07 April 2011

Introduction to the Bosal

Two rides in the round pen and I want out of there. I think Compa does, too. Today was ride number three, so to prepare for the great outdoors, I put Compa in the bosal.

First though, I forgot to cover the big mower. The tarp was laying on the wash rack, which is in back of the barn through the isle way. After I saddled, we headed out the back and Compa snorted at the tarp. It was, after all, not where it usually is. So there he was, confronted by two strange things - the tarp and the mower.

I noticed during saddling that Compa was locking up in his stifles again. I knew I'd have to take it easy today to accommodate him. As we walked out together, the poor guy saw the tarp and mower and then locked up. There wasn't much he could do, so instead of getting all upset about the new stuff, he lowered his head and sniffed around. When his stifles popped and he could move again, what did he do? He chose to go forward over the tarp. It was all bunched up into peaks and valleys and still he walked right over it.

You all know the sound it makes, that first step on heavy plastic. So many horses experience brain freeze or they hit their panic button when they hear that sound. Compa just marched across this bunched up heavy duty tarp, turned around and looked at me. Then his nose made a bee line for the mower. He snorted it high and low, inspecting as much as he could without moving his feet - he was locked up again.

He's seen me on this equipment many times. He's been curious about it when I've driven around the pasture and has trotted along after the drag, trying to check it out. Getting up close and personal with the parked and not at all noisy, Grasshopper G2 calmed him right down. He popped out of his lock up and I sent him over the tarp and between me and the mower several times. When boredom set in, we headed out to the play pen.

I didn't do much prep work, because the locking continued. Compa was super quiet and attentive, so I fitted the bosal and had him carry it around for a bit. He was fascinated with the heel knot bumping his chin and he played his lower lip over the mohair tassel, like a kid playing with a zipper tab. The weight of the bosal caused Compa to tuck his nose and he learned very quickly to carry his head vertically to rid himself of the pressure. He had one of those fascinating "ah HA!" moments, when he realized that his tucked nose caused a perfectly balanced bosal, which caused him to lift his back and come under behind. Walaa, no more locking stifles!


I had him move around me in a very forward walk and then a nice rhythmic trot. I checked both directions. No locking, still tucking, back up, hindquarters under = looking good.

I climbed the rail and asked him to come get me. He was so willing and the ride went nicely - but it was very short. I wanted to preserve the idea of the lifted back and soft poll. That accomplished, I got off and put him away.

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