I saddled Griffin for the first time today! He has worn a surcingle maybe 4 or 5 times before over the course of the last 7 months, and the last 2 times were with a blanket under the surcingle. He has always accepted the surcingle without any concern and the saddle was the same way. He acted like he wasn't even wearing it, that's how unconcerned he was. I know he knew it was up there though because he did bite the right stirrup once. And the first time I swung it up on his back, he moved a step away as I swung it at him, but it landed on his back and he did not react further. The next couple of times I swung it up on his back, he was unconcerned. And he stood nicely while I fiddled with all the straps, got the cinch attached (I always store my saddles with the cinch removed), tightened the cinch, then attached the breast collar. I lunged him at a walk and briefly at a trot with it on (my roundpen is drifted deep with snow in spots, so I could only use 1/4 of it while I saddled him), then we left the pen for a walk down the road. The snow is too deep right now to walk through the woods. The road is a little snowy too, but he walks carefully and isn't spooky, so I figured we'd be okay. And there are bare spots in places, where I led him at a trot. He really paid the saddle no mind! He is so laid back. I am pretty sure that my difficulty with him will be getting good forward movement from him when ridden. He's not balky, but I think he'll see no need to go fast. Let's hope anyway! I like a nice laid back horse on the trail, but I also don't want to fight with him over increasing speed. I don't think that will be the case though...all the other horses I've trained are pretty good at responding to cues, so I think I might do an okay job at teaching it.
Doesn't he look handsome in a saddle?
My difficulty today was trying to get a nice picture of him from the side to show off his saddle. He really just wants to follow me when I back away from him. I tried lunging him at a walk but my rope was too short to get his whole body in the shot.
This was his prefered position...nose to me.
I finally did get a whole body shot once we got back to the shed. I had to tie him to do it!
Griffin needs to have his teeth checked. He has some lumps on the inside of his cheeks that I can feel and I think they are causing him to get food caught up alongside his teeth when he chews...at least that's what happens when I feed him treats. I think he has ulcers probably from sharp points on his molars. He may also still have some caps on his molars to shed. I couldn't feel any wolf teeth, but I was also trying to keep my fingers from accidently getting crunched in his molars, so I might have missed some. I am planning to try to get him in at the vet school in March so that I can have a teaching session on him. Floating teeth is definitely something I want to incorporate into my future work. Griffin will be fine until then. His teeth aren't causing him enough trouble to prevent him from getting "fluffy" this winter. :)