Our weather has been perfect for working with horses and Darby and I have been busy. There are so many things a young horse has to learn, such as:
Standing in crossties
Picking up his feet for me.
Picking up his feet for the farrier (seems like this would be the same, but it is not.)
Loading on the trailer.
Being okay with Buckles going away from the barn.
Being okay with going away from Buckles.
Leading at the walk. And whoa. Whoa is good.
Leading at the trot without dancing on the leader.
Having someone stand on a chair next to you.
Having someone stand on a chair and band your mane.
Having someone stand on a chair and lay across your back.
Having someone jump from chair up onto your back.
Wearing a saddle.
Wearing a saddle and discovering that putting your head down to eat grass makes the girth tighten around belly.
Discovering that crow-hopping does not help tight girth problem.
Discovering that grass is too good to worry very long.
Learning hoses are not snakes.
Learning baths are annoying but not painful.
Learning baths while eating grass are worth it.
Finding out crossties are good for holding your head while sleeping.
Realizing ribbons seem scary at first:
But finding once again that Mr. Buckles can make it all better:
Darby goes to his first breed show next Thursday. He will be shown in-hand at the walk and trot and judged on his conformation and his movement. I am thinking positive and thus fully expect him to be the grand champion and be festoomed with a ribbon such as my home-made version that we have been practicing with. Can you tell it's Christmas ribbon?
We have done a lot of neat things and a lot of learning has taken place. Most days I forget who is the teacher and who is the student. He is so smart and willing and he eats up attention and every day I learn how easy it is to teach a horse who was bred to be smart and who has been well-handled since birth and not only trusts but genuinely likes people.
I'm writing all this today because I want to remember that today was the day I first hopped all the way up on to Darby's back, swung my other leg over, and sat astraddle him. For two weeks or so, I've been getting him used to the chair in his stall, then me standing on the chair, then me leaning over his back, and then me hopping a little onto his back so my weight was on him. Every step of the way he has been curious but calm so today I just hopped up, swung my leg over, and sat there petting him. I wrapped my arms around his neck and slid down. I did this four times, two from the right, two from the left. It did not bother him at all.
He is awesome.