Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Lesson #201: Drunkie Pony

Writing this post is exciting for me because this lesson marked a milestone for both +ADW and myself. Ariel and Hank were both showing so I asked to be surprised with our mounts. J brings in two new geldings who recently joined the herd. One belongs to the rider I rode with last lesson and the other is a new pony meant for beginners... I got the pony (*squeeee!* I love ponies!!). Indie is a gentle pudgy sable coloured (that's like a medium brown? I'm not well versed with equine coat colours) pony with a voluminous mane.

It's the first time we got on horses where we know little background. Who knew if they'd be real jerks or spooky and skittish. In addition, without understanding their training, we didn't know what they'd be capable of doing. One of the things discovered so far is that both are wary of the mounting block. I was successful to get Indie to the mounting block so I took that small victory as a win.

First Impressions
Indie is happy with a light hand and he seemed eager to walk forward but appeared tense about having me on his back. He also required little leg and responded as soon as I applied my leg. I was asked to get him off the rail so he wasn't using it as a crutch in place of listening to my directions. Let me tell you... this pony walks like he's drunk!! LOL. He's fine to bend and turn but walk a straight line? GOOD LUCK. Without trying, we ended up doing some hind in, shoulder-fore, leg yields... It was hilarious to watch, I'm sure, but my legs were constantly trying to remind him to walk straight.

Sewing Machine Trot
His trot is bouncy like a sewing machine and he speeds around the arena when I use too much hand. Needless to say, I am a bit of a hot mess up there leaning forward and bouncing on his back trying to sort us out. There are moments of being in sync and I'm told we move well together when it's right. After getting sorted out, we're directed to go over trot poles and I have to man-handle him to stay centred (and not avoiding the entire exercise!) and he even stopped once as if to say "what the heck do you want me to do!?". J said that greenies are generally even more wriggly.

A small X was set up and at the start of the lesson, I really was not feeling so confident about getting over it. Literally, we're talking like maybe 4-6" from the ground and some horses will consider that height an insult to their abilities and will trot over it or plain ol' bowl through it. But, after success with the trot poles, I decide to go for it. I mean with such a small pony, the fall wouldn't be far and we seem to be starting to understand one another. Another win when we both get over a few times with success.

Getting Balanced
Mid-way through the lesson, the other horse starts getting unruly and even J has trouble with him when he hops on, to "win the fight". Indie and I move onto the canter now. With minimal expectations, I tell him to get into a canter and guess what? It's not too shabby either!! It's no Grand Prix Dressage display but the correct lead was picked up (though at times I wasn't too sure, with that much mane covering his shoulder) and we went round a few times. Poor pony is not fit enough to sustain it long so we go half way around and putter out.

Fight Club!
After working on all that, Indie starts defying my asks, pulls at the reins, backing up, shaking his head, stopping and all that fun stuff *sigh*. This might be the most exercise he's gotten and he's starting to protest to the amount of work and you can see he's quite sweaty too. I likened him to the chubby guy who has done for his first work out, despite not wanting to. J tells me that I just need to keep him moving forward at my insistence, regardless of gait. Thanks to Ariel, I'm no stranger to a cranky horse who is trying to take over so the 'fight' ensues... hopping, reverse, refusals... we weren't sure if I'd finish walking the arena!

To reward him for complying for our awesome small victory, I hop off and we walk the arena to cool him off. He's actually a little pushy (needy) and I have to remind him to respect my space and by the end, it's not half bad and he follows me around with his head lowered and I am able to keep my space!!

6 comments:

  1. I love ponies too! Mostly because, as you mentioned, I am closer to the ground (I broke my arm falling from 17+hh) and when they act up I'm not as intimidated. They have a lot of sass though! I wonder what leads ponies to be sassier than their larger counterparts?

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    1. lol i wonder too! they're often just more opinionated little buggers!

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  2. That's awesome - it must feel awesome to ride a new horse and really feel like you know what you are doing up there! :-)

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    1. yup, thanks! it just confirms for me that i have been progressing and i know a lot more than i did a year ago :)

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