This month was the first time Otto saw a saddle (or rather, the first time he wore one – technically he’d probably seen one before then). First saddlings are always interesting. We do our best to prepare the horse before we cinch them up for the first time. Touching them all over with the flag, placing saddle pads on their backs, throwing the rope around their middles, all exercises to help simulate the types of things they will undergo when they wear a saddle. But even with the best preparation, the saddle is still a completely different experience. The saddle is constant pressure that the horse must learn to deal with – aided by support from us.
Many horses, when first saddled, will react to the first few (or even beyond the first few) saddlings. They are worried about the stirrups, about the various dangly bits on the saddle, about having something attached to their back. So we expected some reaction from Otto. But when that cinch was pulled snug, Otto just walked off, cool as a cucumber. Granted, he had the great support of Joel, but even still, his reaction (or lack thereof) was quite impressive. This was not a one off – Otto proved to be level headed with each subsequent saddling. The first time with a rider on his back he handled with the same mellowness. Not to say there weren’t still some spots where Otto got bothered, but overall, he was not reactive. This boy has a good (not to mention very cute!) head on his shoulders, and we are excited to continue our work with him.