Well things changed when we brought her home. She was REALLY jumpy, probably due to new surroundings and all of that. And then came the bucking.... We started out doing a ton of ground work and desensitizing. We discovered that her response to anything uncomfortable/scary was to have a full out bucking fit. And let me tell you, this mare can BUCK hard, she gets some good air. Part of the issue I think was the back cinch, so I just took it off to simplify things which helped a lot but she still had these random tantrums. I'll be honest, there's a few times I nearly gave up on her.
With lots of ground work we've gotten her to the stage where she really thinks about things vs. just being reactive and bucking. She's so calm to work with on the ground, you can do anything to her, attach stuff to the saddle etc and she doesn't get spooked by it. Progress! So once she got to that stage where I could do anything to her on the ground, I figured it was time to start playing around with getting on her. I started out by just lying across her back, which she wasn't too sure about at first. Then when she was ok with that, we moved on to lying across her back and getting her to walk forward, doing some steering, halts etc.
She'd been doing so good with that I figured it was time to swing a leg over. The self preservation in me said "Use your english saddle, it'll be easier to get out of, just in case!". I actually feel a little more confident in my english saddle. The first time on I had a friend on the ground holding onto Shadow. She didn't seem to mind at all, so we tried some walking and that went well. We did that again and all was great. A few weeks ago I brought her in and did all the ground work with her, didn't bat an eye, she was so calm I figured, today is the day. I swung a leg over without anybody hanging onto her and we went for a couple of walking laps around the arena. What an awesome feeling!!! But as they say "Two steps forward, one step back"..... Sunday I was hopeful that I'd be able to get on her again. Well it was not to be. I did our regular ground routine and then went to laying across her back doing a bit of walking. First time was ok, second time not so much. We walked 1/4 of the way across the arena and I slid off because the saddle had shifted sideways a little bit. Just as I was thinking "What a good girl", she blew up into some pretty massive bucks! It seemed SO random, at first I couldn't figure out what had caused it. Then it hit me, it must be the saddle being off center. I decided to test that theory after she'd calmed down, I grabbed the saddle and pulled it towards me and yup! Off she went again! At least all was not lost, I did figure out what the root of the issue was. Now to figure out how to get her to not react like that. I'm going to try stretching her legs out after girthing up and making sure no hair is caught/pulling anywhere around the girth. And maybe a fleece girth cover is in order. I guess we'll find out, trial and error.
This was taken literally seconds before she had her little bucking fit on the weekend.
One of these days I'll get this mare broke! I think she'll be a really neat horse once I do!