Today was the first time I have ridden Sabumi unsupervised. I was actually very ready and wasn't nervous at all! I made sure to keep my cell phone on me, of course!
He was a bit of a pain to bridle, but not too bad. I think he just needs to test every once in a while. Grooming has been faster lately since I winterized his mane and tail. The best way to grow a mane and tail longer is to stop brushing it. Brushing pulls out and breaks off hairs. So, I braided his mane into about 10 braids secured with rubber bands. I redo his braids about once a week, or as often as needed. For his tail, I braided the whole thing and stuffed it into a sock that I had split. I cut the top part of the sock straight down almost to the heel. This way there is a pouch at the foot and two flaps at the top. I stuffed his braid in and tied it through the braid under the tailbone. I probably wont have to redo that but every 2-4 weeks. This will hopefully leave him with a nice long tail and mane come spring! Truth be told, he has great hair and if it never got longer or thicker, I couldn't care less!
When we were tacked up and ready to ride I walked Sabumi up to the pasture, held him while I undid the gate and walked him through, redid the gate and mounted up. He was a perfect gentleman. I have to say, he was very well trained on gate manners before I got him. He knows to back up if you need to open it towards him, he walks calmly through narrow gates, he turns and faces you and waits for the gate to be closed. These things make my life very easy! I was a bit wary about mounting him without John holding my offside stirrup, but everything went very well! The gate being closed signified that there were probably cows about. I was on the look out and discovered that the back gate was open between the cows and us and there was a guy mending fences in the pasture. So, the cows hadn't wandered over yet but they will probably be around tomorrow! We rode for about an hour and mostly walked. We did some trotting and a little cantering and he was good. Sabumi was a bit spooky at first, watching every shadow and tire rut- lest they should attack. After a while he calmed down and I pretty much let him explore. He tends to enjoy walking in the really tall grass. I enjoy that too. After we were done, I dismounted and undid and redid the gate again. It is really tight and Sabumi was really patient. It is a barbed wire gate on split wood with a yellow chain at the top. I hope to be able to open and shut gates while mounted someday, but this gate took both hands to open and shut, so we probably won't start gate training on this one! How do you train a horse to open a gate while riding?
Would you say Sabumi is broke to ride now? What does it take to go from green broke to just a regular old riding horse? I am aware that he will probably never be dead broke, as most Arabians never are!