Sophie was afraid of the saddle as I walked toward her saddle in hand, so we commenced our circle dance once again. As she circled around me in the round pen she persisted in seeking for a means of escape. The goal here is for her to focus on me and not on possibilities of getting away. Usually, the horse and I arrive at an understanding in our first session. I’m starting to think that because of that escape we still haven’t had that joined up. I wonder how long that remembrance of her escape will remain with her. In the long run paying attention to me will be easier for her. Her life depends upon it because she cannot have much of a life if she does not learn to work with human beings.
After she received the saddle I long reined for a few minutes. Long reining is like driving a horse while it’s pulling a buggy, only there is no buggy, just me walking behind the horse guiding her with 30 feet of rope attached to both sides of the bridle. Today I used a bosal, which is a braided, rawhide leather band loosely surrounding her nose and hung in place by a bridle. In my estimation, it is less severe than a snaffle bit and more severe than a halter. In this case, severe doesn’t mean necessarily more painful. It means I don’t have to pull so hard. Since a bosal doesn’t go in the mouth there is no worry about damaging or building calluses on the precious bars of the horse’s mouth as the steel bits can if the filly happens to have a tantrum and consequently it fight with the steel bit. She was heavy, but not as heavy as she was in a halter, and irritated but never out of control or absolutely rebellious.
After long reining I took off the saddle and led her down the driveway. I mounted and rode back home. We halted and turned often attempting to get her to understand my cues. She did well. When we got back to the training pen I was even able to open and close the wooden gate from her back.