Colt Starting Dancing - Accept the Saddle [Slideshow]
After all the thorough preparations, Dancing is ready for the next step: accept the saddle. A horses reaction, when wearing for the first time this big floppy piece of leather, can never be underestimated.
Might sound like not a big deal, but especially when the horse has to learn to carry a big flappy western saddle, we should never underestimate! As she is very curious, she quickly learnt that the saddle was a sweet spot, worth to be explored and eaten. She had no problem accepting the placement of the pad and the saddle, also not the cinching up. But she showed me that she worried about moving around with it.
The bouncing on the back when trotting, the leather strings on her sides and the noise of the stirrups were pretty weird to her. So I took a few sessions to show her that she could still do everything as well as without the saddle on her back. Dancing didn’t give a lot of bucks and no hard ones, but she had a hard time to find relaxed forward.
Enjoy the picture story of Dancing learning to accept the saddle.
Preparing for saddling: find the saddle.....
Bingo! Dancing is allowed to explore - of course I am using not the most expensive equipment for this step!
Even biting into it is allowed. Curiousity always comes before confidence.
Dancing, are you ok that I put that thing on your back?
Moving around at the walk and exploring the usual obstacles before trotting helps her a lot to relax.
Dancing starts to offer really nice conversation - can you see her question?
A little sideways in between - often young horses think they can't move as normal anymore once they wear the saddle. Having them explore all kind of options helps their confidence a lot.
Oooops little buck on the side. Going to the left and feeling the leather strap on the right is not her thing yet.
Ok, she can go forward again.
Cantering to the right is a lot easier for her.
Tada! Look at me!
Good girl, you found the tarp!
Trotting over poles creates extra commotion with the saddle. At first she got pretty stuck, a bit scared about the bouncing of the saddle on her back. After a few repetitions and enough encouragement, she managed.
I am the best, no? At least the prettiest.
Little friendly game check: What is that Gabi? No Problem at all for Dancing.
Preperation for mounting. Dancing is learning to come to the mounting block.
Laying over her back. It is all about giving the horse a good feeling - my goal is that she falls in love with this spot.
During the last two sessions, I also started to introduce the mounting block. I want young horses to fall in love with it. It should be a spot of relaxation, cuddles and scratches. When mounting on a youngster for the very first time, I prefer to have no helper – like this, the horse can express himself and I know the truth.
I have to go at his pace because she will be able to move away whenever she feels worried. This will be the program of next week.
Read more about Dancing's Colt Starting