Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Upping the Game

I got to see my beautiful boy Monday. He's shedding off to a shiny, light buckskin color, and Sarah has his body in top shape! 

As I watched her work him on the ground, I was amazed at how well he carries himself now. He was so forward, and committing his whole body to the motion--eagerly, happily--all his parts were communicating. It was very pretty to watch, and he knew he did well. When she was done showing him off and handing him over to me, he had a look of, “Did you see that, mom? I did good, didn’t I?” 

And then he burrowed his head gently against my chest for his reward. (He’s still very sweet, and his trainer encourages his curiosity and interactions.)

I worked on the trot, yet again, and it was better, but I still feel like I’m learning to ride all over. 

I brought another of my saddles down to experiment with. I like to get Sarah’s opinion on all the tack. It fit him perfect, but she didn’t approve of the flimsy billet. (I’ve already had another made). But it is one my daughter used to ride in, and I’m not used to it. It has a three slot rigging, which is actually better. The fenders are easier to move around, so you can touch more of their body with your leg. 

I’m used to riding with a long leg, but Sarah wants my leg at more of an angle for posting the trot. That’s hard to get used to, and I think I need to add more holes to get a length in between. 

The bridle and bit work for him, but I need new reins. The system she’s using—basically, plow reining, I guess you’d call it—and keeping them short, but also loose—gets really messy with my round reins. She uses a mecate, but I’ve always had trouble with the loose end around the saddle horn. I might try my splits next time. 

New horse. New saddle. New bridle and bit.  I feel like a novice. 

But Tumbleweed is doing awesome. It’s all on me. 

I am coordinating with my trainer up here, and she want to know how Sarah would like us to follow up to support him. She wrote me this:

Super! As part of bring him home , get a good eval from your trainer on what he is solid on and what he still struggles with. That and the knowledge of how to support him to continue to build confidence and strength will make a big difference for you both as he comes home.

Sarah is bonded to T, and it has to be hard to hand him off to someone who is as goofy as I feel, right now, when she has him going so good. She kept emphasizing the importance of never putting too much on him. Always be sensitive and don’t overload them, she says. 

I take this very seriously, and feel the need to up my game. It will take a lot of work, and it can only happen by getting to it. 


  1. Having a horse that challenges you to improve is a good thing.
    He looks great, love that dunskin colour. He does have a lot of his daddy's personality.
    I'm a split rein person, I like the ones that are weighted on the ends which helps to keep them from bunching up in your hands.
    I like Sarah's attitude about not overloading the youngsters. So many trainers push them too hard. Tumbleweed is in good hands.

    1. I’ll try my split reins next time. Yes, he does provide a new challenge, and I look forward to the day I get a feel for riding him!

  2. I love my split reins. The length, easy to make adjustments and have something right in your hand for gentle added pressure if needed. Tumbleweed is doing (and looks) awesome, and so are you!! Riding young horses is different, and you are learning a new mount. How exciting! You must be on cloud nine. You are fortunate to have two good trainers. They all have different strengths.

    1. I’m definitely excited to get started with him here. I think I will try my split reins. That’s what I’m used to using. My trainer in Spokane only trains from the ground, and she works with a wide ran of clientele. She helped me train Leah from the ground and somehow kept me from ever having a disaster in the process. She taught me the pulley stop, which helped a couple of times. She had a lot of tricks in her bag.

  3. Tumbleweed is looking terrific! He seems to be coming along really well and growing up. I agree with the trainer to take it slow and steady. It's what we do with training, little successes all the time. When they can't get something we go back to what they do know and always end on a high note so they can feel good about themselves and no one leaves frustrated. It was so cute that he put his head on your chest, what a sweet boy who loves you.

    As for tack all I can say is I know basically nothing about western horse tack. Each horse is a challenge to find the right combination for horse and rider that is comfortable and safe for both of you. I'm sure you'll figure it out, it's trial and error. Personally, I can't ride in a western saddle. I've been on some trail rides on vacations and never felt safe in the western gear. It's just a whole different way of doing things for me. With English riding my leg is always angled no matter what gait we do. I guess it's just the way we learned to ride. As for reins, I used laced or plaited reins so I don't really have any experience with split or other types of reins.

    1. It is a challenge to find the right fit for horse and rider. I was shocked that I had such a good fitting saddle for him in my collection. I think it’s going to work out great.

      Yes, building confidence is such a good thing. If I run into any big road blocks, I’ll call my trainer for help.

  4. He's going to be such a grand horse when he's all grown. He's pretty grand right now. You must be over the moon

    1. I am really happy he has turned out so well. You never know with horses, but I hedged my bets knowing his mama and papa and breeder.


Please feel welcome to join our discussion by telling us about your own thoughts and experiences.