Despite the fact that Casey has sharkfin withers and we are having trouble finding a permanent saddle due to saddle fit issues, we’ve been under saddle now several times. I had picked up a used very plain English saddle and it seems to fit her fairly well so for now we’re using that. We’ve been twice in the ring and then once out on the trail.
She has a habit of dancing around a bit when I’m trying to saddle her and she’s not completely placid with a resting head when being bridled but overall she’s getting better. In all instances, once saddled, she’s really been very well behaved. I’ve tried two variations of aussie saddles and neither saddle was a good fit. Fitting her is going to be a challenge due to her withers and since she needs to put on some weight and build some muscle I think we’re just going to stick with what we have because her shape will change (I hope) over the next 6 months or so) .
We didn’t have cell phones when I used to ride so the ability to take photos this easily is new to me. Of course, I probably should have both hands busy with my horse, but. . . .I’m a risk taker, what can I say? Just don’t expect to many that are clear. I think most will be blurry.
She moves along in the ring nicely with her ears forward – always a good sign. 🙂
Out on the trail her ears were back and forth, back and forth….partly because there are a lot of sounds and movement out in the woods. Some of it may be nerves. She did exceptionally well though. We even went through the river though I avoided anything much over her knees. Some of the horses went into deeper water but I was happy to keep her along the shallower areas while we continue to get to know each other and build trust. She was curious about the water, drinking a little, but didn’t really do much pawing (many horses really go at the water with a hoof, splashing everything nearby). She went confidently into the river and walked upstream.
While on the trail we stayed in the back so she could ‘follow’ and have constant eyes on some other horses. I opted not to put her in the middle as she’s still a little fussy when she feels crowded.
The small group, 4 of us, worked really well. And overall the ride was a huge success.
My only complaints had to do with the length of the ride (over an hour for our first time out was too long!!) and the condition of the trails. With all of the rain and the overuse of the trails, there were some very difficult areas with deeply rutted and ‘hoof-holed’ sections. I was seriously concerned she’d break a leg and I tried to skirt some of these places but with trees right up against the trail it was impossible in some places. Had I know, we would not have continued on but turned around part way through.
When we first started out she did a little hopping and bucking – I think she had a major biting horsefly on her (cue dropping of the phone ) so that was my first dismount. Luckily I could let my stirrup way down to get back on and then just adjust it back up.
The other bit of excitement had to do with a huge rainstorm (and I mean a torrential downpour) that opened up on us about 10 minutes from the barn. I haven’t been that wet in a LONG time. Needless to say the phone was safely tucked away by then and I could deal with the water streaming down my face and into my eyes while working with a horse that was a little sketchy to begin with.
She was also spooked by a deer that jumped off into the deeper brush right next to the trail. I wasn’t upset by that at all – many horses will spook at that (heck, I would probably jump if a deer surprised me like that!).
Near the end of our ride she did refuse one crossing ( after trying everything other than backing her through it I finally had to dismount and lead her across).
So there were a few interesting happenings on our first time out on the trail, but I can confidently say that after this ride, I have NO doubts in my mind that we are going to be perfectly fine together.
I would say I’m pretty much attached. 🙂