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Lexy Nuesch Horsemanship | Nebraska Horse Trainer | LNH Logo

Hickory: November 3

Before this evening, this was not the update I expected to write!

This week, Hickory had grown quite quiet & confident in what I had been asking of him. I was so pleased & quite excited by how his demeanor had really changed. We continued to work on Round Penning, Desensitizing, Yielding the HQ & FQ, Flexing, Backing, Lunging Stages 1 & 2, Sending, & Circle Driving. I also introduced Throw to a Stop which he figured out in no time. On Monday, Hickory had his first official saddle, which went great! A little wide-eyed look initially, but no real tightness or reaction to the back cinch & zero buck (this came back to bite us a bit). From then on, we've been able to saddle near, & later in the week, tied to the trailer with confidence. We even wrapped up a session by yardlight & he was unfazed. Mid-week, I also introduced the snaffle, which he's done quite well with. A bit busy-mouthed briefly, but as he packed it around during our groundwork, he held it quiet & was quiet nearly immediately upon bridling the following two days. Things had been progressing nicely & on track to do his first ride this evening (Friday). However, he was a bit bothered by having a second person around once my husband walked in to help. I can typically expect this with most horses since it's typically just me around on a daily basis, so I have him spend some time rubbing on them & doing a bit of desensitizing from a distance. At the same time, I work on Flexing & other familiar exercises. After that, Hickory had lost that wide-eyed look & I felt we could continue as normal. Because my right ankle is still a bit sore, I've been using a mounting block to get on colts these first few rides so that I'm not having to push off a bunch with it from ground to saddle & can be most effective these first few rides. Hickory let me climb up the mounting block, flex to both sides with me above, & step on. He wasn't concerned in the slightest initially allowing me to rock back & forth in the saddle & rub on his head & neck. However, upon flexing him from right to left the first time, he took a small step, bumped into the mounting block & scared himself pretty well. He went from a quiet 2 year old ready for his first ride to a bronc & I was no match for his moves. Once he left me in the dirt, he continued around the round pen for a couple of laps. This is probably the number one reason that I actually don't mind in the slightest if a horse bucks during the first couple of saddles. It allows them to really get a feel for things & decide that's not really the route to go BEFORE they feel they need to react once I'm in the saddle. Up to this point, I've never had a horse go to bucking on the first rides. I had hoped to recollect & step back on, but it took a fair bit of time for him to lose that wide-eyed tight look. Tonight wasn't going to be the night to step back on, so I opted to put him through the Checking Around process, first to the tail, so that he would work through the feeling of being a bit restricted in his head & neck & learn to bring that energy down & soften laterally. We were able to find a good stopping point where his expression had softened.

We'll give it another go Sunday afternoon. My hope is that I can set him up to move away from the mounting block to where I can have Randy step in a set it outside as we've been doing for my other first rides. His initial response will tell me whether we should continue or whether I'll opt to lay him down before pursuing the first ride.

- Lexy Nuesch


Next week's update will be posted on Friday.

I do my best to get these updates posted in a timely manner, but it's not uncommon for me to be outside until after dark, depending on the weather, my schedule, & who gets worked when so updates will sometimes be posted quite late in the evening. Don't be alarmed if you don't see your update right away. In rare cases, I may have to push them until the next morning, but I'll reach out & let you know if so.


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