Sunday, May 19, 2013

Rosie part 3

The third time up on Rosie was a very successful session. I’m working to make sure she will stand to be mounted using a mounting block. We started just like the day before. I groomed her on a loose lead line, again using the mounting block. I kept her on a loose line while tacking up as well. She has done so well standing on a loose line that I took a chance when I went to get the block for mounting up. I hooked the reins over the saddle horn, leaving plenty of slack in them. I also draped the long lead line over the horn. I repeated the command of “whoa”, and walked over to get the block. Rosie stood perfectly still while I picked up the block and brought it to her side.

The other times I have ridden her, Rosie has moved around some before I got well settled into the saddle. In reviewing the previous sessions, I realized that I might have caused some of the movement myself. Rosie has only recently been introduced to the bit. I’m using a short-shanked “tom thumb” bit on her. I use a very light touch on the reins, and I can tell that her mouth is soft and responsive. When mounting, I’ve gathered the reins somewhat close so I could be prepared to stop her if she moved off. It’s entirely possible that there was an increase in tension on the reins, probably on the off side, as I mounted. Rosie could have interpreted that as a command from me, or simply shifted her position to relieve the pressure.

This time, I left the reins and lead rope on the saddle horn and grabbed a handful of mane for support. I’ve had success with this tactic before with a horse named Hawk. It worked with Rosie as well. She didn’t move at all. I mounted and dismounted from both sides a couple of times, then moved into the arena.

Rosie has the mounting block down pat.
Photo by Debra Wood Ferguson

I led Rosie and carried the mounting block with us. I left the gate open and moved to the center of the ring. There, I tossed the block out in front of us, letting it bounce around. Rosie wasn’t fazed. I hooked the reins and lead rope over the saddle horn again and gave the command “whoa”. I went back to the gate and closed it. Rose stood there where I left her. She did try to take a step toward me when I started back towards her. Another “whoa” stopped her. She stood there while I retrieved the mounting block and rolled it noisily toward her with my foot. Once again, I mounted and dismounted from both sides. This time, I bounced and rolled the mounting block under her belly when I changed sides. No problems from Rosie.

Rosie, patiently waiting
Photo by Debra Wood Ferguson
I figured that she had the mounting block aspect down pat, so we took a couple of turns around the arena to break the monotony. We stopped parallel to the board fence, and I dismounted and mounted using the fence a couple of times. Then we went around the arena and did it again in the opposite direction. I took her out to the barnyard and tried a few different things. We mounted and dismounted using the well cap, the fender of a horse trailer, the floor of a flatbed trailer, and the tailgate of my pickup truck. Rosie handled it all.

I can’t take full credit for all this success. Rosie had a good start with a gentle trainer. She trusts her rider implicitly. She still has more to learn. She doesn’t know backing yet, and has a lot of work to do on her turns. But the parking brake works pretty good.

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