This past week, Eddie had his first few rides — uneventful, just the way we like them. It took him a bit of time to give to the bend Joel was asking him for, but with the patience and great releases of a well-practiced teacher, he got there. He was also uncertain about what Joel’s leg meant when asking for hindquarters, but again, figured it out soon enough under Joel’s tutelage.

Times like these remind how important it is to hang in there and wait for the correct action from the horse before granting a release. Had he thrown in the towel before Edward had moved his hind over, or bent appropriately, it would have sent Eddie the message that a release could come for doing the ‘wrong’ thing. It is inevitable that not every release will be perfect, but we try our best to make the ratio of correct releases to incorrect ones skewed in the favor of the former. Especially with young horses who are just learning, these positive experiences can provide a great baseline of knowledge from which they can draw from. Clearly communicating with the horse starting with the very first ride helps to teach them expectations for subsequent rides.

And proof is in the pudding — on Edward’s second ride, he was more understanding than his first, and on his third, even better. Because he is still so green, this understanding between himself and his rider is somewhat tenuous — it would be easy at this point for him to get confused about what was being asked of him. However, with each ride he will continue to grow a bit more sure, and one day it will be difficult to imagine he was ever an un-started gelding with a bit of a wild streak.