Today our trainer gave us the okay to start putting a saddle on Taser. Unfortunately we had not captured any video of this event due to lack of camera operator at the time, but we do have a picture to share.
Due to all of Taser’s work with the seven games and sacking out over the past couple months, he took the saddle nicely with just a little shying and a snort. At first, he was given the opportunity to sniff and put his nose on it, then it was brought to his side and held there for a moment. Then was lifted up and brought down gently on his back. This was repeated until he stopped flinching and snorting.
When it came time to tighten the cinch around his girth, he was relaxed and didn’t move. With this he was then led around the pen on the rope and walked very nicely. He even went over and between poles on the ground.
Next, he was stopped and I flapped the stirrups on each side like in friendly game. We did this until he stopped flinching. Then I grabbed the saddle and started bouncing up and down on the side of him to mimic a mounting movement. This was followed by me putting downward pressure on the stirrup leaning into it with my body on my hands; where I would apply pressure and release, apply pressure and release.
To prepare Taser to accept being mounted, I pulled up a bucket and stood on it so that I would be standing high above him. We practiced the Yo-yo game to get him to come forward and stand next to me. I believe due to the trust that we have been building, Taser felt comfortable with coming up to me in this way. Standing high up, I could put the same downward weight with my hands on his back.
After all the exercises were done, the saddle was taken off and then they were all repeated again. The second time around, Taser was much calmer.
This entire exercise I had previously learned from a different trainer in 2008. I was then starting out my privately owned mustang, Juno, who was 2 years old at the time, where I had requested that I be taught how to train my horse so I could ride her. My mission was to be the first person on my horse, not the trainer. Just because I got the okay to start putting the saddle on Taser, doesn’t mean that this is what he showed me to do.
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