In Tasmania – Saddles and good rides!

Today the horses continued to improve and the weather was perfect. But you know what wasn’t so perfect?! Having a huge leech bite my face! Just as I was putting my helmet on, I felt something big and slimy in my hair. As I went to touch it, I felt a glob. Freaking out, I threw it on the ground. A large leech wiggled off into the grass and, looking down at my fingers, I saw they were covered in blood. Where was it coming from? So there I was, hunched over in the field next to Lace (saddled and ready to ride), my helmet dropped at my feet, my bloody fingers touching my forehead  frantic and suspiciously. You know how it is when you find a bug, and suddenly it feels like they’re all over you? So I kept thinking there was another leech in my hair, but… there wasn’t. Just blood running down the side of my face
Lace was sniffing me and knickering in a concerned, curious way (continuously!) which really surprised me. Either she sensed how genuinely freaked out and panicked I was, or she was smelling my blood. Probably both.

Anyway, so that was some excitement for the morning. And leech bites don’t stop bleeding for about a half hour, so – that was fun…
Other than that, my day was great. I didn’t ride Gold but she made great progress on the ground and wearing the saddle with the back cinch. As I was getting her saddled up, she showed me how much she just loooved her saddle by giving herself a nice chin scratch with it.

Photo by Tiamat Warda Gold's saddle rub

Photo by Tiamat Warda
Gold’s saddle rub

Lace was as light as a feather and gave me a huge, floaty trot when I rode her today. Quite a difference! It was a great feeling to be able to ask her to go and stop without using my legs and only occasionally lifting my reins from where they hung over her withers.

On the other hand, working with Pearl was all about coming down from adrenaline, using her brain to figure out patterns, and not being so reactive. At the beginning of the session, she was over reacting to every movement I made and just being dramatic. She switches from playful and confident (with energy) to overly sensitive, reactive and spooky. Every day she is improving, but it’s still a work in progress.
By the end she was very calm and had turned on her brain. Pearl wasn’t even able to take 3 steps at a walk on the circle. She always wanted to start trotting (calmly, but still…). So I worked on her just walking. Once we got that going nicely, I started asking her for a different pattern: half a circle of walk and then half a circle trotting.
This required her to move fast and then come down from that “adrenaline” during a very short period of time.

Other than that, I played with Ty, the 2-year-old, again after he had been a bit lame over the past few days. Today was his second saddling, which he reminded me of by showing some nice bucks. It was still a vast improvement from the first time he wore the western saddle. Yay!

Stay tuned for more of my adventures starting these 4 horses here in Tasmania, Australia. Have any questions or comments? Let me see them in the comments below or on Facebook!

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