The Little Guy
I put a young rider up on Chance yesterday and he was as quiet as a little lamb.
I still don't have all his information from Crossed Sabers, but I do recall a note on the site saying he had been backed, so I took a chance. My young rider is very experienced with an excellent seat and that "no fear" attitude of youth. Since I had Chance on a lunge line, I was pretty much in control, but there was no need--he never batted an eye.
Today, Friday, I decided I might as well get on myself. Again, Chance stood quietly when I leaned over his back, so I swung over. Nothing happened. Nothing--including any kind of movement at all. He stood stock still. And stood. And stood.
I had to laugh as I realized he has no clue about leg aids. And, since I have only lunged him about four times since he's been here, he also doesn't have much clue about voice commands. I finally wiggled around enough to get him walking, but then next obvious flaw came into focus because I also had no way of steering him.
So many people think you just leap on a horse and off you go. When you mount a youngster for the first time, all of that goes out the window. Totally green horses have no comprehension about even following their heads when the rider pulls on the rein.
That's why I normally do tons of ground work before trying to ride. In Chance's case, things are a bit backwards mostly because winter is coming and I want to take advantage of the nice weather and super footing we're enjoying right now to get him used to a rider. That will give me the winter months to do the ground work and some good hopes of having a nice little riding horse by Spring.
We managed five or so nice kind of erratic circles in each direction, with me using my weight to get the turns. The nice thing is that Chance seems to want to move under where my body goes, so by leaning right or left with my seat, I was able to get him approximately where I wanted him to go.
All in all, we worked for about 15 mintues or so. I don't know of the Ansur Carlto had something to do with it, but Chance didn't feel as small under me as I expected. The saddle does have big knee rolls compared to the Classic, but it doesn't make very broad Tucker feel too wide, so maybe Chance has more to him under saddle than he looks.
Either way, it was a fun experience. I plan to get on him every day for at least a month as long as the weather holds, sometimes just to sit and do the "give to the rein" exercises. That, coupled with some good long lining sessions will have him going in short order.
How nice to have a quiet little fellow.