I have more thoughts about the custom saddle to discuss but first I have to share some happy news about Apollo…
Let me back up a little bit!
I’ve owned Apollo for 10 years. Sporadically throughout that time he’s been hard to catch. I think once a horse learns that behavior it will always sort of be in there. He had very little contact with humans in his first 8 years of life so it’s not exactly shocking. It’s kind of his “go-to” if I’m not very consistent in my riding schedule or if our communication has broken down in the saddle. Also if I’m in a huge rush or very stressed out he senses that and runs away from me and the dark rain cloud over my head. I’ve learned a lot of catching horses, keeping emotions in check, bribery (hah) and horse behavior from his hard to catch habit – so part of me is grateful for that.
When he got back from training with RK he was pretty much the worst he’d ever (except for that one time that it took me like 7 hours to catch him…). Shortly after he returned I broke my nose. I was extremely crabby and in pain. I decided that catching him was not an urgent issue, although I did manage to get a leather halter onto him eventually. I kept the leather halter on longer than I normally would have because I just because I knew my stress levels were out of whack and I still wanted to be able to grab him for health check/grooming/flymask/flyspray reasons at the very least.
He's been great in my lessons with ST and really seems to respond well to her suggestions for us
A few weeks ago I finally decided that we could ditch the leather halter for good.
The most I’ve ever gotten from him is that he’ll see me and walk over. 90% of the time he just stares at me and waits for me to come over. I give him a cookie right after I put his halter on to re-inforce that having your halter put on is pretty much the greatest. When the baby horses moved into his pasture he’d sometimes walk over (and receive a cookie) but he would never leave the herd and follow us in.
And what did he do on Tuesday?
He followed me in with Henry.
Henry was not a fan tho
I was only planning to catch Henry because he had a saddle fitter appointment and I only had one halter. I figured he’d follow us halfway and then turn around. Nope he came to the gate. So I caught him and gave him a cookie. He came in supervised the saddle fitter appointment.
This year has not been my favorite so far but I am taking this as a breadcrumb that I'm finally on the right path with Apollo. So that's my happy news :) Maybe it's not awesome satin but it's a pretty huge win!