2024 Walkabout TourLake St Louis, MO
Hilton Garden Inn
2310 Technology Drive
O’Fallon, MO 63368
When it comes to getting a colt quiet and prepared to feel a rider on his back, there’s no better technique than the Jeffrey’s Method. You start by rubbing the colt’s entire body with both of your hands. Then you lean and rub your body on the colt, acting like a giant human curry comb. There’s something about hugging a horse close to your body and rubbing all over him that just quiets him down very quickly. It could be that it reminds him of how his mother used to lick and nuzzle him when he was a foal, which is comforting to him. Regardless of why it works, I use it to my advantage every time I start a horse.
When the colt is comfortable with you rubbing on him, you jump up and down beside his shoulder, simulating the motion you’ll make when you eventually mount him and get in the saddle for the first time. You work your way up to jumping up on the colt, rubbing all over his body and then sliding down off him. The colt will be able to see you out of both eyes at the same time, which will often take a colt by surprise the first time you ride him. By the time you do saddle him and go to ride him for the first time, he won’t be worried about you touching any part of his body and will stand quietly and relaxed while you move all over him.
The thought of jumping up on a horse that’s never been ridden before is a scary thought to a lot of people. However, when you stop to think about what you’re doing to the colt, it’s not dangerous at all. For starters, you’re not actually riding the horse; you’re just lying on him. If at any point, he would do something silly, all you would do is slide off the side of him, landing easily on your feet. A lot of people worry about the colt bucking. I’ve done this exercise with hundreds, and probably even thousands of horses, and I’ve never had one buck. They don’t buck because there’s nothing around their belly. The reason they might buck with a saddle is that they’ve got the cinch tightened around their belly and flank. In this situation, there is nothing around the horse’s belly, and you’re lying on the least sensitive area of his body—his topline.
Learn how to teach your horse the Jeffrey’s Method in the Colt Starting Series.