Today’s work with Jack involved my saddle horse, Dee, helping me loosen him up a bit and teaching him to untrack his hindquarters a little better and step his shoulder over. I was also hoping to get him to lead up and back up with less resistance.
I started out working on his easier side just to keep things starting off smoothly for not just Jack, but to check in with Dee and see how she was feeling about this whole thing.
This side operated pretty well, and he stepped over nicely when I asked him to walk a little half circle here. He keeps float in the rope and his expression is pretty nice.
Asking him to change onto that problematic right eye was almost more of a struggle on horseback than it was on the trailer, as he tried to challenge not just me but my horse. Dee is poised to help me here and has proved to save me in some sticky situations more than a few times (which on a sidenote is a MAJOR reason to do it right for the horse, to the best of your ability, because if you’re like me and your timing isn’t perfect and your seat isn’t impeccable, you need a good horse looking out for you in a situation like this. I couldn’t do this without her, and I know her eye and her timing are better than mine where other horses are concerned).
Dee uses her Big Bad Boss Mare Powers to push on Jack’s ribcage, and he respects her requests and shapes his body up here to move over and onto a right circle. Thanks, Dee. Whew!
Once both those sides were operating to my liking, it was time to work on leading up.
He had a few opinions about being asked to lead up with me on his right side, and to start out with, they were not too good.
He was pretty mixed up about how to lead up without running me or my horse down, and keeping slack in the rope so he stayed in position by my knee. He thought he might need to run ahead and confront my horse.
Dee helps me by turning into him to turn him left, and I do my best to help him understand he needs to yield and to left, not run in front and cause trouble to my horse.
At this point Jack is letting down a bit and getting to that place again where he asks me for help. Every time I work with him I am trying to help him find me for comfort and guidance, and help him understand he doesn’t need to confront anyone or be afraid either. There is a happy medium between respect and relaxation, and he needs a good balance of both.
He starts feeling good about leading up, so we go for a little trot, and he feels like butter on my lead rope. What a nice change he’s made.
He stays with me through a downward transition, and this is feeling like a pretty good spot for me to quit him.
I try to help him know he’s done a great job and give him some cuddles before putting him up.
Special thanks to Lisa for taking pictures! You’re the best.