Sometimes the comments are far better than the actual post. Thank you for sharing your encouragement and experience yesterday. I hope others who are facing new challenges with their horses can find encouragement from them, too.
Here they are:
The subject is confidence saddle training my sweet Mustang, Beautiful Girl, and the post is from July 19th.
From Bill at It's a Horse Life:
Here's hoping tomorrow is uneventful to the point of being boring.
Thanks for the encouragement, and it usually is...uneventful. I always spend a lot of time stressing about a "new" step with a horse. I don't want to put them in bad situations. But when the fear of bad situations paralyzes our progress, I've got to overcome them. It's important to note, none of my fears have ever been realized. Things ALWAYS go better than I expected.
Grey Horse Matters said...
I think you will be better off in the round pen for now. It may give you both a sense of security. Hope all goes well with Beautiful.
I agree. I think I need to stick with what's familiar and comfortable for now.
Knowing when to change and what changes to make are the key to advancing. I hit the wall a few times with Chickory and had to rethink strategy and my own expectations of myself. Being humble is a lot safer than the pride that "goeth before a fall". Safety first, and never be afraid to ask for help.
Very true! In this case, I wasn't taking the next step, so it helped me to reevaluate and decide a change needed to be made.
Absolutely work in the round pen if you feel safer there. Nobody will think less of you for that.
I know all about the fear factor. I've been on my girl once since the bucking episode and that was what-a month ago? We're working back up to it but I can tell she's nervous and it freaks me out. In the meantime we'll ground drive and she'll be even more ready when I do get on her again.
Both of mine were/are started with a sidepull. My boy doesn't seem to have any problems switching between the bit and the sidepull now.
I'm all about taking steps back, if need be. I've done it many times. I enjoy the ground work as much as the riding, so there's joy to be had in every step we take.
Have you used just a surcingle on her first and let her move out? The feeling of the cinch is one thing to get used to, let alone the whole saddle. I agree, if you "feel" safer in the roundpen, then if you use it, your confidence will be communicated to your horse. I was very intimidated with training my first horse (and mustang) and took everything very slowly and step-by-step, more because I needed to convince myself that the horse would not buck me off when I mounted for the first time, and everything went fine! In fact, Chico NEVER bucked while I was training him to the saddle and riding. I even went so far as to tie wood pellets to the saddle and had him walk trot and canter before I mounted. You can do this. I also started mine in a halter and did the first rides (in the rounpen) with a halter. My very first rides were with someone else manning the lunge line and I was just a passenger. I did ultimately switch to a bit when I got to the point where I wanted to try to ride him outside the roundpen, simply because I figured it is harder for a horse to ignore the bit if something is grabbing their attention and it gave me more confidence to control him. But I chose the most mild bit I could find (a double jointed snaffle with a nice smooth center-piece). Oh, and I did eventually get bucked off, and it was on our first ride with a strange horse. Chico wanted to sniff the other horse, and I didn't want him to. When I pulled him away with the reins, the side of the bit slid through his mouth (I learned from this experience that I needed a chin strap on my snaffle bit), it freaked him out, and he panicked and bucked, I fell off, but still had a hold of the reins, so I mounted back up and he was fine. I think you need to do whatever gives you the most confidence because that is more important to your horse than your actual tools.
Thank you, Kara. There's a lot of good information here. I did plan to use the curcingle first, but it is packed away at the top of the barn so I decided to skip that step this year. She's had it on before and it didn't bother her. I'll ask my husband to get it down today when we're out making the roundpen. That's interesting what you said about the snaffle sliding in his mouth. I have a bridle and bit set up for our previous colts and it's all ready to go if I decide, like you, it is better for getting her attention. Glad you landed on your feet!
Andrea -Mustang Saga said...
I think a round pen is a good idea. You can leave it as soon as you're ready, which will probably be soon.
Do you still want those halters you mentioned on my blog? For riding in, I have a newer creation that I like a lot better than the halter with rings in the nose knots. I can email you a picture if you email me. andrea v at turbonet dot com. Sorry it took me so long to respond. I have been super busy and just remembered at two in the morning that I needed to make you halters. I can make them today and mail them, or I'll be in Spokane tomorrow if you want to meet up. Or I understand if you changed your mind or already got something else.
I'm excited to see the new creation, Andrea. I just emailed you. I LOVE your halters. They are the best I've ever had and I've had many rope halters in the past. I think it's the thin rope you use--it's perfect. Anyone looking for a rope halter--you cannot do better than the ones made by Andrea. $12