Welcome to day number 6 in my August challenge! I hope you are finding this helpful. And maybe, just maybe it’s helping you to find a little extra motivation to get out there and do something with your horse every day. Even if you aren’t riding every day. I’m not. Not every single day is in the saddle. Most days I am working toward that, but it isn’t just about the riding for me.
And today isn’t about the riding for me either. I am tacking Plezant up, but most likely will not be making it all the way up into the saddle. Because today we are just walking in the tack.Follow my blog with Bloglovin
Walking Under Saddle
I debated calling this walking in the tack vs. walking under saddle. Because we are just walking. You can do whatever you want, but for Plezant, I like to keep him guessing. So while he may think he is going to be ridden, he won’t be. But I am going through the entire process of grooming, taking up, and then going somewhere.
It’s the repetition of practice that makes me do what I do with him. And the more I do it, the better I get, and the easier the process gets. Just like yesterday when I talked about how long it take me to tack up, every time I do it I get better at it, and quicker too.
And because I tend to do everything with horses slowly, and methodically, I like doing things that keep my horse guessing. I don’t want him anticipating my every move, and thinking he knows what I am going to do next.
It’s Not Always About the Riding
Every time I am with my horses, I am not always planning on riding. With going slowly and methodically, I am reinforcing little lessons for my horse. Like standing still when he gets saddled. Or lowering his head when I put on the bridle.
I do these things slow, because I don’t care how long it takes to get the result I want. I’m not planning on riding, so there isn’t really a time frame.
If he gets stubborn about lowering his head for the bridle, I can repeat this process over and over until he does what I ask of him. I’m in no hurry.
And by practicing over and over again, the repetition becomes a habit for the both of us. This is important to keep in mind when you are doing something new. Let’s take Plezant as the example.
Consistency is Key
When I brought Plezant home 6 months ago, getting him to lead properly was a chore. He would walk 2 steps and plant his feet. Then I would have to coax him to move forward. This turned into walking half way around the arena before he planted his feet. And then we went 1 full turn around the arena.
I continued to practice walking with him over and over until I got the desired result I wanted.
Walking Under Saddle
The same thing happened when I got in the saddle. He would walk a step or two and then just stop. And don’t get me wrong, this was frustrating. But I just kept at it, and eventually, the same thing happened. First it was two steps, then half way around the arena, and then all the way around the arena.
The one thing that I focused on was the consistency of my ask, and making the right thing easy, and the wrong thing more difficult. If he didn’t want to walk, I would put pressure on him until he did what I asked. When he does the right thing, he is rewarded with a release from the pressure.
Which is why today we are just focusing on the tacking up process, and walking around the arena, or in the pasture. I am building upon previous lessons, and asking more of him each time. But I don’t want him anticipating what is going to come next.
I’m sure he thinks every time he gets saddled, he is going to get ridden. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes a saddle just means he gets to go out on the trail, in hand. It doesn’t always mean I will be riding him. But it does mean I expect him to behave, and do what I ask. And if he doesn’t, well then I make the wrong thing difficult for him.
What’s Good for the Horse Is Good for the Rider
And it isn’t just about working Plezant. It’s also the practice of tacking up for me. The more I do it, the faster I get. It’s like building muscle memory of the repetitive process. And it helps me, just as much as it helps him.
Well this brings an end to the day, and I do have a new video too. But the video is talking about having 600 videos on YouTube! I can’t believe that! 600 videos that I have made are now on YouTube. Holy cow! That is a LOT of videos!
Even though I haven’t been posting every day in my August challenge, I am kind of dripping in the information. I think this is a better way to share the information, and that way you don’t feel obligated to do something new every single day with your horse. The important thing to remember is to just get out there, and do something with him!
Whenever you choose to do it, just make the most of the time you have with your horse, and do something with them. I’m sure they love seeing you just as much as you love spending time with them.