Monday, July 09, 2007

Baby's First Step

I got on Bella last night. She's been such a willing little lady all week and I had complete confidence in her last night, so I saddled her and then stepped up on top. Well, to be more exact, I had decided to put her saddle on as I was driving out to see her. She had been out all day in the desert with some of the others and so had whatever attitude already bucked out of her. As I led her out of her stall she just followed along sweetly so I took her all the way out to my car (no use schlepping my saddle into the barnyard.) I had her little bucket in the back of the car and she always knows that. I let her have her bucket and just started saddling her right there, next to the car, not tied up. That was fine, she hardly noticed. Then, Diane (the barn owner) came out of her house and laughingly asked what was I thinking, and then said she'd get on her. I just replied that if she had had enough to drink, she was welcome. She hadn't had a thing to drink but was certain that Bella would be wonderful. So, she came over and we got the cinch nicely snug. I took Bella's almost finished bucket away so she could focus, and Diane put some weight in the stirrup. Bella hardly blinked. Diane then put weight in the stirrup again and just swung on over. Bella stood still and thought about it and then asked for her bucket back. Diane got off and we hugged the baby and then I found myself back by the stirrup and I decided to do the same thing Diane had. I put my weight in the stirrup several times before going ahead and swinging on over. She stood like a statue. I talked to her and patted her all over and rubbed her neck and then got off. Maybe a 60 second first start. She was completely happy with herself and now wanted the rest of her bucket.
After a few more minutes of us fawning all over her being such a big girl we brought out the bridle and put that on her too. She took all of this like a little well-trained girl. I do need advice though, on what bit I should start her with. I have a nice big full-cheek snaffle that I've used for years, but I'd like to really protect her mouth while at the same time having that direct contact. Any choices you have started with and think works well?
So, Bella's been broke.


Rising Rainbow said...

Wow! Good for you! That's so exciting. My heart always goes to my throat when I first climb up there but at the same time, it feel so great to have it accomplished.

You asked about bits. I start all of my in a big smooth full cheek snaffle. It's got the added pressure on the side to help the horse understand when you want to turn to one side or the other.

I think it's the best thing out there. My horses always end up light as a feather. So I think you've made a great choice.

After my open house, I will be climbing onto a few here! Can hardly wait to get some progress in that direction.

Donna said...

Huzzah! Just take it slow and let Bella tell you when you've gone too far.

Rising Rainbow said...

One of the most important things I've learned over the years is when I have something that works for me, I should stick with it. My biggest wrecks have happened by listening to the advice of others about something like the situation you're talking about with the snaffle bit. While a hackamore might be great in the hands of the person who recommended it, it might be not so great for you young horse if you have any insecurities that might go along with it's use.

I've been to a ton of clinics with some very successful trainers and most of the good ones will tell you go with what you are comfortable with and works for you. There are lots of different ways to do the same thing. It's not important tool or method you use to get there, what's important is how it comes out in the end.

Of course, it goes without being said that I'm referring to horse friendly techniques!!

I think if you feel comfortable with the snaffle and trust it, your horse will too.

Molly said...

MiKael, you are truly a wonderful source of information. I so appreciate your remarks and recommendations. While I've fussed around horses for about half a century, I don't have anywhere near the experience or training you have. Looking at the people who are offering these opinions on how I should proceed, I really think I have as much or more practical experience as they do. Thank you for helping me remember to go with my gut instinct.

Molly said...

Donna, thank you for reminding me to not rush. I'm really in no hurry since I'm enjoying Bella's mother anyway. It just felt so right the other night to go that far. It would be wonderful to always train when the horse seems ready and not when the humans have a little extra time. Since Bella is still growing I would rather she put her energy into strong bones and joints and not into carrying me around.

photogchic said...

Good times-Bella is so adorable, I knew she would be a good girl. When I started Maddy, I used a rope halter and am still using a rope halter. I am moving to a bridle with snaffle sometime next week. I kept looking at this little halter and kept thinking--"how am I going to stop her?" I can't even tell you how many retired racehorses ran off with me in my day. So I was pretty nervous about the whole thing. But I didn't realize how affective a one rein stop is. It seemed pretty scary, but everyone assured me this was the way to go. It has worked wonders with Maddy, but like Mikael says, you have to do what you think is best for you and Bella. I am so proud of my favorite girl---Very cool Molly.

Molly said...

And thank you too, photogchic, your opinion is quite valuable. I've had many friends be very successful with the Parelli method. I would love to get my hands on some of their books. Maybe next trip up I'll look for some.
Run away race horses is kind of a nightmare, huh?