Today was ZZ’s first day to have a saddle on her back by me. I’m trying to ramp up a bit on the training.
I’ve been tying her at the hitching rack for short periods of time while I get things in or out of the tack room, during grooming and some hoof lifting. Because she was first trained to stand still and was sacked out this has proven no big problem to her. I think also, she is not a horse that when she hits the end of the line, she starts to pull harder and back up. There are just some horses that is their natural reaction and so far, she has not shown this tendency.
I was going to use my faux sheepskin pony pad and the pony saddle I have. The pony saddle is a one piece molded rubber/plastic one by Wintec that they don’t make anymore. I had it for lessons and always liked it for the really young set and have held on to it. Well, that plan fell through as I had no girth that would fit her with that saddle.
BTW while grooming her, she had to groom the pad that I had sat down on the hitching rail. It was SO CUTE!
I switched to my square dressage pad and Dear Ones’ dressage saddle (stirrups removed). ZZ is bigger then she measures as it fitted her actually rather well. She even fitted Dear One’s girth to my surprise.
Saddling her, I just put on pad and if she stood still got a Click-Treat. Put on the saddle, and if she stood still, got a Click-Treat. Because I had to try all five girths before I found one that matched well, she had lots of on-off, girths on the left/right, me walking behind etc… and if she stood still Click-Treat.
None of this was the problem. Even cinching up to a loose, but attaching, girth hole did not bother her.
When she started walking then it was WHAT!!!??? I actually saw some dressage movement for a bit… She did a very small rear (just off the ground) and thought maybe she could run it off, but overall, settled quickly. The key I think was that I kept the lead rope very slack and just went with her movement to give her time to figure it out.
The goal is to now saddle her whenever I take her for walks and lunge work. I want her completely comfortable with the weight and movement of the saddle on her back and get to the point that it is no big deal at all before any riding actually with a saddle (goal is next spring??).
The second part to get her ready for riding is to have her stand next to the mounting block while I’m on it. She did well today on standing still with me up there and she liked me scratching her withers but you could tell she wasn’t ready for pressing weight on her back.
That’s fine we have plenty of time and are actually ahead of my schedule.