February 09, 2013

The Mounting Block

I’ve done several sessions with Dani around the mounting block.  The first couple , which occurred a couple weeks before my lesson with Laurie, I would go up the mounting block and if she backed off I would make her back or turn her in circles.  Make the wrong thing difficult and the right thing easy. 
 Then I started working on rubbing her while on the standing on the block, then leaning on her; this is what Laurie had me do during our lesson.  Since then I’ve done some work where she was just in a halter and I led her around the block, got up and down on the block and asked her to move at least one step in the direction towards the block.
The evening Steve came out with me we did similar work with him leading her up to the block while I was standing on it and vice versa.  We loved on her and leaned on her and then would step away and then step back on and up the block.  She became pretty relaxed toward the end.  Then we set her loose and I took a rest on the mounting block.  The picture above is her looking at me saying, "Hi mom, what cha doin?"

Today I went out to get a ride in before some icky cold weather hit, but of course we desperately need the moisture!  I spent time grooming Dani, always my favorite part of being with a horse is making them shine and loving on them! She's already starting to shed out winter coat! I'm excited because it means the days are getting longer...well obviously they have been since what, December 21st?? I got some new stirrup leathers, still synthetic but longer and they are great! I also figured out how the Wintec stirrup leather "loop" works. I was thinking it went through the loop like on other saddles but it actually just goes in and then comes out under the saddle flap. I'll have to take a picture to show it since I can't seem to explain it the way I want. 
The other new thing I have is an anti-slip pad under the green pad.  I didn't take any pictures but I suppose I'll have to do a tack post with my new little items because I also got a grab strap to add to the front of the saddle!  This will add some security when I feel I want to grab something solid.
 Today was chilly and the indoor arena was packed with about 10 riders going over a jumps course.  I think there is a show coming up because one girl with a cute white pony was telling me about hoping to show of her pony at the show to find her a new owner.  Anyways, out into the driving wind and cold we went.  We approached the mounting block and I let Dani sniff it.  Then I stood on it and had her move around it, I had her reins off like I was leading her.  Then I put them on her neck and led her up to it.  I got prepared to mount and she stood like a good girl.  Once I was on though she walked off before I asked; I abruptly asked her to stop.  I was so proud of her though, little steps of progress.
I know we'll have some more work to do on mounting from the block but I'm very happy with this progress.  I actually mounted three different times.  When I first popped on I noticed my stirrups were adjusted way too long; I was reaching for them and it was like being stirrup-less.  I decided to jump off and adjust those from the ground because it would give me a chance to mount again.  Then the second time I dismounted was because of Canadian Geese honking and flying towards the barn. Daenerys bolted while in the paddock last weekend when some geese were honking and flying really low.  Luckily I'd already released her and was just chilling in the paddock watching the horses.  I envisioned this could be an issue still and I am trying to figure out a way to desensitize her to this, so I decided to bail and just stand by her just to be on the safe side.  I turned her towards the flock but they were much further away from us than when I had seen them in the paddock last weekend so she didn't seem to have any issues.  I think in the paddock they were flying really low and really loud so I can understand that to a horse that was a horse eating pterodactyl!
Anyways, I had a third chance to mount from the block and she was good just like the other times.  This third time she didn't immediately try to walk off so I praised her.  Pretty soon I started seeing snowflakes and since I couldn't feel my toes I figured it was best to head inside and untack.
The barn was busy with people getting blankets on their horses and feed time was getting prepared.  Floro the main groom, came up to me and brushed snow off my jacket when he asked how I was.  I said "Freezing!".  He laughed, sometimes his mexican accent is hard to understand but he's a very sweet and friendly guy and great with the horses.  I quickly groomed Dani and got her blanket and under blanket on.  Within that time the wind and snow had picked up quite a bit.  Horses were already getting covered in a dusting of snow.  I led Dani out to the paddock and gave my girl a hug.  I was headed home to my warm house and she was anxiously awaiting her hay with no concern for the flying snow.  I'm so glad today went well with the tack, the mounting and the ride!  I don't know if I'll see her much tomorrow since I have to run some errands in Denver but this week we'll continue on with the mounting block lessons.  Happy riding!

1 comment:

AmberRose- Girl With a Dream said...

You guys are doing so well, you're coming on in leaps and bounds. I look forward to hearing how your journey continues.