The past few months for me have been full of young horses, backing and riding them on. It has been a huge learning curve for me and getting a lot of use out of my 'brave pants' and 'sticky bum' breeches which have been kindly supplied by Divine Equestrian, thank you!! It is really interesting how different young horses are. Some of them, from the first ride look like trained dressage horses; in a good outline and understanding my aids, where as others have taken longer and rely on my voice commands to understand for a longer period of time.
With all of the young horses that I back, I start with the same system. Then from the way they react, alter and change it. Seeing what each horse needs. There has been one horse which did not pick up lunging very well and so we have been running round the arena leading him at walk and trot. When it came to cantering we taught him to follow another horse. It has worked well actually. It's a first for me and quite funny to have whoever is the lucky handler for the day running around with him whilst I am on!
The second half of last year, we have backed 6. We have a 'Class of 2017' picture with the 4 still at the yard! It has been so rewarding and although there are scary times, and every sound you hear or movement could be a potential disaster, one day you can't canter left and the next day you can! Small things feel like you've won a medal!
At the moment we are coming out of the danger phase and I'm starting to ride them like proper horses, getting on without lunging, starting to run through baby tests and when someone else rides them for the first time it makes me so proud. It is a phrase you hear me say daily at the moment! Which has to be a good thing.
It has been exciting times at Divine Equestrian too, with a huge winter sale happening. More brands being added all the time to the sale and the ever tempting price match. A great time to get a deal and be kitted out ready for the new year! It's been nearly a year of working with Divine Equestrian now and their support has been invaluable to me and I'm looking forward with continuing to work with them.
Alex Baker, 25 year old Irish international dressage rider; works for Anna Ross. Competing International Grand Prix. Keep up to date with my progress!