I use natural horsemanship methods, and have been putting the saddle on her back when I do the excersizes. I get her used to new objects and used to noises. I've been laying over her shoulder and back and she hasn't done anything drastic. (She will move her head to stare at me, ocassionally take a few steps backwards/forwards) She takes new things quite well and didn't really mind the first time I put the saddle on her. She is currently 4 years old, and very out of shape. I hope that over the winter I will be able to start riding her (very minimally) and watch what she eats to get her weight down.
So what things should I start doing to introduce her and prepare her for a career as a riding horse? What I would like to do with her is mainly she would be a trail horse. I would possibly show her in 4H for fun. Just some gymkahna, and if she is up to it, maybe a trail class or western pleasure. (Not that she would get a first, but just for a little fun and experience.)