So I didn't know where to stick this thread to be honest... I'm not after a critique, and do consider backing a horse under saddle training, but I'm not asking for any advice! I'm hoping this is the right place.
Today my new mare had her very first training session! I've owned Honey, my 4yr old SB who was sacked from racing in Feb-March... for not even a month yet, but the bond we share was definitely shown today!
I've not really done much with her... sure she gets lots of pats, fed daily, gets her rugs taken off/put on, has quick grooms, etc. but on a whole, I've not done a lot, mainly because we've had some horrible weather lately and my paddocks are still sopping wet (so glad its spring now, although its the rainy season).
Honey's a really quiet girl... not much fazes her, she did have a bit of a bad time in the racing stables my friend got her from, but has always been a gem to do anything with, apart from her back legs, but she's learning patience with me touching them now. My friend and I feel rather confident that she's going to be relatively easy to back and start, because of her nature.
Today just proved that... I spent ages grooming her, although it doesn't look like it in the photos - its just early spring days here, and you'll see how wet my paddocks have been.. and she's a complete muddy toad most days lol... she was really good about her back legs... I then went onto working with her leading skills, going forwards, backwards etc. Then I went about desensitising her with the lunging rope, lightly throwing it all over her body, face, belly - you name it, it was touched! She wasn't that fond of it around her back legs, but I couldn't expect more from her. I went onto teaching her to lunge and that went alright... she rushed her trot a bit but was not out of fear... she's an ex racehorse, what do ya expect?!
Finally, even though I'd achieved a lot, she was still pretty content to be doing what she was (despite one of the other grazer's two year old screaming her lungs out - I swear it's all she does; and countless yelling from her Mum and noises, I really miss the peace at the paddock!), I decided to go the next step and put gear on her. Bridling was no issue, she's obviously been bridled and took the bit reasonably well... even though it wasn't exactly her size, but like I said this was a spur of the moment thing! I placed my saddle on her back and she didn't even flinch, or care... she watched me do up the girth, and wriggle it on her back, but her expression was like she was bored... haha!
I banged the stirrups around on her, and she almost went to sleep! Lol... I was just thrilled!
Honey is my second attempt at backing and starting a horse (with help from my friend) ... and my gelding who I considered a sweetheart about everything, was more spooky and fidgety about things than she's being.. who knows, she may suprise us under saddle! But with a few more times doing what I did today, we're going to take the next step along and start putting weight across her back etc, I'm REALLY excited for that!
Here's a couple of pics... please excuse the way she's standing.. there is a slope... and she's such a dork in the way she stands sometimes... these were taken by my phone, so the quality's not the best... I brightened them up... but then it made her coat look odd, it's not like that in reality lol.