The day started out milder than yesterday, in terms of Ruby’s temperament. I groomed her first thing and tried the detangler spray. She was watchful but did not move. I put the saddle on, cinching it to snug. I always cinch in increments. I ask them to trot or move out for one turn in the round pen and then cinch a little more. The cinching usually takes about three turns.
Ruby trotted off nervously, not waiting for my cue to move. I just stood there passive and let her trot. I was counting the times she went around. I was on nine and all of a sudden she burst into a bucking fit. While my back was turned the saddle had slipped upside down. I let her buck for a minute but I thought she might wreck the saddle or less likely hurt herself by getting a hind foot up underneath the seat. I signaled and said, ‘whoa’, and after a little more fuss she stopped. I walked up carefully; she was trembling. Meantime, it is a trick to get an upside down saddle off, all the time wondering if she will blow up again, but I accomplished it. She stood.
I carried the saddle to the center of the round pen. She followed me. She was very joined up to me. I’ve seen the phenomena before, after some moments of heavy stress. Horses find some security in being close. I put the saddle on again. This time she did not move out but stayed close to me.
I lunged her again using the mecate’ as a lead rope. She walked pleasantly around me both ways several times. We took a trail ride. She was calm and pleasant but gradually as the ride continued (we were in thick trees and some standing water) I could feel her stress rising. Though she was never difficult to ride, my goal is for her to be totally relaxed and unafraid.
When we got back to the training pen she accomplished the half-pass both ways nicely, especially going right. We did the pinwheel. We opened gates. We accomplished the full pass straddling over a pole; again she’s better right than left.
We trotted around the poles and barrels set up in the pen and cantered some lead changes for 10 or 15 minutes. This trotting and cantering seemed to calm her down a bit.