Millie has been doing great! She was worked in the Horsemanship clinic at the beginning of November and was a star. Joel used her in a round pen “join up” demonstration and showed how to help her be more accepting of the rope. Very simply put, he would swing the rope then walk backwards to take off the pressure. When she looked at him, he would stop swinging and release. This way she learned that by joining up and bringing her attention onto the person, the thing that worried her went away. She gained a lot of confidence from this exercise.
During the clinic, Joel also helped us saddle Millie for the first time. The preparation work helped her accept this pretty well, but once the stirrups started moving, they worried her and she tried a few times to kick at them. We helped support her by putting the rope around her to let her get up and going but then help her come back down and not continue to be upset. This worked very well and she got better each day!
There is a ton of things we can get done over the fall and winter to help her preparation for a first ride. She’s made great progress in other areas such as learning to stand tied and coming into a stall at night. Our little frightened mare has already come so far. She is available now as a companion and we hope to make her available as a riding horse next spring.