The weather has finally started to warm up and today was an unseasonably warm and sunny 75 degrees, even though it was incredibly windy. The original plan had just been to lunge Tabby with the saddle and bridle and work on voice commands. I figured since it's been a few months since I worked with her, that she'd have forgotten everything and we'd have to start over. Nope. Even though the rest of the herd was gallivanting around the other pasture and she was by herself, she was quite the lady and did everything perfectly. Glenn wants to learn more about training horses so I coached him as he lunged Tabby, which gave me a chance to take some pictures.
Because she was doing so well and acting bored with the whole lunging routine, I decided today was as good a day as any to get on her for the first time. I had kept her halter on under the bridle, so had Glenn keep a lead rope on her while I put weight in the stirrup, smacked the saddle, hung my body over her back and patted her everywhere, and generally made much to do about how wonderful she was for standing still through all of it. Then I took a deep breath to relax myself and swung on up from the mounting block. Of course she stood still. It only took a light squeeze and a "walk on!" from me to get her moving.
It took her a few moments to get used to my weight on her back and get her feet moving straight, but once she had the hang of it we did some pretty nice circles at the walk. Once she was doing well I had Glenn remove the lead rope and we were on our own. She had a little nervousness about the newness of it all and the herd still playing in the next field, and she let out a whinny or two, but that was it! I stayed on her only for about 10 minutes, just walking circles, practicing WHOA, and getting her used to my leg on her side.
When I asked for a WHOA, I'd say the word in conjunction with rolling back on my hips. If that didn't stop her, then I'd squeeze on the reins lightly. Most of the time I didn't even need the reins. The last WHOA, I waited until she was standing quietly, then dismounted.
It was a very uneventful first ride and that's just the way I like 'em!
Yes, I know I'm riding in shorts. So sue me! It was nice out! :)