Meet Consider the Following (aka, Cappy):
Cappy is a 4 1/2 year old Paint mare. Inside and out, she is a beautiful horse with a lot to offer. She stands at about 14'2", and with her tobiano coat, she is one of the prettiest ponies in our barn! I believe she has some Welsh heritage, because of her confirmation, but there's no way to be sure. Her papers were burned in a barn fire - I live in California, and last year we had some pretty huge wildfires! - and there's no way to get ahold of her previous owners. Cappy arrived at my barn about a year and a half ago, with a 13 year old girl who had been leasing her for three months previous. According to the girl, Cappy had been a wonderful jumper and a great dressage prospect. Now, the girl is interested in switching to western riding. About a week ago the girl attempted to introduce Cappy to a western saddle, and just as she was putting it on the mare's back, Cappy freaked. She crow-hopped and bolted, and it took us about an hour to calm her and safely return her to her stall. We believe that she had some traumatic issues with western in the past, and now, whenever a western saddle is even in sight, she puts up a fuss and we are worried that someday she will hurt herself.
Is this mare hopeless when it comes to western riding? Or is there another gentler, easy way to introduce her?
We've calmed her down using aromatherapy and oils, and have also brought in an english saddle as well as the western one. Its no good. I've tried holding her still and talking quietly to her as the girl brings forth the western saddle, but that doesn't work, either. We've even tried using my own horse, Cody, who has been a western trail horse all his life, in the introduction process, but nothing gives.
NOTE: I am leaving town next month and I'd like to help this thirteen year old girl as best I can before I go! (I will be returning, but not for several months)