First of all, there are quite some opinions on when and how to start with a young horse.
Some say you have to start backing them when they’re almost 3 years old, others are convinced that you can best leave your horse in the field until he’s 4-5 years old.
But when it comes to the process of starting your horse, most of the people seem to agree on one thing: “He just has to learn to cope with the saddle and the rider.”
Let me stop you right there. Because this is important.
Learning and coping should never be in the same sentence
Because learning is an empowering process where the horse gains knowledge.
And coping is the same as forced conditioning.
So when you are teaching your horse to cope with something, for example a rider on his back, you force your horse into a situation he has to respond to in order to survive.
He can use his natural instinct, which is fight or flight. Or he will find a way of coping with the rider, so he can survive.
The only thing your horse learned, is that he didn’t die from it.