him up a fail. So that's how you teach a horse to accept a rider.