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Ridden Work for Young Horses

Here’s the bit we’ve all been waiting for!!!! By the time it gets to riding it can feel like you’ve spent an age getting them ready for the big moment.

Unless you have bought your youngster specifically so you can back them yourself I strongly recommend you consider having a professional do the first few rides. However well prepared, however good you are and however many times you may have done it before the truth is you really never know what’s going to happen that first time.

People are often tempted to do the first rides and end up sending the horse to a professional only after it’s all gone wrong. If you are intending to keep your horse, you may well have them in another 20 years so it’s worth making sure that the start was a good one as you could live with consequences for years afterwards.

Research your professional well, look for someone recommended by others who has lots of experience backing youngsters. Go to see them work with a few horses and ask lots of questions.

A good professional will be happy to share their process and for you to come and visit your horse. With a basic backing you would expect for your horse to be able to be ridden in walk, trot and canter in an enclosed area. To understand the aids for turning and stopping and to have had a few experiences of being ridden out of the arena. Discuss your expectations with your professional and don’t be surprised that if you are looking to have a lot more than basic ridden aids they will require your horse to stay with them longer.

When you get your youngster back don’t expect them to ride like your schoolmaster just yet. Young horses are just that and need years of good experiences for them to become consistent and reliable. Most professionals will recommend that you get your youngster into the habit of being ridden at home straight away to build on what they have taught them.

Young horses can be challenging and unpredictable due to their lack of experience but they are also so rewarding! There’s nothing like those first experiences going well to make all the effort so 💯 % worth it!!


Before trying any training technique it is important to rule out pain or discomfort. Saddle fit, teeth, back, hoof balance and lameness issues should all be checked by a qualified professional before applying any training.

If you have questions or need idea's to help with a specific problem feel free to get in touch with me on


Lyla has been helping riders and their horses in the UK, USA and Europe for over 15 years. She has prepared horses for crowds of over 6,000 people with no calmers or ear plugs for venues including Birmingham NEC, Aintree, Bury Farm EC and Hartpury.

Lyla specialises in horse psychology and behaviour problems with a specific interest in dressage and has worked with horses from grass roots to Grand Prix across the UK and Europe including international competitors and Olympians from Spain, the US, Canada and the UK.

See or email for more details.


All training techniques discussed are from experience only, it is impossible for to accurately advise on horse/rider combinations without seeing them live. Lyla Cansfield & Equine Mind & Body Training strongly advise anyone considering using any of the techniques discussed to get live help and can take no responsibility for the outcome of applying any of the techniques discussed with or without supervision. Riding is a high risk sport.


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