Monday, April 12, 2010

Tuff Has His First 'Riders'!

Hey everyone! Sorry its taken me so long to get to this post!

Last Saturday was a really fun day! My husband didn't go to work like he has every saturday for at least 2 months, and we just hung out at home and enjoyed the beautiful weather.

Well later that afternoon I got my stuff together while he was mowing the lawn and headed out to the round pen. Dropped my stuff off, tracked down the western cinch I was going to try with my english saddle, and went and got Tuff. They were of course down in the other pasture again, but this time I just called them up and had them follow me up to the barn, instead of going and fetching Tuff and leading him. Worked great! After we got to the house they all went on up the fence line to the hay rack and Tuff walked right up to me. Nabbed him and we were out of there with no trouble at all!

So on out to the round pen. I put his full-cheek on again, this time under the halter, that seemed to work well. Then I put his saddle on and tried the cinch. FAIL again, lol, way too short still. Sigh! So anyway I took that off and walked him a few rounds on the lead to make sure everything was good with his bit and then on to lunging! Which went a lot better this time. I kept my cool, patience, etc, and did everything slow and as obvious as I could. He did great! Was cantering on the left lead in sync (no cross firing!) and he got his right lead about three times. He even did a few good right inside turns, I think he's finally getting the idea a bit. Just takes practice!

All this time he was carrying his bit and had no trouble with it at all. His mouth was quiet most of the time, he chewed a bit, which is totally fine with me. Thats a good sign. Clenched mouth = bad sign!

So after we did a good bit of lunging I went back to the gate and decided I would go ahead and just try the FILs western saddle on him. This is the point where my memory card completely filled up in my camera and I didnt get anything else on video until my husband came out and I cleaned a bit off to get the last bit of our work out.

Anyway, the saddle was still in the hay barn from Scarlets ride, which is right next to the round pen, so not problem finding it. The problem was carrying the huge thing while leading a horse! Not so fun! I about broke my back lugging it over there hunched over with one hand (I made Tuff carry his saddle blanket, haha, he didn't mind) and we made it, thankfully its quite close to the pen.

I settled him in there, straightened his blanket, let him sniff the saddle a bit, and up it went! I think he might have blinked, and that was it, lol. That thing is a good 25+ lbs! So I moved it about a bit, got my cinch attatched, and tightened him up a bit. Still no problem at all. He was more interested in chewing on his grooming bucket, lol. I flapped the stirrups on his sides a bit and then we moved on out into the round pen. He looked a little confused but walked along well and didn't offer any trouble at all. So for the next 15-20 minutes I would stop every so often to wiggle the saddle side to side, pull on it as if I were getting on, (also hopping up and down like a fool next to him, lol) and then after he did well with all that I started putting my foot in the stirrup and putting a bit of weight in it, not stepping up in it yet, just enough to make the saddle pull a bit. After that was boring I started hoping up into the stirrup for a second and then back down, all of this on both sides. He was so good! I called my husband somewhere in there and when he got over there I had him hold him while I stepped up in it a little more.

At this point I was feeling pretty brave and had my husband hold onto the outside stirrup while I stepped up and layed on my chest/stomach over the saddle. I was holding my breath, pretty positive I wouldn't have any trouble, but you never know! But of course, I didn't! So I did that a few times, and then I told the husband to give it a try. When his much more substantial weight stepped up Tuff moved quite a bit to get his balance, but was in no way alarmed. He got back down and stepped up again and that time he didn't move at all. Good boy!

So then! I leaned up over him again and told the husband to lead us a few steps. THRILL OF A LIFETIME. He did great. Of course he was a little hesitant about moving but so calm about it all. I slid off again and then we repeated and he did even better about moving out that time. We only did like 3 or 4 steps, but it was huge to me! :D

So there you have it! Tuffs first 'ride'! Very good and uneventful! If I wasn't pregnant I probably would have swung over, but I'm not going to risk that. Plus I want him to do some more growing. By fall I think we will be set!

So here is the video! Mostly lunging, and at the end you get to watch the husband walk and trot around with Tuff dressed in his bridle and saddle, hehe.

Next steps! Start working with the bit. I haven't touched it so far, just been letting him carry it, so we will start doing some flexion with it next time I'm out. After I'm sure hes got the concept we will move on to ground driving, probably wearing his western saddle with the lines run through the stirrups. I'm so glad I tried the western on him, seeing as I can't get a girth to fit the english. I'm going to be riding him in the western anyway, I was just afraid it would be too big for him. Seems okay for what we want to do with it right now though.

After that? Well I can't think of anything else besides refining everything he has been taught and then actual riding. So we will probably work him off and on this summer when I have the time (and feel like it, I'm less then 3 months from my due date now!) and then sometime this fall start putting some rides on him.

Have a great week everyone!

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