Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The sun came out yesterday...

I've complained long and hard about my muddy footing here. We sit on clay, so even with the slightest rain things can get mighty slick. I've been toying with the idea of creating mud know, rather like ice skates, but for slick mud? The winter mud was bad enough; it got up to three inches deep at one point. But it was far easier to navigate than this slick stuff I've got now.
Which is why the sunshine is so welcome, and I hope it stays dry for more than just a couple of days so I can utilize my paddock. I can't very well send horses trotting around in it if they're likely to slip and fall now, can I?

The slick mud had me hesitant to saddle up Sunny, as I wasn't certain how she'd react. I didn't want her diving off the deep end, so to speak, and getting herself hurt. As previously mentioned, I've not worked a whole lot on tying her due to her head shyness, but yesterday figured I'd see how she reacted. Not a problem. I realized I didn't have my camera with me, so ran into the house and left her there. Came back and she was just fine.

Grabbed the saddle, wondering how she'd react to being tied and not able to circle me as I approached with it. She dove backwards as expected, but once she hit the end of the lead rope, she stood and accepted first the blanket, then the saddle. And with things going so smoothly, I had reach under her for the girth. She stiffened up, but tolerated every move I made. The saddle was cinched up just snug enough for it not to slide around if she jumped. Sunny stood there like a pro; not really enjoying it, but not having a hissy fit, either. I let her stand and relax a few moments, then untied her and led her around, having her turn on both fore and hind quarters, letting her become accustomed to the feel of the girth around her middle.

Not a bit of anxiety, so I took it a little further and lifted my foot to the stirrup. Now that got a reaction! She dove off to the side just as quick as you please. I scratched her neck and talked to her some, reached my foot up again, and once again she jumped. I had her nose turned to face me, but of course that didn't keep her tail from turning! But on the third attempt she stood there and let me put my foot into the stirrup while rocking the saddle a bit.

I'm not really sure if I'll mount Sunny and ride her. There's a part of me that wouldn't mind at all climbing on board by the end of the summer. But another part of me says 'leave it for the person who wants to adopt her'. There's something magical about being the first one on, especially when you can say you were the first to mount a wild mustang. Especially if you're a kid, and that's likely Sunny's destination. But for now she's going to be working on all things from the ground.

Spurred on by my successful workout with Sunny, I grabbed Jet from the pasture and decided it was time to saddle her up completely as well. As you can see, she's horribly troubled by that spooky old saddle on her back. Yes, she is. Look at that wild, frightened eye there!

Okay, so she didn't get too worked up, not even when it got cinched up. She did lift her head and look out of the corner of her eye at me, wondering what the whole thing was about. But she didn't object any more than that. On both Jet and Sunny, I took my time getting that girth cinched up. I let them feel my hand under their bellies first, then drew the girth up underneath, rubbing and letting them feel it before I began tightening it. This is because I don't want to be caught somewhere in between loose and snug enough to keep the saddle from slipping should they suddenly panic.

A horse I had years ago panicked when she felt the girth tighten up. My mom had been holding her, but the horse bolted right out of her hands. Thankfully, the saddle was tight enough not to slip around the horse and end up under her belly. That taught me two lessons; A) take things a little slower, getting the horse accustomed to the feel before pulling it up tight, and B) never have my mother holding the horse when they're being saddled for the first time. Okay...B could just as easily be having the horse tied securely to a post :)

But back to Jet. She was wonderful. The saddle was tightened up just enough. She dropped her head so I could rub it, and we began walking around the paddock. I rocked the saddle back and forth, swung the stirrups and let them bounce back to her sides. She didn't care. I even gave her a pat on the rear end, something that would have sent her to the moon a month ago, but she didn't mind at all last night.

Which, of course, led to putting a foot into the stirrup.
And you know me, I just can't leave well enough alone. I led her to the paddock rail. One of the things I like about being able to pony a young horse is that you get to mount up onto that other horse with your youngster right there. They get accustomed to seeing you go up and down above their head. But with no riding horse available, I decided to make use of the fence.
Jet didn't mind my being up above her head at in the least. And you know how badly I want to things popped into my mind at this point. City Boy was at work, so if for some reason I should get tossed off there wouldn't be a responsible adult at home to pick up the pieces. Then there was the little issue of a helmet...which I never used to bother with, but Darling is required to wear one, therefore I must set a good example. close, and yet so far!

Now...if you've managed to get this far in this lengthy post today, I'll let you in on a little something. Over at Carpenter Creek I'm hosting a caption contest. Offer up the winning caption and you could find yourself the winner of a free T Shirt.'s only one, Wednesday, so better hurry!

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