Knowing your limitations

Casparov has started his life as a riding horse. I backed him back in the winter and then he got 3½ months off before I started him up again. These days I am riding him for around 10-15 minutes every other day.

Last week we had a small mishap at the mounting block. Casparov is not a big fan of the whole mounting process, but stands still as soon as he has been convinced to go to the mounting block. Friday went as usual, he stood still on a long rein while I got up. I collected the reins and then it happened. Instead of stepping forward, he stepped a little to the side with his hind legs. His left hind leg got stuck in the mounting block (we use a fragile wooden stool for mounting).

This of course caused panic and running and kicking. Casparov is a pretty cool youngster and after around 15 m he had kicked the stool into pieces and stood still. It is the first time he has had me a little out of balance, but he took it quite well and I did not have to hit the sand.

The story here is not as much about how he was now a little skeptical about getting close to the mounting block again. It is more about me knowing that my patience may run out and my timing may not be good enough to reinstall his confidence in the mounting block. Luckily for me, I have good friends in all parts of the equestrian world. A phone call later I had an appointment Saturday morning with Julie Guldbæk. Julie has spent a lot of time refining her training of horses that are skeptical or worried about certain things, and she is an expert at loading and teaching horses to stand still when mounting.

He was not too impressed in the beginning.

After around 15 minutes it was much better.

Today came the big test to see if I could do it myself. Now that all the buttons are installed it is much easier to ask him to do it. He knows what is expected and that makes it a lot easier to make him comfortable with the whole process.