Backing and Climbing


I got on Nibbles for the fourth time last night. I’ve only been on her in a stall because I have yet to have an assistant on the ground. This was the first time I got on her in the bridle instead of the hackamore.
photo (4)Nibbles was a little worried last night. The rest of the horses were galloping around her field because the neighbor was dragging his field. At the farm I board at, there are a total of 5 horses and a donkey all turned out together in a herd. They all get along really well and, considering how much I’ve been working with Nibbles lately, it hasn’t been so much of an issue when I grab her. Her disappearance plus the tractor next door sent them zooming around.

On alert but still listening, I decided she was safe to get on. I always take my time, lean over and rub her all over before I ever swing my leg over her back. For the second time, I asked her to walk in circles with me up. I’m not sure of the stall’s actual measurements but suffice it to say that walking a 15.1 hand Arabian in a circle without banging your stirrup on the wall takes some focus.

I have been using a mounting block to get on Nibbles. I like using them to save my horse’s backs. Because I was without help, I couldn’t take the mounting block out of the stall once I was on. See where this is going? Nibbles was happy to do some circles and the lateral bending we’ve done in-hand prepared her well for me gently using an opening rein.

After about the third circle, we got really close to the wall. I’ve intentionally banged my stirrups on things to desensitize her and she has yet to react to it- but with greenies, you never know. So I asked her to come away from the wall while she was circling. You can imagine she had to change her balance in that tiny space which put us very close to the mounting block. Still calm, Nibbles’ front leg kicks the mounting block. Okay, no big deal.

Assuming she’d veer away out of self/leg preservation, I didn’t correct her. Nibbles took this to mean I wanted her to do what she was doing so she stood on the mounting block. Laughing, I nudged her forward and she proceeded to stand with her back foot resting on the mounting block. At this point, I just praised her and hopped off to remedy the situation.

It has been awfully nice to work with a horse who for the most part takes everything in stride. Nibbles is naturally confident and her confidence and curiosity has only grown the more I’ve taught her.

My sister will be here on Saturday. Let the picture taking begin!



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