I've started saddle-training Red Man (at last!) and was wondering if anyone had any tips/tricks they'd like to share.
First (and only, thus far, work + weather ='s no training) saddling:
Nervous at the blanket. Settled promptly when I touched him with it. Took maybe 15 minuets all together to get it set on his back. This was with seeing, smelling, touching, setting it on him closed, letting him see and smell it when it was open, etc. Walked him with it on, it slipped and he did spook. Rubbed him all over, walked again, no spooking.
Didn't trust the saddle at first. I allowed him to see, smell, and hear it. In less that five minuets it was set on his back, no bucking/rearing/spooking/fussing.
Slowly cinched him up, tightening it up a little, letting it sit a moment, doing it again. Stood calmly throughout the whole thing, even in the final tightening stages.
Messed around with the saddle, jiggled it, bumped stirrups against him, rattled metal pieces and what-not. He acted better than my 10 year old!
Began getting him used to mounting movements on both sides and he did well. Did not mount yet.
Bridle: Bridled fine, needs to work on lowering head and taking the bit, but otherwise no problems.
Overall, Red was understandably unsure of the new objects but learned and calmed quick. He did not rear, buck, spook (except the one time with the blanket) or act fearful or nervous after becoming accustomed to the tack. He lead quietly and lunged normally in walk and gait, I did not canter him because of the soft footing.
I honestly expected more spazzing. Thoughts?