Monday, July 20, 2009

Apache –- 07/20/09

Since I saddled Apache last time without problem, I went ahead and longed him with the saddle tonight.  I only longed him for a few minutes, just to make sure he still remembered WHOA.  Then I put a bridle with a full cheek snaffle bit on him, got a second longe line, ran both longe lines thru the D-rings on the front of the synthetic western saddle and did some ground driving with him.  He chewed on the bit for a few minutes, then settled down into his job.  He quickly learned that a light tug on the bit along with a spoken WHOA meant for him to come to a stop.  He didn’t move off again until I asked with a “Walk on!” and a cluck. 

It took him a few tries to understand what I wanted when I asked him to turn, but picked that up pretty quickly.  I like using a full cheek snaffle on youngsters because when you pull on one side, the full cheek part of the bit presses against their face on the other side, helping them to move their head away from the pressure, which usually means their feet follow their head and you have a successful turn.  We did circles and figure eights at the walk, with lots of stopping and standing patiently until asked to move on again.  He was quite the student!

I think one more ground driving session and he’ll be ready to be ridden.  I’d like to find someone smaller than me that knows how to ride to get on him first, but it’s not looking like that’s going to be an option any time soon.  I have smaller people lined up to ride him once he’s got a few rides under him, so at least he’ll only have to put up with me for a little while. :)

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