Saturday, March 1, 2014

First ride in the hackamore!

Last week I got my horsehair mecate and so thought, what the heck, and after a fun trail ride with friends on Sunday, tried Mac in the hackamore on Monday.

I didn't know what to expect and was a bit nervous about it. I've ridden him in a bitless bridle before and he's been very good, but this piece of equipment is so new to me that I'm afraid of 1) ruining the lovely piece of art that is the bosal, and/or 2) ruining my horse. But, I'm so eager to at least try that I thought I'd do just a short 20 minutes or so of just walking and playing around.

After getting the mecate tied on, I took Mac out to the arena leading him with the rope halter and bringing the hackamore along so I could do some ground work first. Mac seemed in a fine mood, so I put the hackamore on, made a small adjustment to the length of the hanger, and then walked around, leading him. He was very responsive right away. Hmmmm...interesting. Then something in the bushes got him going a little bit and I had a quick decision to make. Whereas I may usually get those feet moving so he can both blow it out and I can get his attention back, I didn't want to do that with the hackamore. There's really not much holding it on his head, we're both not used to it, and I didn't want to get into any trouble. So I quickly decided that I'd focus on my own energy, talking to him, and asking him for little flexions with his head and lowering his head from pressure on the poll. It worked and he mentally came back to me. We walked around a little more, did some more flexions and basic leading exercises, and since he seemed to be in a good mood, I decided to hop on.

We pretty much just did the same thing under saddle as we did from the ground. Small circles, flexions, bending, transitions, change of direction, moving the shoulder/moving the haunches, and finished with a little backing. In all, we worked for about 20 minutes.

The bosal needs to be shaped to his face, as there's too much of a gap on the sides, as you can see here:

But he looks pretty handsome, doesn't he?!

I ordered him a black saddle pad that has inserts so we'll see how he likes that. Lots to update in the coming week!

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