One of the ways we are working to help Sienna build a solid foundation is to get her operating better off feel. 1st goal was to get her to stop at a point away from the gate. Helping search for this point, we made the wrong thing (leaving the spot) difficult by sending her forward, and the right thing (stopping at the point) easy, full relaxation and petting when she chose turn towards the stop point or as we approached it. It took about 45mins for her to find the stop. Next day.…less than a minute to hunt and find the point.
After that we worked on establishing the leading leg. Helping her choose to follow the riders feel sent either to the right or left. Ultimately our goal is that our horses become an extension of our legs. In order to get there she needs to follow our feel. Again she has the choice. The right thing easy, turning with the direction the rider is sending the feel, and the wrong thing difficult, sending her when she chooses to go the opposite way of the riders feel.
Sienna is sensitive mare that even the slightest tension held in the riders leg or seat keeps her from turning all the way loose and coming to a stop or following a feel. In time she will get more with her riders and search for the peace offered when we are going together.
Before riding Sienna we run through almost all aspects of Buck Brannaman’s Groundwork book (The Red book). Checking out green horses is key to making sure you aren’t over looking anything and getting yourself into trouble. Sienna can be full of braces and you could surface ride her for awhile and think everything was good…until it wasn’t or some outside stress tips the scale in the wrong direction. It’s very important she learns to work through her braces and find relaxation even when put into binds.
Sienna is a lovely mare and going to with a lot of consistency and good horsemanship make a wonderful riding partner. She has come so far and her future is so bright!