I explained the pads were too far back and showed correct placement. He put saddle on her back. She's still not all that great at standing still during this but learning. His first instinct is to RUN when ever she even flinches but he stuck it out and got the saddle cinched. I tightened it, dropped the stirrups down for him, and showed him the proper way to put a dressage bridle on, then sent them out for a walk around the yard working on ground manners and his confidence.
I grabbed a lead rope and looked for a safe place for him to mount from. Asked him if a certain stump in the yard would work - he thought "yes". He got on stump, I lead her up and explained goal - left foot in stirrup, handful of mane, and swing up. Just do it.
Up he went - man I was glad I had her on a lead rope. She reacted to his weight, not mind blowing but definitely not liking it. Prancing circles around me for a moment while I talked and petted then she stood still. He settled got feet in stirrups. I said squeeze calves every so lightly and she will walk, but please start out light at first then tighter and tighter until she moves then release. And he did it! She does not stop by pulling on her head and stopping off the seat is too advanced for him so I whispered "whoa". She stops. He squeezes again - she moves. He is really nervous as she's not really relaxing much so she prances some more and I keep her in tight circles around me. She stops, he dismounts nicely. So I send them on their way walking around the yard again for about 5 minutes so they both settle down and end on a positive note:
I call that a Successful first ride for a 44 year old city boy who's never ever been close to a horse until about 3 years ago.
I hopped on and did 3 steps of walk, 20 meter circle at trot, then walked serpentine and called it day!
I didn't get any pictures of him on her back. I wanted to be sure I had absolute control of her while he was on her. That meant the camera stayed on the hitching post.
I'm not sure how I'm going to desensitize her to his weight. If he wasn't such a greener than grass rider I'd have him lay across her back but I'm not sure if that's a good idea. Anyone have any thoughts?
I am so proud of him. He gets major points for attempting something that terrifies him just because it's something I love. This makes me love him just a bit more - if that is possible.