Monday, May 31, 2010

Sundays at the Stables - First time in the Saddle

Our days have been extra cold and wet in though we were hoping to get to ride in a saddle today...we had to optimistically do some chores first, and wait it out!
Jo has been wanting to help around the stable more and learn the ropes of stable management too.
So, since my PBO was out of town and I was in charge of the 2 steeds that did not go with her, we set forth in cleaning the paddocks and stalls.

Danny Boy is a special horse...he never poo's in the stall! he goes outside to do that is kinda cool!

It was windy and raining-on and off- we discussed all the things we may do inside. I was secretly pondering how to get my friend in the saddle...even if just for 10 minutes.
She groomed the rather dirty Danny horse and I showed her how to saddle fit. 
The particular English saddle we were going to use, was deemed this winter-NOT to fit Danny- but since his shape has changed with his diet now fits fine. I showed my friend where to place the saddle for the horses' shoulder movement and also how to make sure it did not rock but has- even contact -under the length of the Panel .
Though ( sorry I forgot to snap the shot) it was REALLY sitting incorrectly on him. The Pommel  was raised, and would throw any rider behind the movement of the horse.
 I put a "Cashel "riser pad under it, and did the CHAP STICK TEST...
see the tube sitting there?
The riser pad made the saddle more level, so a rider may sit balanced, with their leg under them.

So, by the time I showed her how to bridle and saddle a horse..the weather looked a bit more inviting!
I lunged Mr. Dann- man for a short time...finding out the terrain was not so good after the weeks heavy downpours. 
Yet, Knowing that we were just going to walk and get acquainted with the saddle today and maybe the reins too...I proceeded in the less than ideal area for a beginner.

She was so happy to be on the horse again!

I had her hold onto the grab strap at first and it was sooo awkward...she looked as though she may roll off Danny..I could tell that she felt very insecure!

We practiced dropping her stirrups a few times, and regain them...that helped tons with her legs. But- the terrain was so UNEVEN, and Dann was really undulating to and fro! ( Now, that I have had a week to think on it...good for balance at the walk!..don't think I feel comfortable trotting her there though!)

She picked up the reins, after a few rounds....
I love how Danny Boy knows that he has two masters at his point!

Jo, I don't envy you that there is SOOO much to take in!
 I told her many things, as they came up as necessary and making sure you have a direct line to the mouth , from your elbow- through to the bit. I took the reins into my own hands near Danns' mouth, while standing there, pretending like I was the bit. I had her close her fingers and take up contact with me...and illustrated that she is to treat that contact- like she has hold of Danny's lips.. 
She was excellent with light hands...though as she was thinking of her hands...
therefore-she looked at them!
Very common!

(notice how her leg became more essential for balance, after she took up the reins.)

So then, I taught her (told her for the first 5-6 times on this circle alone!)  to look 10 paces ahead, and the essential body language it does send to the horse.
This lesson, many riders revisit through the instructor's insistence, each time they have a lesson...I know!
Where you look is where you intend the horse to go..... therefore thinking it firstly, and accordingly, the body does send a clear message to the horse!
 Your core weight shifting , signals the horse as the sleight movements of your legs and hands, as you turn your shoulders into your seat.

We practiced this, after she became more confident, by doing serpentines within the circle.
 I had her choose a spot( 10 paces ahead) to begin the inner spiral. As she came closer to me, I told her to pick the next destination and she'd spiral out again to the outer circle.
She did really well!
Looking ahead and using her core to turn Danny Boy!

( I reiterated the hands being lower and a direct line to Danny's mouth several times...she'll get it- as she discovers the concept of the hands being independent of the body)

It turned out to be an excellent lesson!

Next time we meet...I will either have a Western saddle for her(they had all been taken out of town with my BO)  or use my Deeper seated, dressage saddle.

DISCLAIMER ( any one that trains and knows far more than I do...Please, feel free to add suggestions and whatever you will)  I am NOT a professional trainer- and lack much finesse towards this area, forgive me. 


  1. Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I hope you come back again. I've been poking around your blog some and I'll be back. Of course I will, it's a horse blog!

    That was a good lesson, by the way. Danny Boy looks like a good fellow, just the right guy for a beginner or rerider.

  2. I'm not a trainer either, but am curious as to what sort of head gear Danny is wearing...also what is the purpose of that breast strap. How does it hold the saddle on or balanced if there is no leathers between the front legs to the cinch?
    Is this typically an English style breast strap?
    So different than Western, for sure.

    Looks like all went well. It was nice to see that she was starting to ride with confidence.

    Also how interesting that you spoke of always looking where you want your horse to go, because that is a big reason why I think my mare gave me her 100% in trotting and cantering.

    Unlike how I was always looking down and noticing Baby Doll's pinned ears and preparing for her to buck or crowhop, I've realized that Apache is not trying to kill me and that she is just waiting for me to tell her what to do next.

    It is so nice to ride a willing, kind horse and to finally trust again.


  3. Excellent Liss, Apache is so good!...Yea, your body language sends messages..and if we are pensive and looking down..our energies are just stopped..our movement all of it. Thinking forward and directional too, allows the horse to move forward and in the direction you are facing. Your Apache is so perfect for you...trained, balanced and such a level head. She has MUCH to teach you!

    Danny is wearing a English style Breast helps the saddle/girth from slipping back. His withers keep the saddle centered....AND my anterior motive.. something to grab..though, he had plenty of mane!
    He also has a "Lunging Caveson" keeps me from touching his mouth/poll. It also has 3 rings for how to bend or not to bend the horse while asking for different gaits, on line.
    I am needing to make hi his own bridle...hi owner took all the gear that wkend and I had to use that one, left the flash very loose, he does Not need it! I want to put my "Mullen Mouth" rubber bit on a headstall for her as she learns contact and such.

    I am having o much fun teaching her..but I do need a level arena soon!

  4. Sounds like you're a great teacher though.
    I'm not a trainer, but since in the land of the blind the one-eyed is king, I'm helping hubs with his riding now and again. He is of course trained by Jans on a regular basis, but I'm a good-posture-freak, so if I notice something when he is riding by himself, I'll try and help him to correct it. Can't get him to relax his legs and keep them still while trotting though. Is posting the word for standing up-sitting down? We call that lichtrijden, or light riding.
    Any tips on keeping the legs still while doing that?

  5. Love your blog! And I have always loved the state of Oregon even though I've never been... I trail ride as much as I can, and our trails are nice, but not as beautiful as what I'm seeing on your blog. I have a quarter horse, he's my "other man".

    I think you did a fine job with the beginner lesson, by the way.

  6. Carolina...yea, is called "posting" .I am on a laptop computer, and not ...will come over later to tell you my thoughts on the leg still thing-NOT sure how to make this LT work for me here too well. The first thing I thought Of thought was the last time I took a lesson, I was having a very difficult time of posing on the borrowed horse I was riding....the instructor had me DROP MT IRONS, then as she stood with me...put her hand under my contact point of my calf...then had me rock gently, out of my seat, off the saddle slightly. It was sooo slight to achieve this motion...!!! That is what it is like to post,only with the horses action. It made huge differance to my leg did not move again!

    Karen! Welcome!!!
    I will be visiting later..on a Lap top and not very good at figuring things out.
    Thanks for the positive comments on my Horse mentoring session(s). My friend and I are getting on very well with it..she wants to learn it all. and there is so much to tell...! We are both having fun and I KNOW I will not be her only no one should have just learn from so many different folks..everyone has something good to offer.
    I really like how your relationship sounds with your QH! I have loved developing that with my mare and I had to find the right "trainers" to encourage that to happen!

  7. I love your's good for a novice like myself to read! What a great gift you are giving your Friend!! I have a friend who helps me through my rough spots and I wouldn't do half of the things I've done without her support!!

  8. Heather...YOU totally made my day, thanks!
    We have fun and I so look forward to each and every minute...even brush cleaning and tack repair!


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