May 11, 2021
We have a scintillating coaches’ corner with Jec and Amy Skinner. Amy is a trainer and Best Horse Practices Summit presenter based in North Carolina. Here, the two discuss a saddling concern sent in by a listener in Michigan:
"When Bandit, a Missouri Foxtrotter, joined our little herd a few years ago, he showed us that he didn't like the saddle. I spent some time his first winter working on a sort of desensitizing: plopping the thing on him over and over until he gave no reaction. It could be that he was "trained" by someone strapping a saddle on him and letting him buck until he quit. Early on we reached his previous trainer who said that Bandit "had a mind of his own so you need to let him know who is in charge."
Whatever the case, I decided to go back and let him express what the problem was. Previous saddlings may have been "successful" because he would sort of check out with his eyes half-closed.
But later, when letting him explore more, we saw some pretty fierce biting and kicking, first at the saddle pad and then at the saddle..."
I think Art and our listeners will find excellent insight from this episode.
Even though this Coaches’ Corner is about saddling, it's also about seemingly isolated concerns -- maybe it’s saddling or being tied or hobbling or going in and out of gates.
We can often see that those bigger issues can be broken down to smaller concerns. Paying attention is key. When we observe and experiment with what helps, when we allow ourselves and our horses to make mistakes, progress often follows. By the way, I love mistakes. Being wrong is something I’m good at.
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