A Year of Firsts: The All-Important First Ride

Of all the memorable 'firsts' you'll share with your horse, none will likely generate the combination of excitement and apprehension quite like climbing into the saddle for your first ride. Without question, asking your horse to take those few initial steps with you in the saddle can be daunting. In this article, trainer and clinician Josh Nichol shares training methods that will help you and your horse prepare for that all-important first ride. Getting Started "Your first ride is the natural progression of groundwork, which makes it crucial as ever to review past lessons before moving on," said Nichol. "Begin by verifying that your horse's mind is relaxed and focused as you ask him to soften through the lead rope while moving his nose, shoulder and hindquarters out of your space from both sides. "You should also be able to ask him forward at a walk, trot, canter and back…

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