No, we are not getting ready for a parade! But he's cute enough!
After a week of getting to see and hear and smell other horses and people, Slick was ready for his first lessons.
Actually I was ready to find out just what he knew.
I've rehabbed horses before- mostly when I was wearing a younger woman's clothing- so I wanted to be a little careful.
First I needed to see if he knew how to longe on a long line.
So we spent the first day learning about going, and staying, on a large circle. He was a little worried about it, but with some encouragement, he finally figured it out.
Whew! He was so relieved!
The next day we did it again. Again- worried!
But he got it a little bit sooner, both directions, and he's starting to 'understand the words that are coming out of my mouth'.
Walk, Trot, Whoa!
Then it rained and he got his first taste of outdoor weather in nine years!
I was more worried about it than he was!
So I put a blanket on him.
He stood for it, but he didn't know what it was.
This weekend I decided to put the bit on and longe him.
I usually take the reins and just run them back to the cinch rings, and then over the saddle seat. It doesn't put a lot of pressure on the mouth, but gives a little contact if they lift their heads up too high.
He was really worried about it!
We started out at the walk, and he kept getting his tongue over the snaffle.
"Figgr it out" I said.
He walked and fooled around and finally he did figg'r it out.
Then I asked him to trot.
And when his head came up- he hit the bit,
and went straight back and down.
He whipped his head back and around and jerked my shoulder something fierce.
But I eased him back on the circle and kept him going forward.
He kept wanting to raise his head just a little too far-
he sat back and jerked himself down three times.
Forth time, he started to do it again- remembered and with a little more encouragement- he moved forward, flexing and dropping his neck just a tad.
We did the exact same thing the other direction. It took him only two times around to figg'r it out that time!
Woke up today with a HELL of an ache in my shoulder. Ouchh!
But had to go back out again today of course, I only have three days in a row to work him.
Saddled him up, tied his head like before,
around and around he went!
Walk,trot and lope. Stop and back.
No flinging himself!
No jerking my arms!
I decided I would step up on him.
Took off the long rope, untied the reins and tightened the saddle- actually I call this particular saddle
"The Barcalounger" because it is heavy but comfy.
He wanted to walk around and not stand still, so we just walked in little circles - I actually hopped- until he stopped.
Then I swung up.
And there we are.
I got up and down several times. He quit the circling after the third time. When you're this fat it is just too much trouble!
I just sat there. lifting on one rein until he turned his head to it, then back to the center.
Then the other rein, and then back to center.
Then we walked around in a few circles. He's sooo stiff in the ribs.
But if I press my inside leg hard, he will step away from it and cross his leg over- and that is a good sign.
He spooked once, but not too badly, and we kept going around.
Finally I let him stop and just stand.
He was sweaty!
So was I!
So I think our first three days of lessons went extremely well.
I found out~
He gets worried early but with encouragement he relaxes.
He tries to please.
He remembers from lesson to lesson.
He stands without being tied for everything
He loves cookies.