In no way is this intended to show you how to start a horse. In no way am I a professional horse starter and in no way do I share what is to come thinking I look amazing. What happens next is a mix of experience, luck, picking a horse with a good brain and the help of good friends as ground crew. Also, I can mostly ride. However, what you see in the early days on the SBG does not show that. It shows me clinging to his back hoping to stay on. This is not actually conducive to training young horses btw and I do not suggest it should you be strange enough to start your own young horse. If I had not needed this distraction, and not had a decided lack of funds after the past year, I would have sent him to someone. Next time I will. Spoiler alert - it all turns out fine and no horses or humans were <seriously> injured in the starting of the SBG.
So, SBG (Maverick, or Mav for short), learns about round pens and cross ties. Like the next day. No rest for the wicked - or the tired. To be fair, he did not do much initially and mostly he ate grass in hand. Best way to build a relationship! Food!
He is cute. But he does look slightly feral and I am pretty sure the entire barn (and my entire facebook friends list) thinks I am insane for buying this SBG. His feet are also horribly overdue at this point but farrier came on day 2 thankfully. Anyway, SBG enjoys his grass time so much by the second day he knows me and is nickering when he sees me. This certainly helped my mood issues significantly.
He gets his feet done and goes into the xties to start life as a fussed over, well groomed horse. The Xties are zero issue at all. In fact I clip the quasi feather off his legs his first day in there. He could care less. I do know tying to a rope halter is kind of frowned upon. But the SBG is a good boy and sometimes you just do things. Don't judge. This is a judgement free zone and he looks rather cute in this picture.
So initially in the round pen he does not canter. Like at all. I have a habit of clucking at my horses like a chipmunk. I know it drives my coach mental so I try not to do this. But apparently while on the ground all bets are off and I cluck and run at him trying to see if this beast has a proper canter. Well, the thing is, his feet are a bit sore, you know, from the trim after being so long and the ground is hard. Additionally, cantering in a round pen is hard for SBG but he can canter in the field so I should stop worrying once I see that, but I do not. Incidentally, I do not condone running around the round pen after your horse trying to get him to canter, but the video is funny and we all know I needed the exercise at this point.
Soon enough (as in a couple of days), I put a surcingle on him. This is met with no excitement on his part. I also learn that the pile of saddle pads I had for the big mare? Yup, all too large for the SBG. I also find him a tiny girth, a smaller bridle and small bits - which did not last that long after he decides to no longer be the SBG <spoilers>.
In case you are saying at this point, he is not that small! Remember, I am only 5'2". Next to the super tall (well over 6 feet) husband he is kind of teeny and looks like a pony.
The sore feet issue is solved with a pair of Scoot Boots! If you have not seen these, they are pretty cool and immediately he was happy on the hard ground again. Also note the regrowth of quasi-feather in this picture. This is a much more recent picture but now he has naked legs again. Yes, the straps should be tighter. But this is the best picture I have of him wearing them.
We are now about 2 weeks into SBG school. and he is wearing a saddle. Zero fuss to this point (except the refusing to canter).
It is time to get on. Much leaning over him, which he thought was weird so I climbed on. Also uneventful. Completely, boringly, uneventful in every way.
I had ground driven a bit leading up to this, but once on it was apparent he needed MUCH more driving and since sitting on him was not a problem, we went back to ground driving school. We drove in the round pen, around the property and in the indoor. No lunging in the indoor so it was a bit tricky and generally involved me running along behind him. I apparently would not pass a PPE and the ground crew enjoyed laughing at my expense.
If you are thinking at this point it's boring. He is too easy. There were many interesting moments in the indoor such as this one.
And he can do this. He likes to do this. He enjoys standing on his head.
So here we are, a month later. Tack on, rider up, we understand basic go, stop and turning. The SBG is ready to go solo.