Sunday, February 22, 2009

Kate and Maddie learn what it's like to be a saddle horse....

July 2007: Groundwork
Usually I first put my grandson's 12 inch youth saddle (all of about 12 pounds) on my two-year-olds. Because they've carted around blankets for the last couple of months of each previous winter, usually I don't get much reaction to either blanket or saddle. I only do up the cinch the very minimum at first, just enough to keep the saddle in place. Then I move up to my bigger saddle. All along I use a D-ring snaffle with copper rollers. I don't worry too much if they jaw the bit for awhile, but if they persit, and it starts becoming a habit, I have been known to add a caveson or figure-eight noseband to teach them to keep their mouths closed and quiet. Neither Kate nor Maddie needed this aid.

Here, Kate carries the big saddle for the first time. No fuss, no muss!
The obligatory flying mane photo. (Please ignore the yearling-chewed tail!)

Flying mane from the other side.

Maddie's turn to get dressed up.
Love the way she reaches down to the bit.

Them stirrups is chasin' me, mom!

Maddie's flying mane pic.

A week or so of this kind of work and some long lining, and we should be ready to climb on!


  1. I still love Maddie. She looks like an old pro in that first picture.

  2. I found this really interesting. I was a new rider at 28, and about a year later, got a job in a stable, working for someone who cared neither for his horses nor for his staff. He had a horse that he said he wanted to "break", and he told me the way to do it was to throw myself over the horse, my stomach across its back, and then hang on as long as I could. I knew nothing, and was proud that he thought I could begin learning how to train horses. I managed to get myself on, and the horse bucked and bucked. I don't think I lasted very long before I slid off, and my ribs were bruised and hurt for weeks afterwards. I don't think the horse had ever had a blanket on it, let alone a human being, and an inexperienced one at that. Poor horse, poor me! Your horses are fortunate to have someone as skilled and caring as you obviously are, to teach them the things they need to know. I think both Maddie and Kate are beautiful!

  3. Thank you, BJC. I believe it takes time--no one-day round pen wonders! (Tho my next post willcontradict that statement.)