Apprentice Taylor Dutton and 2 year old Venus DreamWalker.
Venus' first ever saddling.
Taylor has watched two sessions wherein Venus' full sister Sirius and her half sister Trinity
were saddled for their first time.
We don't 'round pen' the horses as in chase them around to tire them out and / or
Rather we build on trust already established through good day to day treatment and handling and the natural curiosity of the young horses.
At no time are they restrained.
They can move their feet whenever they choose which helps alleviate any apprehension.
Should the horse show anxiety in any degree we stop the process immediately and work through the anxiety using MareSpeak.
The flag is not used to discipline or desensitize the horse.
It is used to teach 'impermanence'...it is the beginning of teaching that none of what we are about to do is forever. The flag goes away...the saddle goes away...we go away...and so on.
This helps the horse relax knowing his world returns to normal and that we don't intend to live on his back 'forever'.
Venus' ears move back and forth.
When they are back she is both paying attention and showing a degree
of uncertainty. Taylor will move on to the next step when Venus' ears go forward and remain there.
Meanwhile note that in spite of Venus' uncertainty she is remaining relatively calm and in place. She has freedom to move should she need to.
Venus steps forward....moves around a bit and stops when she feels ready to progress.
Saddle pad and saddle will be put on and taken off with short walks around the pen to firmly establish the fact that wearing the saddle is an impermanent thing.
Venus is held loose enough to be able to check things out for herself.
Girth cinched up snugly but not so tight that it 'cuts the horse in two' as we say.
Venus' final walk around the ring. Day one complete.
Well done Taylor!