Anyone who has ever brought on a young horse will know the huge responsibility of starting them right – but it is also one of the most rewarding experiences a rider can have.
From backing to schooling, it is a privilege to be part of a horse’s education and at George’s Ranch we love helping those who genuinely want to do things right.
That’s why the past few months have been a pretty amazing experience for us and, thankfully, a very happy one for some very special young horses – Mavro, Pepsi, Little John and Luna.
First to make her way to the Ranch was the sweet Cyprus pony, Mavro.
Brought by her Cypriot owner, who harboured dreams of riding her, this pretty three-year-old was clearly too young and too weak for such work and so after explaining the realities of what we could offer we concentrated on teaching Mavro some much-needed ground manners.
For the next four weeks, we also taught her how to behave on the lunge and as she quickly gained strength from the regular exercise and appropriate feed, we gently backed her towards the end of her stay.
By the time her owner took her home, Mavro was very comfortable with a rider on her back because her first experience had been one of patience and kindness – and we knew when to stop. We then advised her owner to take her home and let her grow a little more while keeping up a regular exercise routine to maintain the strength she had begun to develop at the Ranch.
On a much shorter, but no less rewarding visit was experienced rider Lynne and her stunning boy, Pepsi.
Arriving from Ayia Napa, Lynne was looking for an experienced eye on the ground to help guide her forward in the schooling of her four-and-a-half-year-old Appaloosa X – and she found that in our very own instructor extraordinaire, Caroline.
During the first lesson it soon became clear that Pepsi needed a little more encouragement to keep his motor going during flat work sessions. However, once Lynne pushed him more than he was perhaps used to, Pepsi really started to show his potential with some especially strong work in the canter.
Following three days of full-on lessons – on both Pepsi and Ranch schoolmaster Cruise – Lynne returned home feeling super positive about how to continue the next stage of her boy’s training and Pepsi returned home a little more experienced than when he came – and a lot more tired!
Of course, the Ranch also has its own youngsters to school and over the past few months we have watched our ‘babies’ – Little John and Luna – transform into two showstopping beauties.
After joining us as a nappy little guy from Ireland this summer, we have watched Little John grow in confidence and manners. In the past month especially, this five-year-old’s schoolwork has improved to such an extent that he is now a pony we can trust with younger riders wanting to move their riding skills up a level.
He’s also super cute to look at.
And finally, there’s our gorgeous girl, Luna.
The daughter of our famous Appaloosa stallion, Shunka, Luna was always a striking looking foal, but having been gently backed for the first time this summer we have been stunned by this five-year-old’s progress.
Blessed with great conformation and a keen and inquisitive mind, we always expected Luna to enjoy schooling when she started, but she has blossomed before our very eyes into a young horse that would make the most spectacular show pony.
Clearly, we’d like to take the credit for this, but some horses are just born that way!