Saturday, July 14, 2007

Saddle up!

It's not much of a saddle, as saddles go. It's old and in pretty tough shape. But the tree is still good, and the stirrups aren't going to fall off any time soon. It's just not the prettiest saddle on the block, that's all. If I were to show up to any sort of organized event with it, I'd likely get laughed at.

Still, it has it's purpose. I'm certainly not going to toss a fancy $2000 saddle up onto my youngsters, not knowing if they'll just stand there placidly or try to kill it. Quiet Storm was frightened when she first saw it, but once she'd looked at it a couple of days, it wasn't nearly so bad and she allowed it to plop down onto her back with little fuss.

Sunny, on the other hand...

Sunny's seen that saddle for a couple of months, now. She's really not cared one way or the other when we've moved it from rail to rail out there in the paddock. (Another great thing about this saddle is I don't feel guilty leaving it sit out in the rain!) And since she's been handling the saddle blanket being tossed onto her back without a big blow up, I got brave and decided now was as good a time as any to toss that old saddle up onto her back as well.

Now, Sunny still is apprehensive about me getting close, so don't go thinking that we've somehow, miraculously, moved into the placid old mare stage since our hoof trimming experience earlier in the week. No, not at all. But we didn't lose any ground, either. She still likes to circle me a few times before I can catch her, and she still lets me know that she's not 100% comfortable with what's going on. However, I see no reason not to push her a little further outside of her comfort zone.

So there we were, finished with the Sunny Two Step. I had a short lead so that she couldn't jump too far away. The saddle blanket was in place and I led her to the rail with the saddle. Once I picked it up, she snorted and jumped backwards. I let her begin circling again until she could come to terms with the saddle in my hands. When she finally stopped I set it on her back.

Before I could really set it down completely, Sunny bolted as far as that 12 inches of lead rope would take her. It was far enough for her body to come out from under the saddle and have it land on the ground at my feet. Her eyes were wide, but she stopped as soon as the saddle was off her back.

We did it again. And again. And again. Three times Sunny jumped out from under the saddle. Three times she looked at me like I was crazy, but didn't let fear take her to the point where I was unable to work her. So up went the saddle a fourth time, and this time Sunny stood still. Apprehensive, yes, but still. The right stirrup was up over the horn of the saddle so that it wouldn't bump her right side, but it did squeak and she wasn't too fond of that. But she tolerated me rocking the saddle back and forth a few times without bolting, and within a couple of minutes the horrible leather monster was off her back.

Sunny has survived her first session with the saddle. She's terribly sensitive when it comes to being touched behind her elbows, so it'll be awhile before any cinching goes on. But I'm quite happy to have been able to at least get this far.

Fueled by my success with Sunny, I brought Jet out into the yard and tossed the saddle blanket on her back. Then, up went the saddle. Her response? Mom, I'm trying to get at this green grass and clover...could you give me a little more lead?


Christy said...

That's wonderful Tracey!!! Gosh, soon it will be Henry I am sure! We did get a new trainer and things are going remarkably well!!

Tracey said...

Hooray, Christy! I'm glad you've found someone who's not going to make faces behind your back anymore. Hard enough to gentle a wild horse without a trainer like that. I look forward to Henry updates. Sure am glad I stumbled across your mom's blog and found you!

Lady Of Chaos said...

Wow. How cool is that? Keep it up and you must get pics of these things. :)

Rising Rainbow said...

Sounds like Jet is going to be pretty layed back about just about everything. That's cool.