In spite of having a pretty lame February in terms of getting out to the barn, I did, at least, accomplish one good thing recently. Namely, on Sunday, I got on Piper’s back for the first time.
Things with Piper have been going incredibly smoothly. She is a super fast learner. I don’t know if it’s her or me, or if we are just kind of a good combination, but it seems like all it takes is one lesson, and then she knows something. On Saturday I tied and tacked her up by the lockers for the first time, and although she does tend to want to follow me off when I leave her, she’s starting to get the idea about standing tied.
Last weekend when I turned her out with the saddle, I drove her around until she got into a canter. That day she finally did some bucks and hops to explore if she could get the saddle off. I was actually glad to see that. It seems like I’d rather have a horse come up with that idea and discover it doesn’t work when I’m not on board.
This weekend, though, everything was just completely smooth. On Saturday, I put some weight in the stirrups and hopped around next to her. She was not bothered. Finally, on Sunday I figured it was time to climb on.
Piper stood for me when I mounted. I gave her some rubs and got off again, led her around a little and got back on. We flexed a few times. She was soft. Then she had an extended yawning fit.
Apparently, she was not stressed. So I decided to see if I could get her to move.
Getting the first step was the hardest part. I spent quite a few minutes flapping my legs to see if that would be enough to get her feet moving. It wasn’t, so I started tapping her butt with the end of my rope. It took quite a while, but finally that got her moving. The first thing she did was squirt forward in a little butt-tuck jump. I probably reacted slightly more quickly than I should have to bring her head around. Nevertheless, she stepped right under and things didn’t escalate. After that, she was less sticky. We were able to move forward a little more easily the next time I asked. We had one more mini butt-tuck startle a few minutes later, but it was even more minor.
After that, we progressed to wandering aimlessly around the arena. She got more certain as we went. I managed to be not at all nervous though all of this, which was nice. I had more jitters getting on Laredo the first time.
I only stayed on board a few minutes. We worked on some bends and disengages, and I definitely had a few moments wherein I tried to nudge her one way or another with my seat and then thought to myself, “Oh, right. This horse doesn’t know any of that yet.”
So, the path ahead is a long one. But I think we’re off to a good start.
Horseback Hours YTD: 16:15