“Grace lacks confidence and as a result, she is reluctant for me to go forward with me on her back,” explains Michael.
“I always start her off on the long reins, because long lining encourages her to move forward. It also helps to build topline, teaches a horse to work in a good rhythm and allows you to introduce new objects more easily.
“When I long line, I connect the long reins to the bit rather than a headcollar, so Grace gets used to the contact on her mouth. I start in the round pen so that she can run in a circle without me having to pull her round and hurt her mouth.
Next, Michael hops on board. Grace could be a bit nappy, but Michael was patient with her. “Grace tries to avoid going forward but I get her moving with my legs and don’t allow her to stop altogether. If she falls out through her shoulder, I raise my outside hand to bring her shoulder back in line – then she can move forward.
“Her head goes right up in the air when she is unsure, but as she starts to feel more confident, her head and neck start to lower.”