But still, when I'm given the chance to ride a new horse, I typically jump right on.
"A" saddled Sii up, her new rescue, for the first time yesterday. She did perfect, as we expected, so today mom and I got to try her out. A hopped on first to make sure she was alright and of course, she was, so mom took over. A bit of a backstory - she was rescued a few years back along with her foal, Bay-Bay who you may remember, from a slaughter house. She is blind in one eye, 18 years old and we were told that she had dressage training. When we rode her, it was obvious that she had definitely had an amazing amount of training under her belt. She backs, side-passes, open reins, neck reins, works on leg pressure, vocal cues, you name it, she'll do it. She is cleared to walk/trot and canter very lightly until she builds muscle back up. She's actually very healthy and really great mare. I've kind of fallen in love with her after seeing her personality, which is actually a lot like Red's. She's very calm and laid-back and Red's new BFF, not to mention she's drop-dead gorgeous. A buckskin with lots of chrome.
Mom fell in love. ;) She walk/trotted, just to see what she could do. Well, she can do pretty much anything you ask. Her trot is super smooth and very floaty, she holds her head beautifully. She's much different than Red, very "up" and floaty, head is always high and etc. She is definitely pretty barn sour but she listens despite that, the worst she did was toss her head and start backing when she got upset. She's very alert and on edge for the first few minutes until she's 100% comfortable with her surroundings and rider, but once she's happy, she settles down nicely. She's a super fun mare.
I got on her next and basically did everything mom did, then asked her to sidepass, which she did. I tried working her with leg pressure, which she did. I neck reined, which she did. I asked her to back, which she did. I got her to trot in a nice circle and soon she decided to move into a slow spin. Very different from Red, haha! I definitely wouldn't say I preferred her over Red, but she's a lot of fun.
Once we were done, I headed back to go see Redhead. I had already gone up to check him out and he was covered in flies so I knew I had to spray him before I left, he ran to me in the pasture yet again and I got him taken care of and got to lunge him with the longer lead for a few minutes.
|Shiny shiny shiny.|
|Once again, never had to hit him, just showed him.|
|You'd never think his trot was so bad.|
Of course, he went straight to join up the second we were done.
|Working into a trot.|
|We love join up.|
I recently bought Buck Brannaman's book Faraway Horses - which is fantastic so far - and he talks about the importance of a relationship with your horse when you aren't riding. I'm paraphrasing, but basically, he said that when a horse leaves you as opposed to you leaving him, it's a sign of disrespect. The horse is the one who decides when work or just time with the owner is over, not the owner. Of course, you shouldn't have to force your horse into it, he/she should want to be there with you, and that was my ultimate goal with Red. Forget about learning how to do flying lead changes, how to keep PERFECT EQ and etc. I just really wanted a friendship with my horse that went both ways, not just me chasing after him saying "LET ME LOVE YOU!" which honestly, that's what I did for awhile.
Since the first time I did join up in the round pen and started focusing more on our relationship on the ground instead of in the saddle, he has changed so much. I stopped making him work every time I rode, and started letting him have his rides, where we went where he went as long as he behaved and didn't put us in a stupid area, haha! We walked slowly at his pace, sometimes, when he wanted to gallop, we did. We just started having fun rides in-between and it made such a huge difference. Now, my horse runs to see me and follows me around. Sometimes he even whinnies after me when I leave, and that makes me feel like I'm doing something right. I've had a ton of help, but in regards to this kind of training and horsemanship, I've done it by myself, just him and me. I feel like I've done a lot of good.
“Horsemanship should be fun. By learning how to control your horse in any situation, your confidence will greatly increase. When you’re confident, you can relax and enjoy your partnership.” - Clinton Anderson.
Honestly, I started getting really nervous on the ground after I've almost gotten run over by the herd (to no fault of my horse) so many times, and this has helped me so much. At the end of the day, I can trust Red, on the ground or in the saddle. Could he spook one day and hurt me? Yes, but any horse could do that. He's trustworthy and I really don't have to walk on eggshells around him. I've realized how confident I am with him when it's just us or a few of the quieter horses. He's lent me a lot of confidence lately.
And before I shut up, here's a video of Red and I playing around in the pasture today. :) Remember, it's dinnertime, the herd is being somewhat pesty at the gate, but he's paying them absoloutly zero attention. So proud of this dude! It won't let me post it directly so here's the link.