Joseph and I are making some good progress.
I created a monster though, giving him treats on the other side to encourage him to see me on both sides. Makes it hard to climb on when his ribs are pushing me over. A bit awkward...
But we managed.
And I gave him a treat on the correct side. :)
He even took some steps for me, you might notice his feet moved a bit. Only one forward step, but that's okay.
He was pretty comfortable with backing up.
So to end on a good note, I let him be right. I asked him for several steps backward, which he did beautifully, and then I grabbed his mane and slipped down on the off side.
We had an awesome thuderstorm that night, and actually got some rain. The only work he got the next day was a hoof trim. I was hoping the rain would have softened up their hooves but it didn't help much.
I thought a lot about our little "ride" and really that's not where I need to be going just yet. It was a lot of fun, and he thinks it's pretty grand to get a bunch of treats, even if it is a little confusing when I ask him to move. But in reality he's not really prepared yet, and if he were to jump I'd go splat. Which doesn't mean I won't climb on every now and then if the time seems right, but we need to get along with our saddle training.
With ground-driving in mind, I introduced him to the surcingle and used a long trail rein to get him used to rope contact.
He got to drag the rope on each side:
Then he got to feel it around his butt. Of course at first it was only attached on one side, and the other end was in my hand. I edged it over his butt and boy did he tuck tail and scoot! I let the rope slip out of my hand, then gathered it up and did it again. This time I managed to hang on to the butt rope and his reaction after the initial "goosing" was to stop. Good, that works for me. Then he got to where I could wiggle it around and flop it against his hind legs, top to bottom, both sides, so I ran it around like this:
I didn't figure he'd mind much about the reins on the sides of his neck, but we practiced that anyway:
Tonight I let him wear my good saddle again. He was a little tense during the saddling, but I swear he was smiling and relaxed while he circled the round pen with the saddle on.
Liam wanted me to play badminton so I reluctantly left Joseph alone with my saddle on for a little while.
He didn't destroy it or chew on it or anything. Good boy. My daughter gave him some treats (he's still wary of strangers so that was very helpful) and then he got to have his dinner and be with his pals again.