It was rainy and a little dismal today, although still a beautifully warm day for February. Today, I worked with Petey in the indoor arena, and took things up a notch.
Due to ice hill conditions, a few round bales had to be stored in the indoor arena. The “trio” as we like to call Petey and his two red mares were inside munching on one of the round bales. I went out and Petey actually lifted his head from the hay and walked toward me. I had a halter rope, and asked him to start moving around the arena.
Petey was very calm, and I felt like we were connected right. He moved around in either direction, and actually stretched down at the trot today. His departs into trot were much less high headed and a couple of times he broke into a canter that also flowed much better than the last time we worked together. After combing him, I decided to saddle him.
It took a couple of tries for Petey to stand at the wagon. When I lifted the pad, he walked away two times. Which gave me the opportunity to try again :). On the third time, he stood steady and remained still and untroubled while I put the saddle on him. I checked with my “eyes on the ground” (Liz) and she verified that he seemed to be a little reserved, or preparing himself for what comes next, but no major reaction or shift in his eye. Thanks, Liz!
I asked Petey to move around the arena again, and he stayed in the same frame with the saddle as he had been without it. He was a little less connected to me, it took a little longer to get him to stop. Of course, I was asking him gently because I didn’t want to initiate any upside down movement for the brown horse. I found this out because I needed to tighten his girth, the saddle had slipped. Petey stood completely still while I readjusted his saddle, pad and tightened the girth. I wasn’t sure if I would need to put the halter on him to adjust the equipment, and he let me know that it wasn’t necessary.
After walking in both directions, I asked him to take his energy up into a trot. His departs weren’t as fluid as without the saddle, but again, his frame wasn’t inverted and upside down. I even had to make another equipment adjustment because I now know that the saddle/pad combination that I used wasn’t a good fit. The pad kept slipping out behind the saddle, even when the girth was comfortably tight.
We ended with some more walk around in each direction. Again, it wasn’t quite as easy to stop him from a distance as it was without a saddle. It was still nothing to complain about, just letting me know that there’s still something that changes for Petey when the saddle is involved.
I think what happened at the end was the very best part of our time together. And, I was pretty darn excited about how Petey had moved today. What I was so happy to see was what happened when I unsaddled Petey. He had coasted to a stop down by where the girls were eating on the round bale. He turned toward me. I walked to him and took off the saddle. I told him how beautiful and smart he was, petted him, and turned to walk to the other end of the arena.
Instead of heading over to eat hay with the other horses, Petey followed me. Of course, he got more praise and pets, ok, and a hug, after that choice. This is something that years ago, I don’t think I would have appreciated, and now it’s one of the best things ever when one of my horses chooses to be with me. Thank goodness I have learned lots. I bet my horses are thankful I have learned lots, too. Thank you for a heart centered session today, Petey!