I haven't had a saddle on the goofball yet and decided it was about time to change that. I don't know why I haven't gotten around to it. He has been lunged in a surcingle with side reins jingling on his side. I have had saddle blankets over his head and a tarp over him. I wanted to make sure he was really mellow with new things before I got the saddle out. I figured he wouldn't care but I didn't want to take any chance that he would have a bad experience with something that will be such a big part of his life.
He was out all day with the horses he will soon bunk with at his new pasture running and playing so I figured he would be in a good mental space to listen. I don't ride western but all I had was the western saddle I use for beginners on Bre. I recently picked up a great little dressage saddle but I have been using it at Bre's barn.
I started out by setting the western saddle down in the round pen. I let him sniff everything and he decided the saddle pad tasted really good. He gave it a full on tongue bath. Mmmmm, Bre and Romeo sweat. Sounds yummy. I then put the saddle pad on his back, over his neck, and covered his face with it. His favorite part was when I covered his face because he got to smell the sweaty pad up close.
I decided to put the saddle right on without the pad for several reasons. One is that he wanted to eat the pad and which made the process of putting the saddle up complicated. The other is the fact that I wanted getting the saddle up to be a really smooth motion. I figured that would be harder if I was trying to straighten a pad. I am not very coordinated with western saddles. He was very excited about the saddle. Western saddles have delicious stirrups and I allowed him to mess with them. It was pretty funny watching him try (and quite successfully) to walk forward with the stirrup in his mouth.
We went for a little walk with some in hand trot. I held the stirrups out and let them fall on his sides. He didn't seem the least bit concerned about the whole process. Then I tied him up in his stall and left the saddle on while I picked his feet out. Happy mellow horse!!!
"Mmmmm this pad smells so yummy. "
"Something to chew on that goes everywhere with me!!"
"Look at me stand quietly in my stall like a grown up horse."
"Wait, can't be too grown up. Must eat stirrup first. "
"Hi!! I'm a baby!!"