Our baby Piper is growing up! She is just a bit older than two now so we’re introducing her to some groundwork. She attended her first Horsemanship Clinic at Safe Harbor last week. She did very well with all the other horses around us. We worked in the last hour of the class and then Joel helped me get the saddle on her. She was a star for all of these new experiences! A few issues came up with her sticky feet and braces moving forward off of pressure. We will work through these now so that when we do go to ride her it will be less stressful and she will be more accepting of the rider.
At this point it’s not about hours of work or sweaty hard workouts, it is about acceptance. For Piper, being saddled was a non-event. There was hardly any jumping around when she felt the cinch or stirrups touching her sides. I have saddled her a few times now and her willingness to move forward off of feel is getting better. I’d like to see this improve a bit more and then I will take her over to Joel’s to put the first ride on her in a few weeks.
After that she will be living the life as a young horse should: turned out with good friends and enjoying growing up. When she is around three, we will bring her back into training and start riding her more regularly. Even then, the groundwork and experiences will be the goals. As Buck Brannaman recently said in his Colt Starting clinic in Dayton, WA, these youngsters have their whole lives to be riding horses, it’s the groundwork foundation and experiences that is key at this time in their lives.