Natural DORmanship-saddling

Now that your DOR has reasonable skill at groundwork, it is time to get them ready to ride. The first part of that step is teaching your DOR how to properly saddle you. Make sure to roll in the dirt or mud when you see the DOR get the saddle out. Rolling will ensure that the DOR takes time to groom you before putting on the saddle blanket. This behavior will need to be repeated until your DOR becomes trained/conditioned to groom you whether you are dirty or not.
Note: While the DOR will normally saddle you from the left side, it is important that you train them to saddle you from either side. This might come in handy if they have to saddle you on a narrow trail that is running along a cliff…hey it could happen.
Make sure that the DOR checks the saddle blanket for things that might poke you. You can do this by nosing the pad every time the go to place it on your back until they take a close look at it. Your DOR is going to be excited to ride, so this step is very important. Teach your DOR to put the saddle blanket well forward and pull it back toward your rear so the front of the pad rests just in front of the withers. You can do this by moving when your DOR goes to set the pad down, aligning it for them. You can use the method that I prefer “pick the blanket up off the ground” game, shake the blanket off until your DOR puts it on in the right place. Your DOR will soon find this game boring and will quit trying to play. If your blanket is too ugly or not big enough to show all the way around the saddle you will need to convince your DOR to get a new one. I have found that chewing a hunk off a corner of the pad works pretty well.
Make sure that your DOR lays the right stirrup and cinches over the saddle seat-that way they will not hit you when your DOR tosses the saddle on. Believe me they will toss the saddle until they learn some saddling finesse. I have my DOR trained to hook her stirrup to the horn and to buckle her cinches to the strap holder on the right side. I also have her trained to lift the saddle up and gently set it on my back-this is quite a feat for an old lady, her saddle weighs 45 pounds. Again, you will need to work with your DOR on appropriate saddle placement; the techniques used in the saddle pad lesson also will work well here.
You may need to assist your DOR in moving to the right side (offside) to lower the right stirrup and cinch; you can do this by tipping your head to make it easier to pass. You need to have your DOR check that the blanket is centered; this can be accomplished by stamping a hoof as if something does not feel quite right. Once the saddle is on the blanket, have your DOR lift up the front part of the saddle pad to create an air pocket between the blanket and your horse's withers. I got my DOR to do this by hunching up a bit.
The DOR now needs to move back to the left side; again, you may need to help them by tipping your head. Your DOR needs to reach under your belly for the front cinch. Standing still is the best way to help a nervous DOR through this process. The DOR needs to tighten the front cinch just enough so it is up against your belly, now would be a good time to take a deep breath after all who in their right mind wants to be instantly squeezed. If there is a back cinch, your DOR will need to fasten it after the front cinch is snug - the back cinch should be close to the your belly so it does not get caught on brush or branches, but should not be tight (your DOR’s hand should be able to fit flat between the cinch and your belly). Now you need to walk your DOR around to make it relax. Stop and have your DOR check the cinch to snug it up a bit. You can accomplish this by letting out all of the air you sucked it, that way when the DOR checks the cinch it will be loose. It is important that your DOR has the cinch tight enough; you do not want to look silly when they mount and roll the saddle under your belly. Rolling the saddle could also set your DOR training back for several days.
If your DOR is one of those “reef the poopy out of the cinch” the first time humans put an instant stop to it! It will not get any better and will only get worse. You will need to move to a level 3 correction immediately. I found that ‘marbles in my nose” and some hopping up and down is effective in making any DOR take their time in cinching.
Practice saddling with your DOR several times. You want them effective on both sides. After a few practices you can move on to teaching your DOR how to mount, we will cover that lesson tomorrow.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Rambling Woods said...

I hope you are keeping a good eye in your DOR Jack...I didn't know any of this so it is very interesting. Thanks for sharing Jack....

Andrea said...

I love to hear the horse's point of veiw. I always saddle from the right side, because I have breast collars and things hanging from the right. It's easier for me to swing and gently lay the saddle on from the opposite side. Fun post and I can't wait to read about mounting.

Amanda said...

I am going for a ride this AM I will try saddling from the other side. Annie won't care, she will be equally grumpy on either side.


Designed by Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates