The most important event in a horse’s life is how it is first backed and ridden away. Yet, in our quick-fix world, it is still taking time for people to abandon the idea of ‘breaking in’ young horses. They are impressed with quick results, with no understanding of the need to build a foundation for the long term. Working to develop the balance of a youngster and understanding their personality is more important than obeying the rider.
For me, natural horsemanship’s pride in joining up and backing a horse in 20 minutes, is a short cut too far. It focuses on submission rather than partnership and understanding, And it also does not work too well with the sharper temperament of a bright, fit thoroughbred or warmblood type! Horses need time to learn to re-balance and use their bodies differently with a rider.
When simply backing youngsters we take at least 20 days over the process. This allows for a gradual introduction of the different steps. The horse has time to mentally process the developments day by day. They are then turned away for a couple of months, then ridden again and so on, allowing their bodies to grow and adjust to the changes.
Its just like the old story of the tortoise and the hare….