Before we hit the trail, I got AhD’s mind focused on me by doing lateral pressure gives, back ups and turns on the forehand from the ground right in the barn. Then I bridled him and mounted bareback, still in the barn, insisting that he stand still while I mounted a few different times. We did turns, backs, figure eight’s and such, staying in the barn aisle. AhD’s companion was whinnying up a storm outside. I maneuvered AhD over to the barn door, lifted the latch, swung open the door, and out we went. I felt like I was in a trail class, and AhD was a star pupil! We tooled around the winter paddock, going here and there, circling the manure pile, heading into deep snow, mixing it up and practicing lightness and response. I was very satisfied with how much progress we have made in that area. I dismounted and made AhD stand totally still in the Right Spot for me to mount from a big rock.
I then saddled AhD up, insisting that he stand stock still, and putting him back when he didn’t. Again, this goes back to me paying attention to details that I didn’t bother with before. I am pretty easy going, and it never bothered me if my horses moved a few steps as I swung the saddle on their back. Now that I know that it DOES matter, because it is an issue of obedience on AhD’s part and leadership on mine, I make him stand still. I get it now, that all the Little Things do turn into Big Things over time.
I chose this saddle and blanket combo because this is the one my friend Harold likes best.