For many of the horses who come to SAFE who are in need of a start or a restart, we spent a great deal of time preparing them for their first saddling and their first rides. But due to the variation in personalities and past histories, the speed at which we are able to hit these milestones varies.

Wren came to SAFE in May, and little was known about what had been done with her. From our initial assessment, it seemed like the answer was “not much.” This is the most ideal of scenarios, for it just means we have less muddy water to wade through on the way to clarifying our meanings.

In general, very little seemed to bother Wren. She was a very reasonable mind from the very beginning, and was the first of her group to do things like walk into the barn, spend some time in a stall, and leave the comfort of her paddock. Following that logic, it would only make sense that she would also be the first to wear a saddle. And while that’s not always how it works, in Wren’s case, it was.

Lexee N, who worked alongside Wren from the beginning, found her to be quickly progressing through their groundwork checklist, and quickly graduated her to throwing the pad and light synthetic saddle on her back. There was very little upset on Wren’s end — a sidelong glance initially, but perhaps not what you might expect for a horse with very little prior handling. Or at least, not the types who typically come through our program.

After a good bit of preparation involving groundwork, groundwork, and more groundwork, as well as plenty of tosses of the ‘real’ saddle to get her used to the heft and clank, we decided it was time to cinch her up. This was, like everything else, low-drama. She had no bucks, and really no trouble that made itself readily apparent. She was a little sticky moving forward, with a tendency to want to change direction without being asked, but when considering all the things that could (and often do!) happen when a horse is cinched up for the first time, Wren was about as easy as it gets.

We will not take this for granted, and while we appreciate when we get a horse like Wren who makes these steps so easy for us, we put her through the same paces as we do all the rest. It just happens that it is a bit faster with a mare like her. With the rate at which she is progressing, it seemingly wont be long until she is ready for an adopter! But no expectations — we will give Wren all the time she needs.