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Story of backing a youngster done by a 60 year old AA

Inspired of the pricing thread I went and looked through some pics from my young redhead. I took a bunch of pics and videos and maybe it’s interesting to do something like a diary from her path to hopefully becoming a dressage horse in the future. IMO the situation in my barn is pretty ideal but it shows well the variety of things we did with her and it also shows it’s not rocket science…

This was the first day when I brought her from her breeder to my boarding barn. She was a bit confused … the next day we let her free run in the indoor and turned her out on a paddock….


How old is she, Manni? Bloodlines? Can’t wait to see how she looks a year or so down the line as she starts laying in muscle in all the right places from good dressage work. Have fun with her!


Her head shows plenty of blood. Got to love the influence of Arab and TB, it can give gorgeous heads.

The rest–she is so much more than her head. After proving that she is a good riding horse she looks worthy of passing down her genes. You got a good mare there!


Thank you for being interested in her bloodlines :smiling_face_with_three_hearts::smiling_face_with_three_hearts:. When inquired about her, I knew nothing about her but that I thought she was cute :slight_smile:. But then I usually research all the bloodlines of my horses…
Here is the breeding (In the beginning I thought I would name her Simsalabim but I changed my mind about it…)


It is a bit of a weird breeding. Her mom is a Dutch jumperbred mare who showed in the low jumpers first and then was successful up to 3rd and potentially 4th level in Dressage. The breeder really wanted to breed jumper foals but because her mom moves well he decided to try a Dressage stallion…. And the result is my horse :heart:


And because her story started 2 years ago, I will try to post everything rather fast… all her pics are kind of mixed up with everything else and I will love to see them in one place.

all of this happened in the fall of 2022.
Because she looked not too much bothered we started to lunge her with a halter on the 2nd day. I prefer to wait not too long because coming in from the pasture they are not full of grain and are not totally highly trained. I do not recommend to lunge them for months until you get on them… it will make it trickier in my experience….

Sorry no pics from the first lunging because we were busy :blush:. You do it with two persons, one holds on to the lunge and the other points the whip towards the back end of the horse (you can do it easier in a round pen, but there is none in this facility…. Usually they get it fast if you are consistent pointing at their back…. My mare figured it out in two days….
Then I started to introduce the bridle to her (put it on in her stall and just left it on her for some minutes…) then I introduced her to the washing rack (I admit that did not really work out in the long run, she is sensitive and she slipped on wet ground once and afterwards she was never a fan of that place again…. I usually tack her up in her stall….)
I introduced her to the saddle as well and then we lunged her with everything. But the lunge is always tied to the halter, never to the bridle in that phase…


Because I am very lucky and I board at a jumper barn she was also able to participate in the free jumping sessions the people did for their young jumper horses…
This was once a week and I believe it’s very good for young horses because it’s a fun adventure… it was done amazing in that barn…


Hope the videos show up, otherwise I will upload them to YouTube :blush:

We did this once a week for some time and I believe she had fun :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:. She did not really have this flummy jump as the jumper youngster did but she looked confident


And now the fun part came :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:. During all this time we still lunged her several times a week and after she became better and more solid, I laid over the saddle to get her used to my weight.

Of course again no videos because we were busy… BTW I backed her with the help of the guy in the jumping video. He hold the lunge and helped me from the ground and also rode her several times in the first time to give me more confidence…. He was really great and I was extremly thankful to him…

Then 2 days later I put my leg over her back and the guy led me around. The next step was that he lunged me on her walk and trot. A couple of days later he lead me around the arena and finally let me go….


And from there I took it slow… after she knew the riding part, we just rode her about once a week.


Enjoying this!!! Thanks!!

i only ride them once a week also. I do a series of 10 or 15 minutes with dismount and remounts for maaaybe a half hour or 45 minutes total.

The thing i do not do is lunge. I used to just ground drive (i think people on here call it ‘long lining’). But mostly now, my coach will lead them on a lead rope and we (she and i keep a conversation going as to which way we are going to turn and as she leads i move use the rein aid for that direction… and gradually i take the reins, there’s no lead rope and eventually she (coach) is not even at our head.(our=horse’s) It is slow and it is safe…and it is gentle.


I did all the work to get my 3 yr old ready…except be the first to sit on him. A friend did that after assessing him for one day. I just couldn’t take the chance at 65 to be the first to sit on him, I’m not as quick as I used to be if he pulled something naughty! good job Manni!


She’s really lovely and you’ve done a wonderful job with her!

(With all due respect to you and to the OP in the other thread, I suspect you knew how to do a shoulder in before you embarked on this journey.)

Its not rocket science if you are a good, confident rider with years of consistent experience and know-how and a good back up system.

I’m looking forward to seeing how she progresses!

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Thanks for sharing, I love seeing progress threads. She’s is lovely, I’d love to see her crossed with a horse like Ibiza for a dressage foal. I am not familiar with the dam’s sire but I like the combination of a dressage/jumper bred horse, especially from a good jumper damline.


I stopped lunging her last year in May… with her it isn’t really necessary. Because she lives outside 24/7 I guess she moves around enough by herself.


I’ve been told that the verbal commands taught at lunging help a lot with early transition training tho. That it helps bridge the gap between not knowing seat/leg aids and smooth transitions. Which does make sense.


Yes I don’t think I would start to back a horse without lunging… Maybe it works, but I like to follow a routine which I am familiar with…you can communicate really well with a horse while lunging it and I wouldn’t be brave enough to start a young horse without being able to communicate.
It is extremly dangerous to start a young horse and most professionals I know are scared of young horses because when they were young professionals they had to start young horses and they had horrible accidents doing this…
I was always lucky because I never worked for anybody who forced me to do things I wasn’t secure about. I always started my own horses with somebody I trusted…. So I never really had bad experiences and that’s why I am still willing to do it :blush:


Yes. The verbal commands like Walk-on… Trrrot…Caaannnnterr…and of course Whoa! directly translate to under saddle work.

What do you think a horse thinks first time you use your legs? Horse: “This person is annoying me”…is probably the first thought. You eventually transition the verbal cues to the leg and weight cues.


Sure, i get it. When i teach all the words i’m doing it from the ground also, but just not lunging. i walk-on (beside them) i Whoa (beside them) i trrrot (beside them). We just don’t do it in a circle on a lunge line i think is the main difference. And…when i do the first few rides, horse is on a halter and lead and coach is walking beside. We do transition into a bridle quickly …maybe the same day, maybe next session… and then we work on linking direct rein and seat and legs to the halter-leadrope. All very low key. And safe for me and complimentary-rewarding for the horse. Who does get bits of food with these lessons.


Lovely Manni.

Yes lunging teaches them the words. It also lets them find their own rhythm and tempo and you can teach them correct contact with correctly used side reins.

Ingrid Klimke’s young horses are lunged only every second day. Ridden every other day.

Long lining teaches them how the bit works with turning and halt. You can also circle then in side reins.

So the first time you are on them they know a lot.


The Onze Fons horse was a very nice horse who spent his later years in Pennsylvania. He was grey, and stunningly beautiful. There is some doubt about the pedigree of Alexis Z, but I don’t remember the details.