Friday, June 30, 2017
Beautiful Girl's First Ride
Rebecca came over last night to work with Beautiful Girl. I was thinking we'd do some basic carrying the saddle work and then introduce her to bridle and bit. However, to my surprise, Beautiful Girl did so well with the saddle, bit, and test mounts, Rebecca thought she was ready to go for her first "ride".
Now, I've been working with Beautiful Girl on and off for ten years, (In fact, this is my 10 year anniversary adopting Beautiful Girl!!) and the furthest I ever got with training was to sit on her back with the saddle, which she did really, really well. I hadn't asked her to move out or wear a bridle and bit. Why? Because I didn't feel equipped to handle it if it went south.
Because of that, Beautiful thought standing with a rider was what she was supposed to do, and she was hesitant to move out. Rebecca kept giving her little leg taps until a light went on, and she was like, "Oh, you want me to walk? I guess, I can do that." Off they went.
There were many moments where she got "stuck" and didn't know if she wanted to continue--she'd try to trot, or turn, or stop. And, that is why I wanted a professional trainer to do the first ride. Rebecca makes it look easy, but those moments are the moments when something can go wrong if the rider overreacts or loses their balance. Rebecca stayed cool, clear and consistent.
We're going to continue these light rides and then progress, next weekend, to trailer training and ponying her at the state park. If she does well, we may even ride her on the trail that same day.
Beautiful is showing herself to be a horse who, once she understands what you're asking, WANTS to do it. When the light goes on she remembers exactly what you taught her. All the more reason to keep what I'm teaching her what I want her to learn. She has a mind like a vice.
About an hour after I'd put her back in the turnout, I went out to take care of things in the barn. I was curious if Beautiful would want to have anything to do with me--had her experience been negative or positive? To my delight, when I walked into her turnout, she came walking over to me at a fair clip--happy, eager, and willing. I think she likes the work!