Getting accustomed to the weight of a rider...

This 8 year old, 15.3hh registered Appaloosa gelding is in rehabilitation as he gains weight lost due to EPSM. He will be started under saddle and available for adoption.

Getting accustomed to the weight of a rider...

Postby Juliane on Tue Aug 07, 2007 11:07 pm

Shadow and I worked tonight on saddling and mounting. It was the first time I had worked with him since Susan did the saddling exercises with him a week ago. I wasn't sure how he'd react, but was pleased to see that he was much more relaxed about the saddling process.

However, once saddled, he was as bunched up as before. It's almost as though he is claustrophobic with the saddle on and just can't help it but to have little anxiety attacks. I liked the way Susan's logic meant that Shadow had to remain in control of his body while in halter - so I continued with that train of thought. If he started to crow hop or buck while in the halter and lead rope, he got reprimanded. However, he got lots of praise when he was able to control his body.

We worked on this for about 30 minutes and it just didn't seem like he was getting any more relaxed. So, I turned him loose in the big arena and made him full out run. He ran and bucked and acted silly. When he came to a stop, I approached him and pet his forehead. He lowered his head and the rear cinch strap touched his stomach, causing him to jump and crow hop. I sent him off to run again.

The next time he came to a stop, I tightened the rear cinch so it was touching his stomach all the time, not just when he lowered his head. This seemed to help and within about 5 minutes, he decided he was no longer jumpy or spooky about the saddle. He was also very hot and sweaty! That boy is out of shape!

We walked around, cooling off, while I pulled and pushed on the saddle. He was completely relaxed! Good boy! Once he was pretty much cooled down, I decided to see what he'd do if I put a bit of weight in the stirrups. I didn't think I could really put much weight in the stirrups since I was using my treeless saddle, but I quickly found out that I could! Yay!

The first time I stepped into the stirrup and my toe touched Shadow's side, he leaped sideways. We continued working on it until he stood quietly, letting me flop around on the saddle, mounting from both sides.

When we were done, I unsaddled him and let him cool off in the arena while I cleaned stalls. When I went back for him, I decided to do some more weight bearing exercises but without the saddle. I pulled out the mounting block and leaned over Shadow a few times. Within a few minutes, I was able to jump onto his back and lay there. He didn't like it much at first - he's very sensitive and I'm sure it felt weird. But he didn't hump his back or try to buck. He just kept moving sideways, trying to get away from the pressure of my weight on his back. As soon as he'd stand still, I'd slide off. I did this until he'd let me lay on his back with him continuing to stand still and not moving off.

Ideally, I'd like to get Shadow ready for his first ride by this weekend. I am heading down to Jenny's house on Saturday and would love to be able to put a ride or two on him while we are down there. So, I'll try saddling him every day between now and then and continue to mount up. Next time I'll swing my leg over and see what happens :)

Sorry for the poor quality pictures. My daughter did a great job being my photographer, but my point and shoot camera takes awful pics when it's dark in the arena!





Feel the Spirit, Keep on Riding!
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Postby stardreams on Wed Aug 08, 2007 9:20 am

Yay Shadow!!! Good job Julie :D :D Sounds like although him controling himself when in hand is a great idea, running around as you even suggested that night, is just what he needs. You work so well and are so in tune with what the best training direction is for these horses to go :)
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