To start the lesson off for the day I wanted to get his attention focused on me and remind him he can trust me as his leader before I introduce new objects. You can see in the picture above his lunging is getting much more relaxed with his head in a lower position and he has good forward energy. Make sure you lunge both directions and work on yielding his hip with pressure and he turns his head and faces you.
When you sack out a horse or introduce new things you will want to introduce them to your horse from both sides of his body. Try to get to wear you can rub the objects ALL OVER his body. His legs, tail, stomach, head and nose. Any part of his body you can rub and get him used to the objects is great so he doesn't spook someday when something has touched his leg or blown up by his head.
Below are pictures of me rubbing him with a plastic bag. I used to lunge him with the bag tied to the end of my clinician stick so he's been introduced to it before. I recommend introducing it on the end of the stick first because it able you to be a safe distance from the horse at first in case he kicks at it or spooks and jumps sideways. Once he comfortable with the stick and bag, remove it and use your hand to rub it all over his body. I don't have pictures of it all, but I am now able to rub the bag over every inch of his body, including his eyes and nose and stomach area.
With every session, start hanging a saddle on the fence where you will be working with your horse. This will help him get used to the new smell and sight of it before it's introduced to his back. In the next couple sessions include the saddle pad so he stays used to something being up on his back and it staying there. You could also incorporate the surcingle again a couple times to get him used to the feel of cinch, as well.
Other objects to play around with in introducing them to your horse could include a empty feed back, the Velcro sound of splint boots and bell boots and putting them on and taking them off. Tarps are a good one also even if it's just walking over one (make sure the sides are held down with posts or something heavy to prevent it from blowing up onto the horse or catching his foot). Sweatshirts or jackets that you could be putting on and taking off while on your horse should be used also. Anything you can think of that wont hurt your horse can be used.
Sacking out a horse means getting him used to different things around him. This could entail just taking a walk down the driveway and letting him take in some different sites and smells, too.
Come on back for the next stage to the 21 Steps to Broke... the next BIG one... 1st Saddling!! I'm excited for it! Could be some bucks and kicks to go along with it, but it's a huge step for horses to trusting us to strap something onto their back.
I recommend skipping the cinch right away. Get your horse used to having a saddle placed on his back (not thrown and plopped--be gentle), and accepting the weight. Only once he's standing quietly and maybe even turns his head and smells it and relaxes would I start cinching up. Do this gently also, you don't want to spook or excite him by cinching it up hard and fast. That could cause accident. Lunge him around to get him used to it- BE CAREFUL because this could lead to some kicks and bucks and they don't always care if you next to them or in their way if their more concerned about getting what's on them off. Once he relaxes and moves and stands quietly while carrying the saddle, I would undo the cinch and remove the saddle. Praise him. Then repeat. Only do this until he's quietly standing for you while you saddle and then moving out nicely, then I would unsaddle, praise him and let the session end on a good note.
Any questions or comments are welcome and I'd love to hear from you!!
Ride on back up the trail for more articles to come!