Sunday, March 23, 2014

So Jasper's been here a week now and I haven't had as much time as I would like, but that's life when you work long days.  I do still have some daylight after work but I'm so tired I just pet him and maybe groom him and then feed.

Yesterday I tacked him up in the morning after he had his breakfast, checking to see that his new britchen was going to fit.  It is definitely made for a much bigger animal but I managed to get it sized down after a LOT of work.  I left him tied to the trailer while I did some chores.  I think having them time tied up is just about the easiest training you can do.  Scout needs to start spending some time that way now that spring is here.  Jasper didn't paw or act stupid at all, just kinda talked to me when I left him, then stood patiently.

Then I had to go to town.  My daughter tricked me into going to the mall.  I thought we were just going to the feed store (for a new hole punch) and the bank (Katia got her first ever paycheck).  Oh well, the mall didn't kill me.  Luckily she knew just what she wanted and got in and out pretty quickly.

Later in the day I tacked him up again and we did a little groundwork.  When I ask him to circle me on the lead line he doesn't want to move out toward the end of the rope, and I don't want to get too "big" with him and scare him (we are trying to learn to trust each other, after all), so we do a few circles and call it good.  I introduced him to the lunge whip by rubbing it on his neck and then stepping away, he'd lick and chew, we'd repeat, both sides, working back to saddle, flank, and butt.  Then we did a few circles with the lunge whip as an extension of my arm.

I can't mount him from the ground!  It is highly annoying.  I don't have this problem with Scout, who is at least a hand taller and may even have less wither.  I wonder if I'm not snugging up my cinch enough.  I also wonder if I need a shorter cinch for him.  What do you think?  I may also add a regular cinch to the back, instead of the leather strap, so I can tighten that up a wee bit more too.
So, while we're on the subject of tack.  I don't really love this cheaply made Steve Edwards saddle.  It is light, which is especially nice once you add the heavy britchen and all the other fittings.  And it fits my mule, which is the most important thing, but the stirrup leathers aren't leather and I have to bend over to get my off foot in the stirrup.  And I feel like it's not going to last very long.  Oh well, I do feel pretty lucky to have found the same type of saddle he was being ridden in before.  Theirs was the all leather one though, and much better quality.

We did a lot of work on the one-rein stop from the ground.  He did a lot better on his left than his right.  I think he's better about a lot of stuff on his left, which is pretty typical.  Then we disengaged the hindquarters with stirrup pressure from the ground.

I did finally mount up for a short ride.  I had to climb on the bottom rail of the fence to get up there though.  And that was after some work reminding him to stand still.  He'd move, we'd do some circles, disengaging the hindquarters, then I'd ask him to stop and act like I was going to mount, then he'd move and we'd do some more circles.  Seems like this went on a little longer than I'd have expected before he decided to stand still, but when he finally had it, he really had it. 

When I mounted up we worked more on our one-rein stop.  Not entirely by choice.  John came around the corner and Jasper got a little worried.  He is a spooky little dude.  I must admit I have thought a couple times that I may have made the wrong choice.  But here we are now and we'll work through it.  There is nothing mean about this boy, and I think a lot of it comes from him being taken to a whole new world, separated from other equines, and working with a new person.  We just need to build a relationship.

I turned him out next to the horses for the first time.  Hope he doesn't have anything contagious since I didn't do the whole two weeks quarantine with no contact.  I think he needed this for his emotional comfort.  He cruised around smelling poop, then he laid down and rolled right in front of me.  Funny guy!  Glad he felt safe to be on the ground with me right there.

I sat in my lawn chair and had a beer while he had a snack.  He still thinks the dogs bear watching.  And the lawn chair, too.

He doesn't look small here, but I think he's the same height as Bella (the one in front).

I roached his mane yesterday too.  My scissors suck.  I'll blame it on them.  It's not the worst haircut I've ever seen, but I hope to do better next time.

Speaking of which, it took me at least a half hour this morning to get the wind knots out of Bella's mane and get it all brushed out. Which almost had me reaching for those scissors.  :)

Now I better get some house work done so I can go play with my mule! 

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