My first project this season is a 3-year-old blue roan walking horse named Rosie. Most of my other projects have been older horses. Some are new arrivals at the farm that just need the kinks ridden out of them before they settle in to their new routine. Others have developed a bad habit or two and need to be reminded that they need to behave, even for novice riders. At only three years old, Rosie is a clean slate. She has had a good start. She’ll stand quietly for grooming, tacking up, and mounting. She’ll move out, stop, and change gaits, but needs work on her turns.
I worked her for a short time in the arena. With nearly all my project horses, but especially the youngsters, I start with sacking out. I still do it old style with an old saddle blanket. It only took a couple of minutes to see that Rosie had already been through this aspect of training. She stood calmly while I moved the blanket all around her legs, belly, and head. I did the same from the saddle with no problems. From there, we went on a short trail ride with a couple of other folks. Rosie did just fine crossing creeks and wooden bridges. She shied once at a herd of deer, but I made her stand and watch them bound off into the woods. The few times she has shied at anything, she’s settled right back down.
|Rosie, on the trail. That's us on the right.|