Weekend Coffee Share – First Time With A Saddle!

Would you like to have some scones to go with your coffee this morning? Or maybe you’d like to go all English, and have some tea instead? I had some coffee earlier, I got up at 5am this morning, and now I’m having tea. My daughter insisted on us making scones for breakfast. I didn’t really have any reason to say no, so I made scones with flaxseed. It’s her favorite. I hope you like them. She ate two big ones, but there’s still plenty left. I must admit that I have a hard time resisting warm scones, and green tea is my favorite beverage to go with scones. However, I did make some fresh coffee, if you’d rather have coffee.

How is your week so far? Still raining here. A perfect day for lots of coffee, and tea.. It’s been a wet week, but it is about to change. Next week we’re having sunshine, in the upper 70’s all week. At least that’s what the weather channel tells me. I can’t wait!

I know I told you a few weeks ago, how I got a really nice older ranch saddle. I measured my horse shortly after, and realize that there is no way it’s going to fit him. He is half Arabian, and more athletic than stocky. Yesterday my daughter and I, made a day trip up to Susanville (in the north easter corner of California,) to pick up a saddle in his size. It’s a brand new Barnsby dressage saddle, never been on a horse. I grew up riding English, and even though 99.9 % of the riders around me ride western, it makes sense to teach my horse what I actually know well. I want Ghost to become a brave, versatile horse, with a solid foundation. We have a lot to work with, before hitting the trail. I got a good deal on a high quality dressage saddle, it made sense to me to get it. One of my riding instructors had one just like this one, and when I conditioned her horse for her, I always picked that saddle (she had many.) I loved riding in it. I believe Ghost’s new saddle is going to be very comfortable for both of us. I also believe that Ghost has the potential to excel in dressage. He is a beautiful mover. Nothing wrong with an endurance horse that knows a little more.

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Naturally I had to let Ghost try his new saddle this morning. He have never had a saddle on his back before. It was his very first time. Ghost is a sensitive horse, that thrives on praise. He got lots of praise, while he checked out the strange thing (the saddle,) I brought to him. I had a halter on him, while gently placing the saddle on his back, but he could choose to leave if he felt uncomfortable, he wasn’t tied up, and I didn’t hold him. I sweet talked him through the process. You usually put the saddle on the horse from the left side (with the cinch/girth resting on top of the saddle,) then you walk around to the right side and take the cinch/girth down from the top of the saddle, so its hanging in a way that you can reach it from the left side, then you walk back to the left side, pick it up, and fasten it. With a trained horse this isn’t a big deal. You don’t even think about it. When you saddle a horse for the very first time, you want the horse to stand still until you fastened the cinch/girth tight enough for the saddle to stay on the horse’s back. When you leave the horse side (to get the cinch/girth,) the horse might move, get scared, bolt, or panic. It’s always a consideration the first time you saddle a horse. Everything went well with Ghost. He is used to me moving around him. My cinch was a little too big for Ghost, and I will need to get a shorter one. The saddle however, the most important (and expensive) thing fit him perfectly. Ghost did wonderful, and we’re not going to have any issues with the tacking up process. He turned his head all the way around, and was very interested in the saddle, and what I was doing. His curiosity is a positive trait, a sign of intelligence. He is constantly thinking about what we’re doing. When he accomplished something once, and completely accepted it, then he knows. It’s been like that with every new thing I’ve introduced. The accepting part, can take different amounts of time. With some new things (like having a rope all over/around) it takes him a few sessions to understand, and accept, but when he is comfortable he lets me know, and then I know that is that. He was comfortable today. I am very, very happy with his progress.

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Your turn! Tell me more about your week! What’s the weather like? Is spring in full bloom? I hope your week is wonderful so far, and that you’re weekend will be filled with happiness and good company.

Love,

Ms Zen

Growth

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The theme for the weekly photo challenge, for the first week of 2018 is Growth.

In this first week of the year, many people anticipate beginnings, changes, and opportunities for growth. Share with us an image that evokes this spirit of change and newness — the smile of a new friend, a freshly planted garden, an empty journal waiting to be filled.

What could be better than the new beginning, with my new horse? Last weekend (Saturday) I picked up the gelding I met a week ago. When I first met him I felt that there is something about him, that makes me believe that he is a once in a lifetime horse. Even though we just spent a couple hours together in a pasture. I felt that we connected. I’ve been looking for that special horse for a couple of years now. I believe that I’ve found him.

He was not halter broke when I picked him up. He’s spent all his time in a pasture up until now. When we arrived to his former home, he was very cautious around the stock trailer that we rented for the occasion. Not unexpected since he haven’t been worked with at all. This is a new universe to him. He was even more uncomfortable leaving his two buddies in the pasture. One of which was an identical blood relative (probably brother. The owner wasn’t sure.) Considering all that, things went pretty smooth. He trailered reasonably well the 2,5 hours it took to get him home.

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The important thing is somehow to begin. – Henry Moore

My impression is that Ghost is a sweet, curious, and highly intelligent horse. He had a different name with the previous owner. He was named after a king who killed his brother. I thought that was bad karma sort of, so I changed it. I doubt that he knew his name. He is 3 years old, 3/4 Arabian and 1/4 Mustang. I haven’t measured him yet, but I’m guessing that he is around 14.5hh (and probably have some more growing to do.)

When we arrived to the boarding stable that is going to be his home, we made a corridor leading straight to the stall that is going to be his, and opened the door to the trailer. His stall is big, and connected with an open door to an outdoor pen. He was hesitant to step into the corridor we’d made for him. Not surprisingly since he never been indoors before. A lady at the stable brought a sweet little pony, as encouragement for him. We let them say hello to each other (while Ghost still was inside the trailer) and then and we followed her into the stall, where she turned around taking the pony with her. Before leaving I sat down in his stall. Ghost walked up to me after a while, putting his muzzle towards my cheek. After sharing a beautiful moment of silence I told him briefly about his new life and all the good times we’re going to have together. I think he understood. I left him to settle in for the night with a good feeling in my chest.

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The day after when I returned in the morning (yesterday,) I found him calm in the outdoor part of his pen. Our first training session included getting used to a halter, and some very basic leading exercises. He allowed me to take the worst of the mud and dirt of his body. I couldn’t have asked for a better start. I kept the session short and sweet. Left with a good feeling. I believe the good feeling was mutual. I took this photo with my phone by the end of the session.

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Our growth depends not on how many experiences we devour, but on how many we digest. – Ralph W. Sockman

Later yesterday afternoon I brought my daughter to the stable, so that she finally could meet Ghost. For safety reasons I thought it would be wise to get to know him  little bit myself first, (because I know my daughter. She learned how to walk by dragging her self up using my favorite horse’s tail as support..lol.) She liked Ghost a lot! He seemed to like her as well. He tolerated hugs and kisses patiently, almost like he enjoyed it. When I could convince my daughter to leave his pen for a few minutes I worked a little bit more with him. He is OK with wearing a halter now, but is scared of ropes, so we worked on that. It went well, but it’s definitely something we’re going to work more with, to get completely comfortable. We ended on a good note.

Today it’s been raining like crazy. I went to see Ghost after lunch, and he did call out when he saw me. He was very wet, because he choose to be outside in the pouring rain, and not in the stable. He is not very comfortable indoors. That might take some time. The outdoor part of his pen is big, and I’ve been working with him there. I still haven’t taken him outside his pen. I’m planning on doing that in a couple days, when the rain stops. When I ask him to go to the part of his pen that is inside the barn, he is hesitant, and uncomfortable. It’s still new to him…and I can relate, I like it better outside as well. I did ask him to walk inside a few times while doing some leading exercises today. Other than that we had our session outside. (I did not bring my camera today because of the rain.) He was more spirited today. Probably a combination of colder weather, and being confined for a couple days. He was still very sweet. He response very well to calm, clear requests. Sometimes when I have a lot of fun, my energy levels goes up, for now I’m going to have to control that. As long as I stop, and give him a few seconds to figure out what it is I want, he tries his best. I’m very proud of him. By the end of our session today I asked him to give me his front hooves. He did. I asked twice for his left front hoof, and twice for his right front hoof. He gave them to me both times. I made sure that he was well balanced, and I gave them right back after a couple seconds. I did not ask for his hind (back) hooves. That is a bigger question, and I want to make it easy for him to give me the right answer. We have time. I liked him from he beginning, but he definitely grows on me a little bit every time I see him. I am very excited about our budding friendship.

Love,

Ms Zen