While I was waiting for Cindy to get home, I went out to catch the colts. Colonel followed me into the barn, so I put a halter on him, very easily, then tied him to the fence and saddled him up. Brushed him a bit as his hair showed tracks from the last snow fall. He handled it all well, but seemed a little impatient with me. Seeing as my round corral is slippery and snow packed, I took him in the back of the shed, 40 x 40 feet. The filly followed us in, so I tied Col to a gentle post and then shut the door on them both, went and got my soft nylon rope and hackamore and chinks. When I came in the shed I hung up all but the rope and went to working with the filly.
I had made a contract with her yesterday that if she faced me I would take the pressure off. If she tried to turn her butt to me I would swing what ever was in my hand to agitate her a bit. She remembered her lesson well and in just a short time I could walk up to almost touch her. But I didn’t. I waited for her to touch me with her nose and sniff me. After she got very comfortable with that, I moved her off and let her circle and started throwing the coils of ropes over her back. Of course that upset her a bit at first, but in just a minute or two she wouldn’t even flinch when I threw them at her or if I flipped it around on her back and neck and hindquarters. Pretty amazing when you remember how snorty she is.
Pretty soon I had her circling away from me, backwards and dragging quite a bit of the rope from her neck, so I just reached down and picked it up and then I had a lop around her neck and worked her back and forth like that. When I felt she was ready for the halter I went over and took the halter off Colonel who had been an impatient audience for all this. He immediately walked over and hooked up with his half sister. I stuck the lead rope and a part of the halter thru’ my belt so that it would be handy when I needed it, but still out of the way of my hands. I again threw part of the rope over her back and worked to get it up around her neck at the throat latch area. I picked up the extra and again had control. She is very light and sensitive. In just a few minutes she would let me rub all over her with the coils of the rope in my hand, on both sides, clear over her butt. She was nervous and watchful, but stood for it well. I love a horse with brains. 🙂
I rubbed on her with my hand where I was going to be working to get the halter on and in a few more minutes had it carefully slipped over her nose and the poll and tied it off.
All this time Colonel was watching or pestering us wanting to be a part of it. Soon I had her moving from side to side with just very gentle pressure on the lead rope. I asked her to walk by me and turn her butt away and step across with her hind feet as she did so. It took a few tries for her to understand this, but she soon was doing that also. About then Colonel was right there and she kind of got on the other side of him from me so I just let the lead rope go behind him and then watched to see what would happen. Nothing, tho’ he did kind of look to me to see what it was I wanted. So I stepped back and flipped the rope up over the saddle and took a half turn on the horn and asked him to move off a little. When the pressure came to the horn he never even twitched. Just moved until he felt the pressure and stopped. So I decided to kill two birds with one stone and set out to let him lead her from the horn. Worked well. She was more willing to go along with him and he found he could walk into the pressure from the rope on the horn. Neither got excited and when the filly did set back a bit, he just kept on going and she gave to pressure. When she did, he stopped and I didn’t even have to let slack in the rope for her to get the release. She gave it to herself. Beautiful!
I messed with her a bit more and then removed the halter off her and put her out of the shed and put my hackamore on Colonel and let him wander around the shed as I put on my chinks. As I was doing this he was nuzzling me for a bit then walked off to make sure he really couldn’t get out of the shed to go with his sister. I walked over and asked him to move off and when he was a bit lazy about it, I took my soft nylon rope and used it to encourage him to move off. I threw the loose end over his back and saddle and as soon as it would get snug he would yield to pressure and come towards me. I then had him trot and lope a few strides,both directions to make sure he had all the kinks out. Cindy had come out to watch and in case I got into a wreck. I have an old oblong water tank setting along side the wall, upside down which I can use for a platform to walk these horses up to me and then I can lean over them and get them used to switching eyes so they are not startled when I swing a leg over. And I don’t put much pull on the saddle when I step on either, so they get to liking it and it’s easier for an old fat man to get on one, especially when you are bundled up or it’s muddy. Comes in real handy later on in their career.
I had him step up to it so I was on his right side and leaned over with a little weight in the stirrup, flopped the off side stirrup around and made sure he was cool with all of that. I then sent him past and turned him and had him come up with his left side to me. For some reason he doesn’t do that as well, so it took several tries to get him positioned where I wanted him. I did the same as the other side and then just stepped on. I had rigged up a night latch for my left hand and also a loop on the rear jockey on the right side. I also have my rope tied on good and solid on the front of the right side, so I have several good hand holds if a colt wants to get frisky. Might not save me but it might help me get thru’ a rough patch or two. I reached back with my right hand and got a good hold and went to petting and rubbing him with my left hand on his neck. He turned his head and sniffed of my toe in the stirrup a bit and then moved off easy. I kept petting and rubbing his neck and then switched handholds and rubbed with the right hand. All this time he was just moving around freely and not getting tight in any way. Pretty son, I would pick up the mecate, which I had crossed and loped over the horn and give a slight touch with it, on the side he was starting to go towards, so he will learn and understand that signal. He stopped over by Cindy who was standing behind a couple of panels in the corner. So I reached and lightly pulled back on the left rein and as his head came that way he started to move and I never did have to take all the float out. I did that on both sides several times and then decided that was a good first ride. I did get him to circle pretty tight to set him up for a one rein stop. About then he walked over to
Cindy and sniffed her so I had her just take a hold of the rein and hold him so I could step off. I wiggled back and forth a little as a signal to him I was gong to get off and then stepped down smoothly. He got startled a bit and moved away as far as he could, but with her hold on the rein it wasn’t too far. It was nice Cindy had a hold of him, sure avoided a bad deal and him getting scared of a person getting off in the future.
I then worked on stepping on and off from the left side and got him to stand good for that. I attempted to get on from the right, but I am just too uncoordinated! I decided that was a good place to quit. So this session went real well. He is a long ways from a gentle horse, but shows the makings of a good one so far.