Ah, tack shopping. As they say, buying the horse is just a start.
So let's SHOP!
I only have a one ear headstall and TR said a one ear headstall isn't a good choice for a young horse.
So here's Smokey's new headstall. And I ordered a Myler bit, which is what he's in now.
I ordered them both from Half Circle, where the prices were very good. Hopefully the quality is too. You can visit their website by clicking the picture.
It looks like my saddle is fitting him (it's too small for Stephanie, so it's mine and she's looking for a gaited or other option), although I may check other saddles I have to make sure it isn't my imagination/wishful thinking. I wish we had those "naked" trees again. Maybe I can find a local saddle fitter that doesn't try to put every horse in a QH tree...
Last night after the kids did their riding, I went to get Smokey. I love how he walks right up to me and drops his head in the halter.
Smokey and I worked on walk trot transitions in the round pen. By the end I just "thought" walk and we were down, "thought" trot and we were up to a trot. And I'm talking within a single pace.
Pretty amazing. By the end we also came to a halt with just an exhale and deep seat.
We worked on figure 8s, because steering is still loose. So we rode figure 8s until they actually looked like balanced figure 8s.
Back at the barn there was a brief moment when Smokey thought the salt block on the way to the wash rack was out to get him. He sniffed at it, raised his head and gave it a "what the heck" look. Then he just stood still, refusing to go forward, so I did the post routine until he moved, then, looking at me, he took a step. I lessened the pressure, and in we went.
I'm enjoying finding out what works best with him, what kinds of things concern him, and where we need to work. But his willingness to try and innate curiosity is just lovely as we go along together.
Tonight or tomorrow we'll work on steering in the arena, and continue our walk trot work. Friday morning it'll be a trail ride.
And, in a few weeks, I'll schedule my next riding lesson. Hopefully the cowboy will be available to whip me into shape.