Day at the barn

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There was an informal natural horsemanship session at my barn today. One of the ladies started a three year old filly under saddle. The filly is a buckskin, Quarter Horse/Arabian cross. She is a rescue case and has not been handled much. She knew how to lead and not much else.

It was amazing watching how the filly responded and learned what was being asked. She is a smart little girl. She picked up what she was being asked to do quickly. She learned left, right, whoa, and was exposed to the saddle in about two hours.

It was amazing. She had her first exposure to the saddle and blanket and was fine with it being flapped all over her. She was perfectly content to have the saddle placed on her back and cinched. She could have cared less when the rider sat on her back.

Really amazing to watch. What an excellent filly and an exceptional, non-stressful experience for her first time under saddle.

Being ridden one time doesn’t meant that this filly is green broke. It means she is barely started. She has some understanding but there’s a long way to go before she’s ready to go to her new home.

Considering I’ll be starting Kasane some time within the next year, it was enlightening to watch how this filly responded. I can’t wait to learn more.

After watching the work with the filly, I free lunged Isis and then rode her. She was amazing. She was so mellow and happy to be worked today. Today was my first time riding Isis without a lesson or clinic to fall back on. I was nervous and focused on keeping my mood and energy grounded. (The same thing I did when Isis was at the other barn.)

We’ve been working on riding in figure eights and spiral-in/spiral-out with collection and without dropping her inside shoulder. To do this, I ride her at a sitting trot, squeeze with my inside leg to push her to my outside rein (but not let her pop her outside shoulder), and shift my hips in the saddle towards the outside. I also have to be careful that I don’t drop my inside shoulder and keep my posture.

She did the figure eight perfectly! She was relaxed and when I asked her for more impulsion, she increase the energy in her stride without increasing the speed. It’s amazing to feel it: her bouncy steps suddenly go from feeling forward to feeling up. It’s like she rolls from one step to the next. She was awesome.

Since August, I have spent at least half of all of my rides on just trying to get her to be calm and pay attention. It is so much easier to ride her in a ring because she pays attention and is more relaxed.

I feel like my girl is back. The horse I loved riding in Tennessee has re-emerged and we can have fun again.

Next, I worked Kasane in the round pen free lunging and then on the lunge line. Kasane was wound: she wanted to play! to run! to not pay attention! After about five minutes of her moving around and not really listening, I put her on the lunge line. She finally got walk, trot, and whoa on the lunge line. After weeks of working on whoa, she finally grasped what I mean. She did trot to whoa perfectly. I was so tickled with her.

What an excellent horsey-day. Just fabulous.

Tomorrow is another riding lesson with Isis. I can’t wait to tell Tish about Isis not dropping her should in. Of course, hopefully we can repeat tomorrow what we did today…

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