Thursday, March 26, 2015
The last 2 days River has been continuing with her English Saddle work, and getting better and better. She is also continuing to shed, and shed, and shed! If you look at this image, you can see the hair floating down to the ground - and she still looks so furry!
Before she goes to work, I let her get a little energy out, and enjoy her early morning time in the round pen. She also got to meet "Vino" through the fence. I have to say, as handsome as he is, she wasn't very impressed!
Now it was time to get to work. I used a saddle blanket today and yesterday - she had no problem with it at all.
Then the little saddle came next. I made sure to exaggerate putting it on and off - plopping it on her back, doing it from both sides, putting it on her neck, on her butt - just things that might happen if you were saddling up and she moved. As much as we try, we aren't always perfect, so horses need to learn to put up with our little mistakes.
I cinched her up - she knows more what's coming now, so we are working on getting her to relax at this time - then I took her for a walk to settle her more. She followed calmly, but you can see that she still wants to know what is following her on her back.
Horses will walk along seemingly calmly behind you, and you might think that all is OK, but not necessarily! While they are walking, they are either breathing shallowly, or maybe even holding their breath a little. As soon as they really move - a big turn, a transition to trot or canter, anything that makes them take a deep breath - Woooo! There's that tight thing around their middle again! So I asked her quickly to make a turn or two on the rope, both to get her to feel the girth, and to unlock her hind end. No problem. We also did some lunging again - no problem.
Then it was time to turn her loose again and - Viola! No bucking! She trotted off with a tight back, which quickly loosened, and then she cantered - no problem.
The slight problem came when I asked her to go to the right - not her favorite thing. She would go for a few strides, then want to go back to the left. It took a few reminders that I did indeed want her to go the the right as well as the left, and she got it. In fact, today she was flawless in both directions!
I love how readily she is willing to come in to me when I give her the signal - I step back to take the pressure off of her (or what she perceives to be pressure - I'm really not pushing her too much), put my hand out in front of me, and she turns and comes all the way in to me. A lot of well trained horses don't do as well!
She doesn't hold her lessons agains me - after her praise, she follows me around the pen.
After working River, I wanted her to settle in the round pen and wear the saddle for awhile, so I brought down my little Diva Princess - "Dancer" for a run. You can see that it got River excited again, which was good, so she could feel the saddle was still there. Both today and yesterday, River wore the saddle in her stall for awhile, then it was removed, and she got another good grooming.
Next comes the Western saddle - our girl is really doing well with her lessons!
I took these shots today, which have nothing to do with River, but everything to do with spring. I saw my first "fuzzy wuzzy" of the year, and we've been finding lots of little birds nests around the ranch.