December 30, 2023

Disco's First Two Rides!

Guess who has been started?

Maude and I have always been on the same page about starting him. I told her that my original plan was to start him very lightly the winter of his two year old year, because as a young stallion with a busy mind and a bit of an attitude especially about submission (anyone remember his indignation about being haltered the first time? lol), I wanted him to learn that riding and submission are A Thing while he's still young and impressionable.

That said though, Maude and I don't talk as much as you might think we do. Her English is very good, but it's her second language and she's shy about speaking it. Which is fine - I trust her implicitly and have yet to disagree with any decision she's made with him. I knew she had been getting him used to the harness since last summer and had been ground driving and long lining him:

An unusually warm and wet winter in Quebec!

But it was a surprise to me when she sent me this out of the blue one day:

She sent me the video when she got signal, and I had to ask: what number ride is this?

"First!" she replied with delight. She had hauled him out alone to a place he had never been before and had a trainer she trusts get on him, someone Disco had never met. And he was able to w/t/c both directions loose in the indoor no problem. On the first ride! My jaw was on the floor. It seriously looked like a fifth or maybe tenth ride.

Guys, CONNOR wouldn't have gone around this well in a strange indoor alone.

He had one naughty moment partway through the ride, and having watched it, I am SO glad it was this guy and not me or even Maude that was on his back for this. You can tell by how defensively the trainer is riding that he has started a lot of young stock, so when Disco tried this one prop-and-bronc move, the guy sat it well and carried on, and Disco learned that that behavior doesn't get you anything.

If the trainer had come off in this moment and Disco learned he got something from acting like this, I firmly believe it would have changed everything. As it was, this was the only time he pulled this move.

According to Maude, he put his head between his legs twice more that ride but more "gently" and then never tried it again. "[Trainer] corrected him, and he understood!"

But did that lesson stick? I am happy to report that it did - because at the next ride two weeks later, it was Maude that was on his back!

Maude is about my size, maybe an inch shorter and 10 lbs lighter than me, so this is a good idea of what I would look like on him right now.

This time, the trainer got on him first and Disco "didn't put a foot wrong at any time!!!" according to Maude. And then the trainer handed the reins to Maude, saying "he had not done that a lot in his career, trusting a young horse enough on the second ride so that the "owner" can ride him."

It occurs to me listening to these videos that he's going to come back "speaking" French, lol. Might be lunging my stallion in French when he gets back.

Maude admitted she was nervous and gave him a little less rein than the trainer did (I have been very happy with how forward the trainer has ridden him, and on a loose rein), but he was still perfect for her, giving her w/t/c both directions with no issues.

Look at her big smile!

That will probably be the last time he hauls over to that indoor this winter, as we both agree he doesn't need drilled on riding at age 2 years and 8 months. I'm glad she did it twice - once wouldn't have been enough to convince him that this is A Thing, but he got a lot out of going twice. Maude and I did too - we learned he can figure out a new game quickly and can take correction and have that lesson stick.

Tucked into Maude's gorgeous barn for the night during the winter

For the rest of the winter, she plans to continue driving training and to continue to haul out to new places any time she can, likely for low speed trail rides with friends and things like that. She said: "I don't think he needs to be on a serious training plan. Just enjoy what he's doing and do it for fun." 

I am so on board with that - I want him to come out of the stall like "What cool thing are we doing today?" and not get burnt out or drilled to death.


And with that - we have a riding horse 😍


  1. This is so exciting! What a smart boy.

  2. Congratulations!!!!! What an exciting riding start for Disco!

  3. Awwwww this makes my lil' heart so happy. He's doing so well!

  4. I don't think you could wish for a better first and second ride! Go Disco!

  5. That's such a testament to both his brain and the work that you instilled in him from the beginning too! How exciting!

  6. Ah! So exciting! What a genius he is!