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Alyssa's Training Experience Part 2

Merlin, my pony which I broke in myself earlier this year came back into Forest Park at the end of May – remaining in work for about a month. Merlin now stands at about 13.3hh+ and has filled out after his holiday in the paddock. For the first few days I repeated many things I did last time he was in to refresh his memory. This included brushing, rugging and leading. For the next few days I set to work lunging him and long reining him around the riding school to expose him to all of the different things around the place. I long reined him over poles and even over our small wooden bridge for horses to walk over. After about 3 days of long reining it was time to ride Merlin. From his first ride back he was as quiet as a lamb – he had remembered all of the aids for stop, go, right, left and rein back. The next day I rode Merlin in the indoor arena over trot poles, bending around cones etc. He was so willing to do anything I asked and amazed me how relaxed such a young pony could be. I practiced waving my arms out to the side and clapping them on my legs – he didn’t seem to mind at all. For the next few days I rode Merlin in all 3 of our arenas – exposing him to all of the different noises, items and high activity of a riding school. I rode him with other horses and also by myself. I also rode around our property – up the grass lanes and around the driveways near cars. From our second ride I rode him over the small bridge every second ride – to which he had no problem and was happy to go straight over. By the 4th ride Merlin was beginning to understand the routine. He was standing very well to un-rug, saddle, bridle, brush all over and wash. He also stood very well to shoe and clip up. Merlin was starting to go nice and forward when I rode him – he had an amazing canter which was very balanced and free for such a young pony. I also started working on sitting trot. I then went out for a ride down to the sand arenas with 3 of our Warmbloods. This was Merlin’s first ride out of the riding school ever! He was so relaxed and I loved his walk because he managed to keep up with the others and not lag behind. In the large sand arenas he happily trotted and cantered around freely and also walked home nice and relaxed. I also stopped lunging Merlin before riding him – he didn’t even worry about the rain on the roof of the arena. A few more rides later I rode him for the first time out of a stock saddle and in a small jumping saddle. It was now time for Merlin to jump! I started over a small vertical and it took a few goes for me to figure out the best way to ride him over jumps. Once I got him more together he started to get the hang of it. I then cantered an entire course with planks and a double – at about 60cm. He was perfect! Merlin travelled forward over every jump and really seemed to understand what I wanted. It is such a wonderful experience to see a horse learning things for the first time! Merlin has now had a few weeks holiday in the paddock and will soon come back in for his third time. I am so excited to have such a wonderful pony and know he will be a super child’s pony in the future!! The best thing about this experience is that I am learning how to train a young breaker, at the same time that he is learning to be ridden and handled for the first time. I am so excited for him to come back into work.

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