Halter-Breaking While Mounted; Part 2
- June 30, 2016
- Savanna Simmons
In my first post I wrote about halter-breaking and the benefits of creating a soft feel while being aboard a saddle horse. Being on a saddle horse also puts the cowboy above the colt, as will be the case upon finally riding the colt. That colt gets used to a person petting on them from the opposite side of their neck, as if in the saddle, or seeing someone up high in their eye versus ground height. This also allows the colt a chance to understand and adjust quicker, eliminating a new pressure that might exist upon swinging a leg over for the first time.
Boe often flags a colt to “desensitize” it, preparing it for flapping saddle blankets, stirrups, arms, ropes, et cetera. Flagging can be done too much, however, making the colt dull or hard to move. The flag is used to eliminate the desire to fight or flight when being touched by acting as an extension of the person.
This can be done from atop a horse as well to again expose the horse to a person above them while being pestered and allows the cowboy to be safely away from striking hooves and to quickly step away from the situation if absolutely necessary.
Once ready to be saddled, Boe will often flag and move small bunches of horses around loose, but saddled, in a corral to let them get jitters out.
He positions them and pushes them around while on his saddle horse to help them move out comfortably in both directions, try for lead changes and roll backs, and work with a horse that has herd-bound tendencies.
If a horse wishes to continue bucking beyond a normal amount, a mounted cowboy with a flag may also apply a greater amount of pressure to discourage bucking to set up for a greater success upon mounting. Once individual colts are in a comfortable position, they can simply come to the center and the focus can shift to those who need a little more attention.
Working colts while mounted a saddle horse allows for greater opportunities beyond what a human may do upon two feet while bettering the saddle horse if done with intent.
About Savanna Simmons
I'm Savanna Simmons and I live north of Lusk, Wyoming, on the Four Three Ranch with my husband Boe and our sons, Brindle and Roan. I grew up evolving my horsemanship with clinicians like Ray Hunt, Joe Wolter, and Jack Brainard, but not within a...