Less than 5 minutes for the first 10 rides
I am often asked how long people should ride their young horses for and my answer usually surprises them. It's not uncommon to hear 'breakers' guaranteeing that they will 'ride your horse for at least an hour a day' when it is in training with them. Unfortunately these young horses simply don't have the mental or physical development to deal with such long sessions.
I want the horse to look forward to the ridden section of the lesson - the easy bit at the end that involves lots of praise. It is important that the horse comes away from the lesson with confidence and clarity and not stressed and exhausted. A tired horse is not learning anything (well, certainly nothing that you want it to know) but he is becoming fitter. What is more dangerous than riding an uneducated horse? Riding a fit, uneducated horse or riding a horse in pain! How well does your saddle fit? Did the 'breaker' have the saddle properly fitted to your horse or is he/she simply using their usual 'rough-out' saddle? Has the horse been long-reined in a soft frame and self-carriage in order to build up his top-line muscles to enable him to carry a rider? A horse in pain is learning a lot! Set your youngster up for success by making the ridden session short, interesting and confidence building. He has the rest of his life to 'get the miles under his belt' and have 'wet saddle-cloth days'. This is kindergarten - get this right, make this fun and the rest will be easy.
This horse is now up to 15-20 minute rides
As Philippe Karl always says 'less kilometres'!