Starting The Youngsters Means It's Springtime

Feb 21, 2011 - 9:58 AM
One of Elly Schobel's young horses goes for his first hack with the help of Andalusian stallion Oyente (right). Photo by Elly Schobel.

A number of years ago, I decided to breed two of my competition mares (one successful thru FEI, the other in-hand) to one of my favorite stallions, with hopes for two healthy equine athletes. Well, fast forward a few years and here we are—starting those youngsters under saddle.

Mind you, I usually start my own horses but was unable to find anyone to be my ground person. As a personal preference, I NEVER start a horse by myself. Longeing, laying over them, first time over the back, the first tentative (and often very wobbly) steps are, in my opinion, easier to manage with a competent helper.

As luck would have it, my new neighbor (actually, I am the new one in the neighborhood) Heather Carlson, an upper-level eventer, is also a young horse specialist. How lucky am I?!

So Feb. 14 was a VERY special day for me (and not for the obvious reasons). Raison de Croire, my tall, rather explosive (and seriously ugly) 4-year-old (we call him Nubsy), and Reve Dore, my equine ‘smarty pants’ were introduced to tack and rider.

Surprisingly, the 4-year-old was unimpressed and took everything in stride. The 3-year-old was not happy about being mounted from the right (both Heather and I insist that horses need to be handled/mounted from both sides), but did get over it quickly.

Just four days later, Heather and the 3-year-old ventured out of the round pen and, following behind my Andalusian Grand Prix stallion Oyente’, went for a walk around the farm.

Both youngsters are off this week for good behavior. Heather and I will continue to start the next two youngsters. Yep, Spring has officially arrived!


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