Monday, March 29, 2010

Tuffs First Saddling/Bridling

Tuff says "um, what did you put in my mouth,
and why is it still there??"


Here it is! The promised post! Sorry it took so long to come about!

So anywho, last Wednesday we had a gorgeous day! High 60's, low 70's. When I got home I left the husband mowing the lawn and packed up my saddle and bridle.

I was hoping the horses would be up at the house eating hay, but of course they were out in the pasture eating grass! So the two dogs and I traipsed out there. I was calling them the whole way and once I heard Tuff call back, but no sign of them. So I finally hit the back lane and saw all of them clustered at the top of the hill. Then they all came running down the hill, eep! I still worry about Missie (my mini schnauzer 5/6 month puppy) around the horses (not to mention my unborn baby!) so I yelled WOAH and put my hands up. That got them all to stop in front of me. Scarlet and Stormy were up front of course, but Tuff was right next to Stormy a little back from Scarlet, so I called to him hopefully and he actually stepped right up and I got him hooked! Phew, did NOT want to get into the middle of them in that lane.

So I walked back with him, Stormy and Skip following, and Scarlet was my little pest the whole way on my other side or right next to him. I think she didn't believe that I had not hid grain from her in the bucket of brushes I had, lol. "What? I just know your holding out on me!" -->

We made it back to the gate without incident. (Missie ran on ahead, she is pretty determined about not getting near the horses. I'm glad, harder to get stepped on that way!) The gate was a little hairy, with Scarlet wanting to escape with Tuff, but thankfully he knows the drill at gates and I was able to keep her in. Phew!

We walked to the round pen and parked just inside by the gate. The older BIL had come out and was my helper the rest of the afternoon, which was super of him! I so much appreciated it.

So first we tracked down the lunge line and whip and then I brushed him for a bit. He is starting to lose hair and it had been awhile since he'd been brushed, so that took a good 30 minutes I bet, lol. His mane was a mess. But finally I got that straightened out and clipped the lunge line on.

I sent him out on the lunge, just acting like it was something we do every day. The first time I had him in there I walked him around myself a few times on the perimeter, just to give him a chance to acclimate. But I didn’t think it necessary that day. He was a little lookey, but not terrible, and we just did some walk/trot for a bit. He was better about the pulling this time, probably because he wasn’t as giraffe necky trying to pay attention to everything but me!

So I decided the footing was well enough to do a little cantering, it was a little loose, but only muddy in a few spots. I tried to keep him out of the worst. He has only cantered on the lunge once two summers ago and I’ve been wanting to get him comfortable doing it for awhile.

So anyway, he did pretty well! He transitioned up to it very easily, like he had been doing it forever. I used the standard kiss and "canter" in a higher tone cues. He dropped back to it pretty quick once he hit the corner and then rocketed away again after he got into it. I think some of his playing up etc was him trying to stay on his feet/get his balance. Anway, I was pretty happy with him! You’ll see all this in the video I’ve got below the BIL was nice enough to take.

So after the first canter (actually I think he was galloping, lol) he was pretty up, so I did some trotting with him a bit, then some walking, etc. We did a few more transitions that way and then reversed. This way he got a little cheeky and bucked up a bit and kicked out which I growled at him about and the last transition up and down was very nice. Quiet and easy. So its something we just need to work on a bit and I’m sure it will be ho-hum in no time.

Question! When I was editing my video, I started looking at his legs…they look…funny. Like, he isn’t cantering, so I thought…is he galloping? At times when I slowed the video waay down I can see a distinctive 1,2,3,4 footfall sequence. But then I’m like, is he really going fast enough to be galloping?? Is he cross-firing in the back maybe? Or what? The hind legs are what look wonky. I don’t know enough about footfalls to be sure. So yall more experienced eyes let me know what you think!

So after we were calm and doing well on the lunge (every woah he did was excellent by the way, yeah!) I gathered him in and we went over by the gate again and the BIL got my saddle and bridle out of the car for me. I had tried to find my bareback pad earlier, but with no luck. I’d planned on using the girth off of it for the saddle, since Daisy’s is way too long for him. Boo, well I still wanted to get him used to it being on and off his back. I sat it on the panel in front of him for a few minutes while I swapped the lunge for his lead rope and he sniffed it a few times, ladee da. Then lifted it off, let him see it, then just plopped it on his back. And he did SUPER. No problems at all. On and off a few times, wiggle wiggle. Baby stuff for him, apparently.

So then I decided well, what the heck lets just waltz around. I of course was sure to admonish him before we started to NOT, under any circumstances, dump my pretty saddle that was given to me in the dirt!! (thanks again Becca! ;) If I thought he was going to be a problem though, I wouldn't have done it. But I've had stuff on and off his back since he was 6 months old with no difficulty at all.

Here he is looking so cute and grown up:

So I didn't do that but maybe one or two rounds and then had the BIL grab Daisys bridle from the car. (Did I mention he was a good helper??) I was pretty sure it would be much too big for him so I shortened it up and then looked at it and thought, okay too much. So I let it out to one smaller then Daisys normal setting after I held it up to his face. I definitely would rather have it hanging in his mouth then choking him! Well turns out that was about right! I always knew Daisy had a cute little head ;).

So he did well when I put it in his mouth, I was just patient with him and let him figure out what I wanted. It took a little bit for him to decide he wanted to open his teeth but after that no probs slipping his ear in the bridle, etc. I love having a horse that will keep their head low and calmly take a bit, so I am very careful to be slow and easy with him. Who loves bridling a horse with his head in the air like a giraffe?? Not I!

Well of course all he did after that was chew chew chew on it. You'll see at the end of the video how he is concentrating so hard he isn't picking his feet up high enough, lol. But he was calm and pretty okay with it all, so I was happy. I took it off and put it back on again, being careful to not bang his teeth, etc. and he did awesome. He even stopped chewing for a second! I took it off real quick when he did that, lol.

So here is the video!



So all in all a good session with Tuff Tuff! We do need more lunging work (kicking out and playing up are not to be the norm) and only time will get him doing well with a bit. I'm still so happy to see that he is okay with leaving his buddies and not being able to see them, and not being distracted by that at all. I will try to remember to measure his height next time, I'm curious. I'm hoping we are real close to 14.3! But not holding my breath...lol ;).

I ordered him a full-cheek off ebay, maybe I'll get it this week. I'm afraid it will be too small...I forgot to measure his mouth when I was out there! But it was only .99! (well, $8 of shipping, lol) So I jumped on it. We'll see. Like I keep telling my husband, you can NEVER have too many bits. Its impossible. ;) He doesn't believe me.

Well, until later! Have a great week everyone!

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