The who, what, when, where and why of an equestrian

Posts tagged ‘Sara’

Sara’s First Trot


I love my mare.

I wish I had pictures from the last few days.

We’ve played in three savvies: Online, Liberty and Freestyle.
You heard right: Freestyle! My mare and I have been riding!
Two days in a row, we’ve ridden for half an hour after playing online or at liberty. We’ve pushed the big green ball, played point to point, started follow the rail, squeezed through barrels, as well as yielding, halting and backing.
Did I mention today was her third ride without someone leading her for me on the ground? Full credit goes to my wonderful horse, Sara. She is so smart and willing. She makes learning fun, which is a first for me in a long time.

Dressage rider in a western saddle?

My mare is so cool.

Her saddle will, Lord willing, be here in late September. I’ve been getting on her bareback, which is not an easy task at 16 hands. The barn manager was kind enough to let me borrow one of her western saddles to use for the next 30 or so days. She walked me through how to cinch everything up, the importance of the buck strap, etc. She was very patient with me and my dressage ways.

I set the saddle up on a barrel and started playing with Sara on the 12′. Forgot my 22′. Oops!
We got some sideways at the trot, which was a first. We played with the pedestal and got some big, banging paws at it. We ended up with one foot resting on it. Another first.
We’re played friendly with the saddle pad when her left-brain extrovert came out. She decided this was much too slow and boring. She made up her own game with the pad. How long can I chew on the pad before the human stops me?
We walked around and played touch-it with the pad on. Checked out the pedestal again.
I was much more nervous about the saddle than she was. I picked it up, realized I was getting tense, and set it back down so I could lick and chew!
A little bit later, I picked up the saddle. I admire you western folk! Although this was smaller than the other saddles in the tack room, it was still HEAVY. My hat is off to you who heave that up every day.
Anyway! Sara thoroughly rubbed and scratched her face on the saddle; she was clearly just terrified of the thing….
Swung the saddle up and down a few times. Sara is still relaxing. I cinched it up, tightening it over three tries.

Sara and I took a walk. She was aware of the saddle and sniffed it one but was otherwise unconcerned. We played some Circling game, which has just gotten so nice. Darn for forgetting the 22′, though; she is so fun to watch way out there on the end of it. We played with the pedestal some more, got a foot up.
I ended the session by walking and setting her up at the mounting block. I got up and leaned over for a little while then called it a day.


My sister took this picture of Sara while she and I were playing at liberty. This is right as she was hiding her hiney at the canter to come in.

Lots of learning

Sara and myself sharing a quiet moment.

Making our way to the indoor, we stopped and played in the wash rack. We yo-yo’ed in and out, sometimes with one set of feet on and one off. This was her first wash rack experience.
In the arena, we did our stretches with the horse cookies I baked. She loved them! Just gooey enough with molasses, which she loves. She was pretty tight in her right S-I so we massaged that a bit. We’re practicing stretching her hind legs underneath her belly; this is new and she’s still learning to relax into it.
I tied Sara for a few minutes while I helped my sister, Leah, stretch Tiki. Sara is very good about tying and licked some of the self-assessment papers that were tacked to the arena wall.
We played for an hour and a half. So much fun! We practiced with the saddle pad, which she’s getting to be very left brained about. If I don’t make it interesting, she tries to eat it! Carrying it around doesn’t phase her.
Our sideways is looking better; we’re getting more speed and distance. It’s looking like actual sidepassing.
Circling game has improved leaps and bounds. We can get 4 – 6 laps at the walk or trot. She definitely needs the 22′ line for more drift. This is her chance to constructively move her feet!
We also practiced bridling, which she didn’t seem to care about. She simply put her head in it like we would our halter. Played all the games with it on, too. Very smart girl!
I turned Sara our in the indoor at liberty so I could help Leah ride Tiki. It was fun to see her watch me, then explore, then come see me of her own volition. We even practiced leaning on the mounting block at liberty. I think my favorite moment was when she left to explore and I waited on the stool. She came back in 60 seconds and set her self up to be scratched and rubbed. I was laughing, I was so thrilled.

Sara, Tiki and friends enjoying their summer

American Pride Stables, KY

Happy feet!

Sara and I had fun this morning. We started out with a little touch it and friendly game with the carrot stick. It was neat to see her start touching objects with her feet instead of just her mouth and teeth. I was so proud of her!

While nosing and pawing the grid of poles, Sara decided to take herself through it. It was such a great left-brain moment. She stopped mid-pole when I asked and waited happily until I said ok, try something new. She walked straight through no problem.

We sniffed the trailer. She was a little hesitant about the carrot stick driving zone 2 by it today, which I need to remember.
The trailer turned into the circling game, which I’ve been meaning to work on. It’s a challenge not to be direct line about “conquering” it but I feel like I did a good job today of balance expectation and acceptance. We got four and five laps at the walk, three at the trot. One time, she walked into the savvy string and I think that’s when it clicked for her that it’s her responsibility to stay out on the circle until I change something.

It was really neat to see her grow more curious and brave with the big blue barrels. There are three laying side-by-side on the ground. She nosed and starting pawing them and shoving them around. Periodically, she’s shift an eye to look at me as if to say, “This what you want?” I’d smile and put my hand on my carrot stick as a, “Yes, proceed!” That was a big theme today. She created maybe a six inch gap for herself between two barrels and, after putting one foot first, she walked through it, bumping barrels and all, cool as a cucumber.

We finished up the hour by going through the grid one more time and playing with the ball. I’m so proud of Sara because she used to be visibly afraid of the ball. I asked her to trust me a little more and kick the ball today instead of just eating it. And she did! Such a smart girl. She pawed it and at one point just stood there with her knee propped up on the ball. I was laughing. She kicked and nosed it around and I knew this was a good place to mosey back to the stall.