I would call this Harvey’s first real ride. Almost. We are still taking it easy. Letting him hang out, enjoy having a person on his back. There is no rush. No time limit. No reason to do anything but make friends. The hard stuff will come.
The video is nearly impossible to see. I lightened it up the best I could. The phone was facing close enough to straight into the sun to drive it insane. It really wants to save me from bright videos and always does its best. Making most of my pictures or video during bright days almost this dark 🙄 Hopefully you are in a dark place to watch it.
The interesting thing about this session was our rate of reward, ROR. I started out with a very high ROR. I want him to know he’s doing good and to be excited about this riding thing. Once I got on the first time though it was a problem. He was to excited, looking too hard for his reward. It wasn’t possible to get food out and ready for him fast enough to keep him calm.
I got off and we worked on settling down and not expecting food so much. I asked him to drop his head and be calm, and hold it there awhile before I clicked/treated. Lowering our ROR greatly.
When I got back on he was calmer. I stroked his neck, he dropped his head and exhaled. He was actually calm this time. I let go of the fence and we took a few steps together staying calm. It was a very successful ride.
A high ROR is often recommended to keep horses calm and engaged. In theory this works. In reality, we are back to letting the horse decide. Every animal is different and we have to look to them to see what is going to work instead of going by what we think ought to.