I love it when we’re all on the same page!

I’ve mentioned Bessie before. Bessie is a ten year old AQHA mare with a baby at side by the VLC. She’s now owned by a 12 year old who is eager to start riding her. We know Bessie has been ridden, but we don’t know the extent of her training, so I’m trying to refresh her memories!

Last week I started saddling her up. I started with the hunt saddle, reasoning that the smaller and lighter choice is always the one to start with. The first thing I had to do was go back for a bigger girth. The 48″ that fits the VLC wouldn’t even begin to reach on Big Bessie. Fortunately I had a 56 that came with the saddle. Yup. That fit Big Bessie. Good grief!

Baby was highly interested in the saddle. Bessie ignored it and kept eating.

So, since that went well, next session we progressed on to longeing, which was far more exercise for me than the horse. Bessie just didn’t see any reason at all to actually trot. That was way more work than she was interested in. (Pets tend to resemble their…trainers?) We got her going both directions but she showed very little motivation. Baby, however, showed a level of motivation similar to Smarty Jones, blasting around the paddock at mach 10 while her mother trotted sedately on the longe. (It’s always so much fun working them with babies still on them. The best part is when you start riding and they cut you off continually!) If anybody has any brilliant tips for training a mare who’s still got the baby on her, feel free to share!

I put a western saddle on her this time. She kept eating.

Tightened the cinch. She kept eating.

Put a bridle on her. She made faces like she’d never worn one, tried to go back to eating. I removed it and decided we’d tackle wearing a bit another day.

I snapped reins to her halter and got on her. She kept eating. This mare and I are going to get along just fine.

I have to post another pic. How pretty are they? I love this mare and the baby’s better than the mother. Baby, however, is scared of the halter so we are now working on desensitizing her to the halter, ropes, etc. in preparation for halter breaking.

Honey and I are getting busy preparing for the SAFE show on August 23rd. I was originally going to have that be the VLC’s debut but I am so busy with the horses who HAVE to get ridden right now (Honey and Bessie) that he has fallen by the wayside a bit. That’s okay. We’ll get to a show yet this year, but I’m going to let this show be Honey’s day. It’s more appropriate for her to go to a horse rescue’s show anyway as she was a free cast-off from a breeding farm, not an expensive show prospect who was never in any jeopardy like the VLC. Friends watched me ride Honey last night and I got to show off how she halts from a trot and stands perfectly still with the reins pitched away. We’ve been working on that! Her neck-reining is also coming along super well. Karen, I need to get you some video. I actually have this coming Saturday off from work so I may prevail upon Josie to haul a few up to the local public arena for me so we can get some good video for a change, not to mention getting Honey out to a new location before the horseshow.

As for the VLC, we have introduced ground driving and I agree it is a great tool. It is hard to balk because you don’t like wearing a bit when Mom is behind you and able to growl at your big shiny butt. He is getting better about it – it will just take time. While he is very quiet in most respects, once he has decided to be a drama queen about something, it takes time for him to get over it. The first challenge was the cinchiness – now he’s over it. The second challenge was moving off while mounting – he’s about 75% over that. The third was the feet, and he’s on his way to being over that. Now we have the bit. Mind you, this horse NEVER bucks, spooks, or does anything really bad under saddle. He just occasionally says “nope, don’t like that, gonna pout and have a hissy fit.”

On another note, seeing someone else ground drive him made me want to make him into a pleasure driving horse. Man, he is so pretty. I know he’s mine and I sound like a typical mom, but he really is that pretty! Again, hopefully I can get some pictures this weekend or better yet video. 🙂

Josie also ground drove the SSG, who tried to pull the bolting off maneuver that way…and got shut down hard. What a wonderful teaching tool! She is going to keep up with that and try to get him back on track.

Meanwhile, Kyra put in some ground work on my naughty yearling, who is full of beans and can definitely use it. She loves him and has already taught him to pick up his feet perfectly – now they are working in the round pen and on leading without any pushy moments.

So that’s my update. What’s yours?

Oh, and I just have to post another picture of Bullwinkle because I loooove him. 🙂

Published in: on July 28, 2008 at 4:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

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