She had a great start, too. I'm so honored to be a part of her first ride. When we started, she was quite wooly and I'm not sure why. She had a lot of piss and vinegar and we were thinking today wouldn't be the day. However, I kept playing with her and showed Loma some of the things I've been teaching her. She was definitely playing some dominance games with me and I was doing my best to act like her partner so she'd act like mine. I tried to start some good sideways and that was when I felt like she finally started to settle. We squeezed over barrels (she is NOT a jumper!). We did a little falling leaf, circle with change of directions, stick to me, yo-yo and a bit of yield the fore and the hind.
Loma loved the circle game where I had Nina trot and canter when I trotted and cantered. I explained that it's a start to her mounted work - when I trot, you trot. When I canter, my horse should canter. Nina does great with that game.
I started her w/o tack and when she started to settle, I tacked her up with my western saddle. I had to put the saddle on her a few times before she would stand still for it. I continued to pull it off until she finally stood still the 4th or 5th time. Then we went into the round pen and warmed up with the saddle on.
My saddle has a lot of strings hanging down and it was windy. Nina was bothered and kicking at the strings. We played until I could get her to canter w/o bucking. That took about 15 mins. Then, we decided it was time to settle her down some and have Loma get on.
I felt very confident that the time was right and it was! She stood quietly while Loma got up and down, then bellied her, then swung a leg over. Each time she got up on her belly, I let Nina get very relaxed, then we'd walk a bit. In the end, Loma sat up straight and we rubbed Nina all over. She was relaxed and took a huge breath in and out. That was when I asked Loma to hop off and we were done.
All in all, a great start for a fantastic performance horse with a great future. I can't wait to see how she develops.