Probably the most important event in a young horse’s life is how it is first backed and ridden away. The phrase ‘breaking in’ has now been abandoned, for maintaining and winning over the spirit and temperament of the youngster is as important as how it carries and obeys the rider.
For me, Natural Horsemanship’s claim of joining up and backing a horse in 20 minutes, is a short cut too far. It also does not work too well with the sharper temperament of a bright, fit thoroughbred or warmblood type! They need to learn to use their bodies differently with a rider than they do when loose with other horses.
When backing my youngster Connie I will be working with Greg Drummond and we will probably take 20 days over the process. This allows the horse time to mentally process the developments day by day and for a very gradual introduction of the different steps.
She will then be turned away for a month, then be ridden again for another month and so on, allowing her body to adjust to the changes. Follow Connie’s progress here.
Greg was brought up on a TB stud farm in New Zealand, and has developed his own process to slowly back youngsters over many years. He is in much demand in racing yards in the South West, and will be coming over to the Surrey/Sussex area over the summer to back Connie and some others in the area. If you know anyone with a youngster to back at their own yard, please contact me.