Thursday, January 15, 2009
I would have never expected a 2 year old to be OK the very first time a saddle was put on their back, but then again, this girl had surprised me before with her acceptance of most things I threw at her. It was a huge demonstration of her trust in me, her belief that I would never do anything to hurt her was established right away, and I would be very grateful for that for the rest of her training, not to mention the rest of her life. The girth was no issue, except for the normal tail swish and pinned ears, but any 20 year old would do that. After that, the surcingle was no problem. The only real trouble came during the first attempt at putting on the bridle. Maia wanted nothing to do with a cold piece of metal in her mouth, but before it even touched her lips she was throwing a classic Maia fit. She swung her head, she stomped, and she took as many sideways steps as she could while I was up on the block, slowly moving the Stubben leather over her face. The first few times, I left her halter on and took it off after I had the bridle on and latched up. This worked, but my god what a hassle! The next step was taking the halter off her face but keeping it hooked around her neck, which helped, but still allowed her to pull her head away from me. There were days when she would let me slide the bit in no problem, and she would stand quiet as I latched the noseband and chin strap. Then, as always, a bad day would come. Once, Diane had to come over and help hold her nose and pinch her upper lip just so that she wouldn’t knock me right off the block the second I stepped up it. One thing was for sure, when Maia didn’t feel like playing (as I always called our work) she let me know, and there were never any misperceptions with this horse.