Natural Sporthorse



Learning with your horse

Fear issues

Working with Mares

Riders with Young and/or Green Horses

There are many ways to start a young horse or to re-school an older one. We hope that you enjoy getting an inside peek at some of the things that take place at our clinics, such as free work in the round pen, groundwork, longeing, longlining, and preparation for mounting to name a few. Establishing trust and respect that goes both ways between a horse and its person means that the person is willing to take the time to truly understand their horse. The great variety of responses and reactions that come from the horse as they attempt to understand the human provide invaluable opportunities for learning good horsemanship, the foundation for whatever kind of work under saddle is to come.

Photos by Joyce Scott

Echo, 3-year-old Oldenburg mare.

Stretching the topline to soften the body and relax the mind.

Standing quietly at the end of the lead.

Accepting the saddle.

Free work in the round pen, adjusting to the saddle.

Coming in again to be with the person.

Lowering the head to accept the bridle.

Learning to stand quietly at the mounting block.

Accepting a person's foot in the stirrup.

Accepting a "new" person.

Going for a walk with a rider for the first time.

Like most warmbloods, this mare will not fully mature until age six or seven. She will therefore not be "put to work" until her body has developed adequately
to perform the task at hand without risk of injury or the kind of prolonged strain and tension that often forces early retirement.

Whisper, 4-year-old Hanoverian mare.

Accepting direction in the round pen.

"Leading" by the tail.

Learning to ground tie,
then later, accepting the saddle ->

Adjusting to the feel of the saddle and bridle
while in motion.

Reconnecting with a good scratch behind the ears.

Longlining using a cavesson.

Preparation work for mounting at the block.

When Whisper is comfortable and quiet carrying a bit,
she is ridden in a halter and lead rope.

Flipping the rope from one side of the neck to the other
for better steering.

Using a halter and lead helps the horse transfer what they learned during ground work to being ridden under saddle. It also challenges the rider to stay off a young horse's sensitive and uneducated mouth while improving feel and timing as they learn to communicate with their bodies using a soft touch. Although removing the reins may at first feel like a handicap to the person, nothing beyond the rider's capacity or the horse's preparedness is asked for.

At the trot.

Out of the round pen to an open arena.

Out of the arena and on to their first trail ride.

Whisper takes the lead.

Weeks later, the reins are softly introduced.

Whisper the following year, 2010.

Learning to "pony" is another great way... start a young horse or re-school an older one.

For more information about Terry Church clinics in the South Bay, please contact: Liz Arrington