AU Service Mounts — put under saddle as 2-year-olds — are trained in both English and Western tack. The horses respond to light cues (including leg pressure and seat position) and collect at walk, trot and canter. Horses ride in parades, in town and exhibitions as they begin to desensitize to city life.
Learning to develop a calm, respectful disposition to handlers and others, extensive ground training begins at 6 months of age. The Service Mount colts are desensitized to more casual, common touch (like that of a farrier) and then sensitized to various cues and pressure.
At 6 months, AU Service Mounts are trained to go over, under and through a variety of obstacles (on a variety of surfaces). By age 3, obstacles become a fun way for the horse to learn (and trust the handler) in what would typically be a frightening situation.
This begins when the horse is constantly responding under saddle. The horse is ridden regularly in town, experiencing traffic, trains and typical city life. This training includes work with sirens, police cars, desensitation to fast-moving vehicles, crowds and standing for great lengths of time.