CAUTION: We're going to scrap. :)
So, Easter weekend. Following a big meal and fun games with the kids, I invite my mom out for a quick ride before my family departs. She has had this gelding since November 2010 but he had almost a year off prior to that, switching owners and such. His last *ride* with my mom was in August 2011, and she was ponied around by my dad. Turns out, those two have saddled up twice since and ridden in the round pen! And he's SO GOOD to her. (I tried riding him once, and he exploded from the stirrup touch.) Anyways, he's always been a spooky horse and is going blind in one eye, but behaves like a real gentleman when she rides. However. HOWEVER. I was holding the gelding while she was cinching him up and he started to cock the back leg closest to her. I rattled the lead rope and snapped at him to drop it. Back leg didn't move again. Repeat on the other side. (Her saddle has an double adjustment on both sides). My mom jumped from the horse jumping and told me to stop disciplining him. She was evidently frightened, and in *my* opinion, I told her that he had cocked a back leg each time she had touched the girth -- and that wasn't acceptable. What if he had struck you? All feet on the ground at all times. I don't care what the scenario is. (At least that's my theory.) All is well and dandy with him, aside from the leg issue. It really made me uncomfortable because he dislikes being saddled.
Secondly, Mom's riding around in the fenced arena-to-be area. I'm rather excited to get Cerra up and going too, because her groundwork before hand was impeccable. (Also, all the horses were laying down in the pen earlier and I had sat on Cerra's back, scratching her neck and throwing carrots down to her... Eventually, I just relaxed and hugged her neck, forgetting that the rest of the world existed. And when I opened my eyes, she's standing up. I slowly went to sit up and she backed up in response, so I whispered for her to stop and she did. I waited a few moments and then slid off to pick my jaw off the ground. )
Okay, so Cerra stood tied very patiently for the 30 minutes that I helped my mom with her gelding. We picked out her feet before the lunging, tacked up and lunged a second time. I thought everything would be hunky-dory due to the fact that there has not been a single issue with her (aside from the occasional herd sour moment, which she's pretty easy to work out of). Then Dad came out to hold her for me while I mounted because Mom was finished by this point, and going inside. As we're standing there, Cerra begins to fidget her feet. I expected Dad to reprimand her for moving an inch while being held and his opinion was that it didn't matter. SO. We start mildly arguing back and forth about this... "No, don't let her be moving her feet. She should stand still when I'm going to mount. If she gets away with it, this will only be a worse problem in the future." "No, it's fine if she's doing this. She's still standing here, being quiet. Just get on, and let's go." (This is what we get for both being big research junkies.)
WELL. I grab her mane and mount up. Black. Suddenly, I open my eyes and see a white half-pastern and a white coronet headed my way. Things are spinning and all I can think of is to get the **** out of there. I can't breathe or see straight. (Thank God for helmets, by the way.) I look up to see that there is a panicked horse running the fence only 10 feet away and that only spurs me on. Dad caught her... albeit, he laughed and asked me what happened to the 'emergency dismount' I was practicing. I responded with: "Don't you think THAT could be considered an emergency dismount?" Turns out, Cerra had spooked as my right leg came down and she had bolted before I'd found the second stirrup. Dad had tried to turn her away from me falling, but somehow, I'd conveniently balled up beneath her with a hung-up stirrup. Today, my guts hurt. My right side aches pretty bad. BUT. I'm glad this happened because now I'm not afraid to fall off. Once I'd caught my breath, we did a bit more groundwork before untacking. Afterwards, we let her go into a different pen and I put the saddle pad back on her. She was still a bit spooky, but kept her attention on me and readily took the pad... Tomorrow, I'm going out to tack up again but leave it at groundwork. Concentrate on overcoming Sunday's incident. It's weird, because she's carried riders before with absolutely no issue... and then I get in the nice spot of her being *ahead* of both my dad and I.
Anyways. What are your thoughts about fidgety feet and mounting? (Also, what would you suggest to mix up the ground work? She does ground driving really well; lunging; rein sensitivity; overcoming the fear of ropes/entanglement; verbal commands; squeezing around barrels, etc. Thanks in advance. :)