Since Rodney appears to get anxious when I lead him toward the ring, we have been breaking the process into (microscopically) small steps. In the current exercise, we walk over to the mounting block, wearing our bridle like a big horse. He stands next to it. I sit on it. We wait until he takes a deep breath and decides the sky is not falling – today. Then we go home. If Husband is around to pick up the pieces, I will stand up on the mounting block, lean over Rodney’s back, put weight in him, wave my hands, all the things you do to (re)acclimate a horse to the idea of a predator landing on his back. While doing this, I wear my helmet. Mind you, I am still light years from actually getting ON the horse. However, when the time comes, I want the sensory stimuli to be the same for all involved.
For the last year, my helmet has lived in my lesson bag. Several times recently, I have looked in the bag and wondered, ‘Where on earth is my helmet? Oh, it’s at the barn. How weird.’