Last week while I was sitting on a filly for the first time, I got to talking with the photographer watching about what she observed as the horse taking comfort when I picked up a rein. That we had already established a feel between us, so even though me being on her was new, she was easily able to find comfort in me despite my new position above her. I've been thinking about how this has changed in me as I've started colts over the years. I now spend less time getting them okay with me being on them, and more time getting them to feel like I have something to offer them. Being able to get on them, having a soft feel between us, helping them to understand how to think in front of them, steer, change speeds, etc, and supporting them when something is scary, just happens after that.
At the end of a first ride (or, at the end of any session, really), I want the horse to be brighter eyed and more confident with me around and in themselves than when we started the day.
It never ceases to amaze me that they let me do this, and no matter how many colts I start, I get such a kick out of it every time I put a first ride on a horse. And, it's certainly not an adrenaline rush, because it's usually pretty boring!