fear of tack built up or bond
When i first got Star i was 7 years old, i got her from the reading sales for £15 because she was skinny, abused and had been abandoned by her old owners. My mum wasnt exactly happy about this (because she doesnt like horses) but i keep her at my friends yard and pay for her by myself.
I spent a year working with her on the ground... Making her better, And gaining her trust. she was much bigger than me at this time but from the second i brought her i knew we would be best friends, by next summer she would follow me up and down the lane, over jumps and arround the yard. SO i thought this is the perfect time to start riding her...
i spent the next few months sitting on her with just a rug on and laying over her back while she walked round the field, she was fine.. eventually i got a saddle on her, we would walk for hours together in the woods just me and her getting used to the feel of tack on her back. again she was fine..
I started riding her bareback just down the lane once a week, she enjoyed being out so for my 9th birthday i asked for my own saddle, when i got it i let her sniff it.. knowing this was the big moment of truth.. I had a ride round the block quickly then did a bit of t-touch to calm her down before tacking her up.
She didnt move one bit just stood there sleepily while i tacked her up and got my hat and body protector on.. she was a little angel following me round the school then i tried to get on, I put my foot in the stirrup and gently swung my leg over. i sat there for a while stroking and talking to her and she didnt seem to mind one bit. i did this everyday for 2 weeks.
When i was sitting on her in the school she was more relaxed than she had been the past few weeks so i asked her to walk on (with my voice) she did as she was told but panicked! i fell off, reassured her and got back on, stood there for a while calming her down then got off and put her to bed
She did this to me eveyday no matter how much i worked with her from the ground there was something she didnt like about the tack...
up untill 3 years ago (when i was 11) i had to ride bareback. i didnt mind, but it ment i got some strange looks when i was cantering out on hacks. when i finally got star being ridden in tack i had to have someone else riding while i walked next to her for reassurance, those 4 years of ground work and bareback riding ment Star trusted me more than she had ever been able to trust anyone. Its an amazing feeling to know that you are your horses best friend :)
I have never found out what she didnt like so much about the tack, but now after 4 years of endless work together were riding happily with or without tack and have started competing.. shes proving to be a very good jumping horse :)
Thanks for reading! (sorry it was so long :L) x