We've been pretty lucky this winter, the weather is co operating and I have been able to keep riding somewhat without having to trailer out other than to my jumping lesson once a week. When the temperature is decent and my ring is still good I try to use the time as wisely as possible.
As Oliver is unstarted, I wanted to get him going throughout the winter so in the spring we can just focus on schooling and getting him going properly. A lot of people prefer to back horses in the summer with the belief that the extra heat makes them quieter, and the winter makes them much edgier.
For me though, I figure might as well do it at the most difficult time, then it's all up hill here from there! We had a really nice December day and decided we would do some more work with Oliver and see if we couldn't get him backed. So far he has worn his saddle a few times and started lunging training which he has all taken in stride. I have been trying to educate Nicole along the way on how to start horses so she can involved and also hopefully take some things away from this for the future.
Jessica volunteered to be the first one on him and that was fine by me! We tacked him up and headed to the ring. Nicole took him around a few times both directions and worked on her in hand work. Making him halt, backing up, moving off her hand away from her. Oliver has such a good brain he just as he is told and takes everything in stride. After that they headed over to the mounting block for the first mounting. I had already done some laying across him and putting weight in the stirrup in his stall a few days earlier.
I will let you judge for yourself! Here he is with his first ride.
Could you possibly ask for a better greenie? After this Jessica took him alone and walked around the ring, circles, and halts. All no problem. Then we took him and Parker for a ride down the driveway. He just followed along and although his eyes were big, he didn't step wrong.
It's always a bit worrying getting an unbroke horse who is a bit older, but it seems we made a good pick with Oliver. I am excited for him and Nicoles future together, and happy to have an easy horse in the barn. Lord knows I have enough difficult ones in my life!