Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Learning to Use Our Wings

I brought Tumbleweed home today. We didn’t have time for a trail ride, but we did work on the one rein stop, collected trot, posting, and the lope.  

Like the swallows, who hatch in our barn every spring, and one day we go out to find them fluttering from rafter to rafter, (they’re not quite ready for the wider world, but they are learning about the strength of their wings), that's us. 

In the above video, we were working on bringing the energy down to get him to slow to a stop, or slow to a trot from the lope.

We didn't get a trail ride in because I couldn't get there early enough, and she was waiting for two new horses to arrive.

But that's okay. We did enough that I feel ready now to continue the training.

He will need a lot of exposure on the trails.  Apparently, she was ponying him through a muddy creek a few days ago and when he felt the sinking into the mud he propelled himself into the bushes. Luckily, he didn't get hurt. Mud has always been Cowboy's fear, too, and it's really hard to create an obstacle that mimics it. You have to purposely look for mud, preferably in an open, safe space, and work them through it. (In many ways, he is a lot like Cowboy!)

He wears out easily going up hills, which she likes because it provides something to do if his energy gets too up. If he starts to lose attention, I can always find a hill and work him up and down until his mind gets back into the game.

We will need to continue to work on collection, which is something my trainer up here is good at, and the basics of staying safe by always being able to bring his head around and disengage his hips. 

My new/old saddle is completely set up, and I added my sheepskin seat cover so that it's super comfy. The saddle is well-made with a rawhide tree, but it's also super light and easy to swing up. I think I told you how much the saddle maker liked it, well, Sarah liked it a lot, too. She joked about taking it from me. I don't know why I haven't been using it all along!  It was just sitting there collecting dust. In fact, I almost sold it. So glad I didn't!

I found our old yacht rope mecate with slobber straps, and she got that set up, too.

The mecate is an interesting tool. I've always struggled with the loose end and knowing what to do with it. Sarah wraps it around the horn, but she said you can also tuck it loosely into your belt, in case you get thrown off, you'll still have your rope to keep the horse with you. The gentlemen who owns the barn where she trains is 81, and has raised and trained world champion Arabians. He has so many trophies and ribbons, but he also has a WEALTH of knowledge, as many of the old-timers do. He was watching some of the lesson and showed me how he tucks the end of the rope into his belt. 

Here is a video by Dennis Moreland that is a GREAT reference! And he looks a lot like the cowboy who owns Sarah's barn! This video demonstrates a 3rd way of keeping the rope tucked in your strings.

I was telling Sarah that at this point, I just have to get my hands on my horse to get the feel for him, and she agreed.  Unfortunately, training can't be handed over seamlessly, because we're all different, but it does lay a solid foundation.  I was able to walk, trot, lope, side pass, back him up, and everything else she'd entered into his young mind.

You can't ask for much more than that.

He whinnied to his new herd as we drove away, but the 2 1/2 hour ride was otherwise safe and uneventful. When we entered our property he whinnied for his old herd and they all came running. There was a lot of running around and bucking.  Even old man, Cowboy, got into the shenanigans.

Tumbleweed is home.


  1. Glad you got tack all set up for Tumbleweed, and a feel for his gaits. I imagine it all felt/feels like great progress, including having your handsome guy home!! Onto the next chapter!

    1. Yeah, it feels great. Farrier came today, and he was a little amped up. Also, some soreness in his back leg he scraped up when he jumped into the bushes. So, he’s going to get very light work for the first few days as he settles. But I think he definitely needs some work to help him acclimate. It’s good to get in the thinking game ASAP.

  2. He's looking good and the training seems to have gone really well for him. As you continue with what he's learned you will both have fun going forward.

    1. Fun is the key word. He’s a joy to work with when he’s tuned into me. We had a great time today. He’s settling in.

  3. I use the belt loop way of securing the mecarte lead. But that 3rd way was kind of neat.
    Your boy looks fabulous! And woohoo for the first lope, I bet that felt great!


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