I used to be very laisser faire about her and George - if she wanted to do things in a more traditional way, then it was up to her. But now .... not so much.
She tied George up to a fence post. Fine. Then it came time to put the saddle on. Now in the past, George was rather grouchy about having his girth done up, and my daughter used to smack him and tell him to cut it out. So I said, "If he gets pissy about having his girth done up, you can't smack him. You should just wait until he's ready for you to try again." This advice was met with counter-advice to the effect that I should butt out and mind my own business. (Although, to be fair, couched in more tactful terms.) So I did.
George is very fond of his Girl, and as I watched from a safe distance, I could see that he was quite content and had no intention of becoming grouchy at all. My daughter, for her part, thanked him nicely whenever he let her do something.
My daughter vetoed my suggestion of using a halter and rope instead of a bridle. He fussed a little at first, but we gave him a treat to chew, and he made the best of it. Mounting was less welcome to George than I would have liked. He moved out of position once or twice, but my daughter swung herself into the saddle from the picnic bench a couple of feet away.
As they set off down the drive, I called after them (I couldn't help myself): "It's all about the dialog! Remember! He wants to cooperate - he wants to help you out!" George has revealed enough of himself that I could say this not as mere wishful thinking, but with absolute conviction.
|Rein too tight, but I think she's turning. George maintaining positive attitude!|
They rode around the hay field a few times, and I was happy to see my daughter allowing George to stop and look whenever he wanted to. Many times they paused, and George stared off into the distance. They both looked relaxed.
When they returned, I said - "You guys looked good out there." My daughter replied, "He was being really nice."
Of course he was.