Photo by Margaret Chant and edited by Jessica Metropulos

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pads and Blankets and Girths--OH MY!

That pretty much sums up the session Nugget and I had together this afternoon.

After being with me a week, miss Nugget has taken very well to the seven games. She's a bit sticky in her driving and yoyo, and likes to be CLOSE in her circling, (Extrovert much?) but she's got the concept to basically a L1 standard. We're constantly improving, of course, but she's where she needs to be for me right now anyway.

So today was all about introducing Nugget to my other "toys", saddle pads and blankets, and then the concept of the girth. I dont' want to push the saddling too hard on a horse that's not ready for it, but simulations are fun, and Nugget's so smart, I felt she was ready for me.

I started out by just randomly placing saddle pads around the paddock, over barrels, fences, rails, etc, so we could just "happen" upon them as we played. This was REALLY funny, because Nugget immediately caught onto the difference, and wasn't quite sure what to think. Her first response was to follow her LBE side, and go ATTACK THE PADS, but then she'd scare herself half to death, jolt backwards, then suspiciously walk foward, sniff, and then start pawing...such a funny pattern. I let her figure this out with the 4 pads I had laid out, and we repeated the cycle until she wasn't phased anymore, then I started to play with desensitizing her to them. I'd pick them up and throw them, drop them, wave them in the air, etc. None of this really seemed to bother her, but she was very perplexed...the look on her face said it all: "What the...? Um...weirdo?"

Finally, after much silly preparation, I got to the point, and started "contact" friendly game with the pads, putting them all over her body and having her move with them on her, too. She handled it all like a trooper, though I will say it was funny watching her try to "follow the feel" off the blanket on her neck. She kept putting her head DOWN, then flinging it up and throwing the pad in the air, then looking amused and confused as it landed on her back. Personally, I think it was a game entirely.

Next, I introduced her to the concept of the girth by playing with the 22' line. The goal was eventually to put a flank rope around her barrel and get her used to varying degrees of pressure, and also getting her to follow the feel off the rope. Started off by simply throwing different parts of the rope over her back, and letting her get used to it bouncing and dragging around her, etc. She did great with that, didn't even bat an eye as it was bouncing around and hitting her legs. So then I put it around her barrel as a flank rope, sort of expecting a rodeo, but not entirely, since her calm behavior was proving me wrong in all other aspects.

And of course, she was calm as could be. She got a little unconfident and walked around kind of quickly, but soon started blowing off adrenaline and settling in. We played on both sides, and she really got it. I'm VERY pleased with her. I'll try to get some photos tomorrow, and hopefully by next week, we may be playing consistantly in the bareback pad :)

That's all for now, folks. Gotta go finish some dishes and go to bed UBER EARLY!

1 comment:

savvynight said...

WOW!!! Nugget seems like a very Fun and interesting and just plane neat horse Fran!