Saturday, September 05, 2009

The last three sessions with Kat have been focused on saddling. During the first session, the barn manager started out working with her. I observed. I kept track of the many things I might have approached differently and made mental notes. When she got to the saddling part, I watched some more. I could see that the BM was becoming frustrated, because Kat moved away when the saddle approached.

So I stepped in to assist.

The first thing to change was the saddle approach. My BM is a believer of natural ways and resistance-free training; however, she hasn't had the benefit yet of the details the Parelli program has taught me. Such as, a less-threatening way to carry a saddle when approaching a horse, and allowing the horse ample time to investigate it before tossing it on the horse's back. My BM was still in full-on "grizzly bear" approach, and working with a pretty moderate RBE.

I stepped in and did my thing with it. Eventually, we got the saddle ON her. Then we called it a day.

The next two sessions, I worked exclusively with Kat. During the first session, I used the saddle pad and m bareback pad, because it's light, and it has a cinch, so perhaps I could get her used to having something around her without the added weight. During the second session, she "graduated" to a light English saddle. The girth on the lowest holes was two inches too short, so we stopped there. Both sessions took three hours of extreme patience and approach and retreat to get the saddle pad on a calm horse, then the BB pad on a calm horse, then the saddle on a calm horse. (All after playing the seven games with lots of Friendly beforehand.)

Despite the owner's urgency in getting this done, the BM and I both agree that it might take longer for Kat to be ready to ride than Mona.

Because there was nobody around Wednesday evening, I opted to play with my own horse for a change (because I can predict him better than the others). I've had two amazing sessions with him in the past two weeks. During the first one, we rode in the bridle (old PNH kind) for the first time in ages, and worked on Finesse. I was thrilled when he offered a lovely collected half-pass (I think that's the term, trotting forward on the diagonal) with barely a suggestion, and moved sideways easily.

The second session started with a short Liberty session in the round pen. Change of direction is still iffy, need more work online for that. But he went Sideways without a fence!!!! YESSSS!!!!

After Liberty, into the arena we went. I'd planned to try out the 45' line, but there were novice riders in the arena, so change of plans. Ride instead. I warmed him up on the 22' before saddling. Now, this is what I love, and yes I'll admit it's an ego-boost. I dropped the line, and he stood perfectly still while I saddled him in the arena. I was hoping the novices were watching. They are new to having their own horses, and asking me all sorts of questions for advice on how to catch their uncatchable mare, why does the gelding move backwards when I kick him to go, that sort of thing.

I'm hoping that witnessing rather than being instructed will inspire them to want more knowledge. So having Cheerios be all blasé about being saddled, proving you don't need cross-ties or a chokehold when you have a good relationship, well... it makes me proud and it's a good example. He behaved beautifully, and we "showed off" our graceful communication with carrot stick riding, finesse, etc. I hope they watched closely.

I hope they ask LOTS more questions next time.

I think we are just about ready to tape FreeStyle L2 Audition.

No comments: