Breaking In

Welcome to Fiona Craig's Breaking In Lessons for horses. By sending your young horse to us for breaking in, it will learn confidence, strength and mileage that set them up very well for their future riding careers.

We firmly believe that developing a solid work ethic through regular routine and consistency during this training period sets up a young horse with the strongest foundation for its future.

As well as accepting and understanding a rider and the basic aids in all paces and situations, we help to ensure that owners can continue on their own with success once the horse goes home again.

We encourage owners to have several rides with us on their horse and offer ongoing support, advice and lessons for all owners once the horse has gone home again.

Our general time frame for starting horses under saddle is 6 - 8 weeks (depending on each individual and mileage required).

Skills your Horse will learn:

  • Accept all appropriate gear
    (saddle, bridle, boots, covers etc)
  • Lunge and long-rein
  • Stand calmly for mounting and dismounting
  • Be ridden at a walk, trot, canter, turn and stop
  • Be hosed all over
  • Be ridden alone and in company
  • Be ridden in the round yard and arena
  • Hacked out around the farm, forest and road
  • Stand for the farrier and be shod
  • Work over poles on the ground

Step One

Ground Manners

They get used to their first piece of tack; the bridle, and begin lessons on lunging.

more...
Ground Manners
close

Ground manners are given priority and we ensure the horse is settled in, leading, picking up feet, tying up, brushing, washing and all aspects of handling and stable management.

The first piece of tack we introduce the horse to is the bridle. To start with, the bridle is put on and they are set free in the stable to become comfortable with the bridle and the bit in their mouth.

After the bridle, the horse is led out and taught to lunge.

At this stage we think it is very important to teach them voice commands so that they know how to walk, trot, canter and halt on the lunge.

Step Two

Getting used to the Saddle

We continue teaching them to lunge and start getting them used to the saddle.

more...
Getting Used to the Saddle
close

Once the horse starts growing confident with lunging, the training proceeds with the next piece of tack, the saddle.

The horse will have a saddle placed on them and, as in the case of the bridle, they are set free in the stable to become comfortable with the new tack.

Step Three

Lunging

Once they are comfortable with the saddle, the lunging/voice command exercise is repeated.

more...
Lunging
close

Once they are comfortable with the saddle, the lunging/voice command exercise is repeated.

We then move on to side reins. Just very loosely at first so they become used to a contact on their mouth.

When they are comfortable we resume lunging and the horse begins to understand to move forward into a contact.

When walk, trot and canter on a contact is comfortable for them, we move on to the next step.

Step Four

Long reining

The voice commands show their importance now as the horse is asked to move forward while we are behind them.

more...
Long reining
close

The voice commands show their importance now as the horse is asked to move forward while we are behind them, now they learn to turn, at first just circles and then weaving in and out of obstacles.

We now have a horse who has good ground manners, is comfortable with being handled and being tacked up.

They can walk, trot and canter in a frame (contact), they can turn, and have been out and about, becoming comfortable with different environments.

Step Five

Acute Mounting

The next step of acutely mounting becomes straight forward.

more...
Acute Mounting
close

The next step of acutely mounting becomes straight forward.

They are relaxed with all of these things, they have learnt stop, go and turn and feel confident to move ahead with their rider.

So next we get on them and get them to a stage that they are happy to walk trot and canter around an arena and out hacking.

Step Six

First Ride

This is the horse's first ride, still attached to the lunge for safety.

more...
First Ride
close

This is the horse's first ride, still attached to the lunge for safety.

Once the horse is relaxed; walking, trotting and cantering on the lunge, the horse will be ridden around the arena.

Step Seven

Working in the Arena

Getting confident with the rider.

more...
Working in the Arena
close

Now that the rider is confident riding the horse forward, she can start concentrating on walk-trot transitions, moving away from the leg, etc.

Step Eight

Forest Hacking

Stage One is complete. The horse can be returned to the owner, or Fiona and her team can commence Stage Two.

more...
Forest Hacking
close

Once Stage One is complete, the horse can then be returned to the owner to continue it's education, or Fiona and her team can commence Stage Two.

Stage Two includes:
Forest Hacking
Further arena schooling at walk, trot, canter, to prepare horse for entry level competition.

To The Top