Saturday, August 13, 2011

Tonight I tacked Bella up and decided to use the bosal and see how it might change things. She was much more relaxed. And it was easier to see her state of mind without the bit in her mouth. She flapped her lips a few times, a clear sign of distress. Other times she'd lick and chew and I knew it meant she was processing, there was no confusion between that and playing with the bit. She didn't have trouble understanding what it means either, which shows that she remembers it from a couple years back.

Doesn't she look like a ranch horse? You might think she was a quarter horse if it wasn't for her pretty freeze brand. (I really need some nicer saddle bags to put on my good saddle.)

I decided to step on after some preliminary half mounts, saying hello from the other side. I just quickly settled, got my foot in the stirrup, reassured her, and got off again. She was very worried. I decided to leave it at that and leave her thinking, "Is that all? I can do that!"

Doesn't she look beautiful? Here she's checking in, wondering what she's supposed to be doing because my body language changed while I took the picture.
I wish I had a lot more experience with this colt starting thing. I question my decisions a lot. She's so unsure and I don't really know what to do to make her more comfortable with the whole thing. Last night I tried to channel my inner child and play with her and love her the way I would have when I was a teenager, just enjoying being together. But I also want to move forward. Maybe I should forget the goal and just enjoy the journey. I really do love playing with her. She's a special girl. I'd love to hear some of your experiences with horses like this, and how you broke through to them and gained their trust.

Tomorrow we're going to go on another trail hike. I think I'll take her with the saddle again, since some of her hangups seem to be centered on that. And that way she can carry my water and snacks for me. :)

Tonka was a naughty boy today. I guess I left the poop fork too close to his isolation ward and he took out his frustrations on it. It was scattered all over the round pen.

"Did I do that?"


Keechy said...

I think getting on a off a lot is a good idea. In a Mark Rashid book he mentions the old man saying they need to know you are going to get off again and not going to be up there forever once you are up. :)

One of the Rashid books, hmm, might be, "Considering the horse"? seems to pretty much go through the whole process of starting a horse. Some big paint the old man buys that never got handled and he gets it all the way to well broke. I always thought I'd have it out and read it again with that in mind if I started another one.

Kate said...

I've never started a horse, and admire those like you who do. I would think going slow, and repetition, and not going farther until the worry has come back down, would do the trick. The fact that you're not in a hurry is really good and will benefit her in the long run.

I think this really applies to all types of training - I remember the story Mark Rashid told at the clinic I went to in May - they had a new horse and all they did was walk it for 9 months until things were right with the horse.

Linda said...

She doesn't look worried in the picture. Can you make a video?

When my young ones seem worried, I try to give them an outlet, especially when it comes to carrying a saddle. I let them run with it as much as they want. It's time consuming. Beautiful usually takes a good thirty minutes of movement and bending before she comes to a calm place. The bending is what really increases her trust in me. I do it a little before and a lot after. That holding her head into me for long periods of time, giving me her head is a show of trust.

I think the on and off and petting her on both sides and on top of her will do a lot to reassure her..and, hopefully, the saddle isn't causing her any issues that would increase her worry. It looks good on her.

I love the bosal with mecate. I'm heavily leaning toward the same. I have an instinct about using it with BG rather than a bit. Something about her personality tells me that if I can't get the cooperation and trust without a bit, I won't get it with one. BG is a not horse that appreciates being forced into things.

Linda said...

....The bending in is not just a show of's also a show of willingness. She bends in to me better than any of my others, even Cowboy.

Mary Hunter said...

Just try to enjoy the journey, like you said. With the colts I work with, I find slowly and patiently works the best, especially with horses who are unconfident and spooky.

we spend lots and lots of time at the beginning just working on ground work, then working bareback at the walk. I wait until they are really confident and happy walking, stopping, and steering in the round pen, then, with most of them, it's a lot easier to introduce riding outside, trotting, and other more advanced stuff.

Good luck. Starting horses is challenging, I am constantly learning more from the horses. Hwever, I have found that it is very rewarding as well! :)