Time to saddle up.
Saddle all set up for Opal to see.
With as well as Opal did the other day having something (me) over her back, I decided today we would see how she would do with my saddle. I set it up for her to see on my saddle rack while I groomed her. She didn't seem to mind it and was willing to sniff it.
Ok, this thing isn't so bad.
Then I took the fluffy cinch and rubbed it around her belly. She didn't mind that either.
Letting Opal feel the cinch.
I had a willing volunteer today, Sarah who is Gypsy's and Satin's owner. Sarah held Opal for me while I approached with the saddle. I sometimes forget how much heavier my western is compared to my hunt seat saddle. I approached slow, letting Opal see what I was doing, but after a few moments she let me put it up on her back, she then moved quickly away from me and the saddle came with me. I talked to her, Sarah gave her some carrots, Opal didn't object to that part. I tried again and Opal was wiling to let it settle on her back. I let her stand there for a few moments before hooking up all the straps and letting the stirrups down. I took up the cinch slowly, she didn't mind. Once it was all hooked up, Sarah took her for a walk while I took pictures. It's a little easier to get pictures when you have help. (THANK YOU SARAH)
Opal walking and listening to the saddle. It has a few squeaks.
I then took Opal in the round pen to let her trot some with the saddle on her back. Not only would it move with her, but the saddle wouldn't get off her back, and the stirrups would move as well. Horses being a prey animal don't really like things on their back. Think of the saddle like a cougar, its on their back, grabs hold and is hard to get off. Some horses take to it easily, others fight or flight instinct kicks in and they go bucking or kicking around trying to get it off. Opal took to it easily even in the round pen.
After a few rounds each direction I asked Sarah to hold Opal one more time while I took the saddle off. Opal stood still for that as well. She's a champ. I'm impressed each day with how willing her attitude is and how calm her mind is.