I was pleased to see so many people sharing my post on Skeletal Maturity. If you haven’t read it yet here is a link: https://janniesmit.com.au/skeletal-maturity/
As for most, riding is the main goal with their horses but if we can’t ride them before they get close to (skeletal) maturity (5 or 6 years old) what can we do with them before they reach that age?
There are many steps we need to take to prepare both horse and human for riding.
First of all the young horse needs to learn how to be a horse from its own species, growing up in a herd.
When the time is right the young horse can be introduced to its new home, new herd of horses and its human. This takes time and gives us a beautiful opportunity to observe and get to know each other.
From here we can start to create a mutual language that is based on body language. It is crucial that we as humans work on mastering our own body awareness to achieve a high level of communication with our horses.
In the basic groundwork we can strengthen this language we have created between us and introduce tools. We explore the physical and mental balance of our horse as we build an engaged connection needed to progress to the technical work.
The gymnastic groundwork is for lateral and horizontal development, to create a strong, supple and balanced horse before we ask him to carry us. I also call this Riding from the Ground which is a bridge between groundwork and riding.
When the horse gets close to skeletal maturity and found balance on the ground we can start backing the horse so he can find its balance while carrying us.
And finally we come to the riding. This is where relationship, communication, and body-mind awareness comes together with the new addition of the seat.
Throughout this whole process you will come back to each and every one of these steps. They offer many possibilities and opportunities and give great rewards.
By taking your time you will give your horse the best possible chance to become a heathy, happy and safe riding horse for many years to come.
I’ll dive deeper into each one of these steps in future blog post.
For more information on what I have to offer, like lessons, clinics, week(end) students positions or an intensive program, have a further look on my website here.