At Neðri Bakki we have a well-designed regime for training young horses and start them under saddle. “Real” training starts when the horses are 4 years of age. The horses are eased into the training to make sure they enjoy that and so, we work at their tempo. Kenneth is Equestrian Sports NZ (ESNZ) qualified coach and takes very seriously the training activities. He makes sure our horses are light on the aids, pleasant and reliable to ride.
When training people, Kenneth’s coaching approach is centred around the abilities and needs of the rider. He emphasises a positive learning and training environment that enables the riders to meet their own specific objectives.
We have great facilities which enable people to enjoy their lesson, whether it be on the trails, the arena and or roundpen. A classroom has also been set up as part of the stables which is good for introductions, theoretical parts of a lesson, etc.
Our objective is to train versatile horses that are easy to handle and a pleasure to ride. It is paramount that horses are started up in a correct manner, as this provides the needed foundation for their future development. We aim to provide our horses with a strong foundation training, which can be built on throughout their lifetime. Key principles in our training are:
- A positive, encouraging environment
- Minimum intervention by, applying at any point the lightest possible aids to achieve the intended outcome.
- Clear and immediate feedback
- Learning-centred approach to training
Below we have listed some of the key learning outcomes we work towards with our young horses. It is, however, important to realise that this learning is by no means set in stone, or hard wired into the horses. Learning is creating neurological paths in the brain which helps the horse react in different situations and to stimuli such as the rider’s use of aids.
Especially young horses will explore alternative reactions and/or behaviours not conforming to the already established neurological path – they only need a few successes with the new behaviour before this behaviour will become the new neurological path, which will overrule previously learned behaviours and paths.
Horses also react to very subtle information in their environment – a slight change in breathing patterns or the way aids are applied, can lead to changes in the horse’s behaviour and pattern of reaction.
It is important to gently minimise the risk that young horses unlearn important lessons and start developing less desirable behaviours. To assist with this process, Neđri Bakki offers a 2-day course which is included in the price of the horse. During the course, the new owner will be introduced to how their new horse has been trained, and how to best continue the training.
- Can willingly be led in halter without pulling
- Will follow/yield to the rope as needed and will move away from pressure
- Is comfortable standing in stable with other horses
- Used to grooming and getting legs lifted for picking out or trimming of hooves
- Accustomed to being tied up
- Conscientious of space given to trainer/handler (e.g. not pushy)
- Has worked as hand horse in different gaits, with different horses in different terrains
- Responds to trainer
- Accustomed to being lounged with bridle, girth and side-reins
- Can go over cavalettis easily in both walk and trot.
- Trained with standard double-broken bit and saddle
- Standing still when checking tack and mounting
- Standing still after mounting and whenever stopping
- Introduced to the basic aids – legs, reins, seat and weight
- Introduced to half stops
- Trained in transitions between the gaits
- Extending and shortening the strides within the gait
- Ridden by different people with different abilities (all following the same training principles)
- Can walk in any order in a group of horses comfortably, also in the front of the group.
- Has good contact with bit and has a supple top-line to best carry the rider
- Often trained on the inside track on the arena – important for straightening up the horse
- Introduced to going through water
- Good balance and sure footed
- Is comfortable with traffic
- Introduced to basic exercises on the arena – serpentines, small circles, leg yielding, etc.