I spent 3 hours with Tina today. With the relatives in town and graduation, birthday, anniversary festivities, I had to put horses on hold for 4-5 days. So, today I had big plans to play catchup - specifically with Tina. I committed to 7 days of JUST ground work and confidence building. We did our 7th session last weekend and today I wanted to get back to working on mounted sessions. Tina has come back around so beautifully. She's regained the confidence she had and then some. She's calmer and braver. She's learning so well (she can only do that if she's not afraid). She's trying new things and showing curiosity. She's ready for mounted work.
We started tacked and ready to go. We played for quite a while first. I started teaching her to sidle over to a mounting block - a great skill for any horse to have. Today, I built on that and also desensitived her to my foot in the stirrup with a ton of stimulation. I wiggled, poked, prodded, etc with my foot in the stirrup until the flinching was gone and she relaxed. I layed over her and made sure she wasn't flinchy on the off-side, the flank, etc... She was quite relaxed - like she was when I first started her.
I decided to have Chrissy help by holding the lead line of my rope hack while I mounted and rode. This way I have reins and Chrissy can help disengage the hind if things get rough. I mounted repeatedly and she was calm and relaxed. She actually started to nap a little! This pleased me tremendously. I swung a leg over and sat on her back and sat for minutes at a time. She didn't do a ton of blowing, which shows me that she wasn't holding back or showing right-brained introversion. She was truly calm and ok. I must admit that I have to learn to trust her and this was a positive step. It was insanely windy and in the past I wouldn't have bothered even trying to mount on her on a windy day. All things considered, we've made huge progress together.
Chrissy and Cowboy had a great day too. Chrissy is starting to work on her bareback riding so she hopped on and we talked about her seat and how to achieve balance. I believe this was really her first time focusing on this and there's so much to learn from riding bareback! Good for her. She said she liked it better than riding in the saddle. I agree!
I spent a little time near the end of the day on Z bareback. We rode around the property and I tried to make it enjoyable for her by letting her stop and graze often and for long durations. I just wanted to hang out on her back. Afterwards, I hopped off and we did a short liberty session in the round pen. For the first time, I asked for the spin at liberty and wow!!! I got several beautiful spins in both directions! I've been building this maneuver online and just whimsically decided to test it. How impressive that she was willing and able! Her Spanish Walk is beautiful too. We really need to film! I'm excited to see where we are and how far we've come.