Here’s one of my summer projects:
Ripple Effect — the first foal born here at In the Night Farm — will turn five this year! She has a lot of maturing to do (Barbs really blossom around age 7-8), but she’s more than ready to start on some serious training.
I worked with her quite a bit last year, mostly on the ground, and even backed her once or twice before the winter snows arrived. This spring, we’re picking up almost where we left off, reviewing the basics like giving to pressure, tacking up, and ground driving.
Ripple is such a sweet, inquisitive thing that she’s a pleasure to handle. She’s also quite athletic and forward, which I hope will lead to a mount that’s eager to explore miles of endurance trail at her smooth and groundcovering trot.
On the downside, she still gets anxious when led away from the farm. She also tends to forget about the saddle early in a lesson, then buck when she realizes that something is clinging to her back. Interestingly, she’s easy to pull out of that buck with a voice cue or shake of the lunge line. I also find that walking her through some circles right after tacking up re-familiarizes her with the sight and sensation of the saddle moving on her back, and she relaxes quickly.
Here are a few photos I took last weekend while trotting her around and letting her deal with the creak and swing and slap of tack. (Never mind the saddle placement and fit; I was experimenting with my old, still-beloved Stonewall, with dubious results.) I think this is a horse that will particularly benefit from having odd objects, like raincoats and empty milk jugs, tied to the saddle while we work on various things. I want to desensitize her somewhat, as well as teaching her to listen even when she’s anxious.
Ripple Effect, 2006 Barb filly (Jack’s Legacy x Alternating Current)