For some, getting back in the saddle after six months off is intimidating. My intimidation has been writing on my blog, thus resulting in a six month hiatus. I wasn't sure how to jump back in. So here it goes.
Currently I am working with Jack and Jill, Cleveland Bay-Saddlebreds. They share the same sire as my adored Cleveland Bay-Thoroughbred, Watson. Jack and Jill are four and five years old respectively. They came to me with minimal handling. Plus they have never left their farm and the herd they considered family.
Alert and focused on their new surroundings, their body language told me these horses were going to need a training program specially designed for them. This program would consist of focusing on "exposure" to life and teaching them how to react in new situations.
I would keep them together in a small secure paddock with their halters on for the next few days. The weather was mild and better to be out in, rather than confined to a stall in a scary new place. They would soak in the new smells of other animals, hear the movement of horses nearby and get used to the rhythms of a new farm. I would greet them many times a day in order for them to get comfortable with me.
Even though these horses wore halters, they did not know how to safely have one put on or even have a person walk up to them. They did not know what brushing was orany simple things we take for granted. I was there to introduce them to the world of humans. It was up to me to convince them we can have a lot of fun together. Jack and Jill had never been mishandles but rather they just had a routine that didn't involve much hands-on human interaction.