DAY 11: Today I decided to test our relationship by doing our saddling in the outdoor arena. This was an event to say the least! She would neither tolerate nor accept the saddle and wanted to MOVE her feet. I used the strategy of “let me help you with that”! Every time she moved off of her post I would set the saddle down and move, move, move, move, move, move, move, move her FAST. Then, have her halt right next to saddle to catch her breath. This creates the saddle as the sweet spot. We had to do this about four time before she decided that with the saddle was actually a good place to be.
This time I was able to saddle her. Although she stood for me I could tell she was only still on the outside while her emotions where still revving on the inside. With this awareness, we just stood there with the saddle on for a good 15-20 minutes while she licked and chewed and eventually yawed. I pulled the saddle off of her and put it back down on the ground in the arena. I massaged her back and girth area and then took her inside for a bath.
Although this was more exciting than I generally like, I was very satisfied with the session. All of these experiences are helping Lana develop her own emotional fitness and trust in me.
DAY 12: Revisited the saddling issue in the round pen. Only had to MOVE her once before she accepted the saddle. Once she stood with the saddle for awhile and had time to process we played the seven games on-line in the round-pen. Then, I mounted her in the saddle for the first time! Short sweet and successful session!
DAY 13: Revisited the saddling issue in the round-pen. DID NOT MOVE OFF ONCE! Yippee. Today we had a ground pole in the round pen and it was great to watch Lana figure out how to maintain gait, direction and look where she was going. Once this was working we went to the indoor arena and played on the 22’ line. Along the way we played in the puddles and tested our squeeze game. I don’t love the stormy weather we have been having but it has given me a great resource to practice the babies water crossing ability!
We found a good place regardless and went back to the round pen where I mounted her for the second time in the saddle. This time, we walked off and did a change of direction each way. She was easy to guide over the ground pole as well!
DAY 14: Today I really wanted to work on the idea of Lana “going with stopping in mind”. Yes, I know, this is NOT what most extroverts want to think about. And, that is precisely why I need to help her build those types of thought patterns into her noggin. After saddling Lana I took her into the arena so that she didn’t feel trapped and worked on a million transitions on line. I had her on a circle with the 22′ line and would make my downward transitions when she was along the rail. This way, the fence helped her keep the straight line and all I had to worry about was the upwards or downward energy. This is definitely a pattern we need to stick with for awhile. Once we found a good spot I played with the porcupine game for our sideways along the rail. I used my carrot stick, hand or even a hand held spur to simulate where my leg will be once I am in the saddle. Pat always says “the better your horse goes backwards and sideways the better he will do everything else”. I have witnessed the truth to this statement and am committed to developing a good backwards and sideways starting from the ground and ultimately in the saddle. I decided to get on Lana in the indoor arena and we took our first cruise at the walk around the rail.
DAY 15: Lana is getting way more connected to me! She is starting to poke her head out of the stall for me now when she hears me come in. I feel like saddling has gotten SO much better and put it to the test by saddling her in the cross ties today. I generally dont tie the horses when I am saddling them. ESPECIALLY not when they are green. Saddling can cause a horse to become claustrophobic and I have seen enough horses broken and bruised from pulling back/flipping over while tied in the midst of a saddling.
We revisited the “million transitions” in the big arena. So far we have only done walk- halt, trot- walk. I aim to be very sequential in my training process. If block 1 is not locked in then I have no business adding block 2. This is why I have not added the canter- trot transitions yet. I really want the gaits to come in order and set her up for success on how to manage her energy through time and space.
Went to the round pen and mounted in the saddle. Today we were able to play with the walk-trot transitions under saddle. In the end I was very happy with Lana’s efforts and that we trotted both directions with no tension. She even blew out several time and had some really big releases during our ride!