I've worked with her with this in 3 sessions so far in the round pen. Each time, I lunge her, do some desensitizing, have her follow me around the pen, back up, shoulder-in, etc. After this I bring the saddle blanket in, lunge her while I hold it, and when she comes in I rub it all over, then put it on. In comes the saddle, at which time she usually backs away, so I send her out along the rail and make her trot for a little while. When she asks to come in, I let her, and put the saddle on gently. Walk her around, slowly girth up. Then I put the bridle on, which she's fine with, and send her out along the rail again. When she asks to come in, again, I let her, and rub my hands all over her and the saddle. Then I stand on the mounting block and if she backs away, I send her out again. When she comes in, I line her up with the block and she's totally fine with that. Then I get down, praise her, get back on the block, and put my hands on her while leaning forward. Gradually, little by little, she will stand with weight from my upper body on her, and will stand when I hold the stirrup up and wiggle the horn a bit. Whenever she backs away, I send her out again until she asks to come in, and we restart. She has never let me get past the point of the foot in the stirrup, though. Once, after an hour and a half in the round pen, I jumped on when she started to back away and she took off running around the pen like a lunatic, which is what she did when I first rode her.
When we tried her out, she jumped forward when I got on, but her old owner was holding her so that's all she did. It's not saddle fit, but I have no idea what it is other than a bad past experience. She loves people and attention, but is very timid and it used to take me forever to catch her because she was so scared. Now she rushes to the gate, hoping to be groomed, whenever she sees me with a halter. She's improved so much, but she hasn't gotten past the point of the foot in the stirrup. Once I got on, all three times I've ridden her, she's been an absolute dream under saddle. It's getting on that's so frustrating. I try to keep it positive, I lunge her without saddling her a lot, and do a lot of trust exercises, but I just can't get past this with her. We're thinking of having a John Lyons-style trainer come out that did miracles with Sunny and having him work with Lenox for a while. He costs $200 to solve any problem, and he will stay as long as it takes to solve the problem. He told us how he worked 6 hours once, well into the night, with one horse a few years back who was a chronic rearer, biter, and kicker. At the end of the session, the horse was as docile as a lamb.
Last edited by equiniphile; 03-20-2011 at 01:59 PM.