All My Equines Accomplished Things

Friday was a day of adventure for all my equine companions, each more successful than the last. So we will start with the least accomplished and move our way up.

Pony Man

When I went to my lesson on Friday, I loaded up Pony Man and took him with me. He paused to look in the trailer (something he’s only been in once, three years ago when I picked him up), considered it, and then moved on in. I did not take into account that ponies take up room, so there was a moment when I was wedged in the trailer between the pony and the divider. Luckily Pony Man took this in stride, and didn’t take the opportunity to escape.

I took him on this field trip to have my trainer evaluate him to determine what he is.

Definitely a pony, although perhaps annoyed because I wrapped him up in a blanket and tied a bow on him.
Definitely a pony, although perhaps annoyed because I wrapped him up in a blanket and tied a bow on him.

He went in the round pen at my trainer’s farm and ran in circles for an hour and a half, crying his little heart out. The flock of barn girls went to visit him, but he was too shy to come up to them. I had a tender moment with him when I came to retrieve him, and he recognized me and hurried to meet me at the gate. We cuddled, and as we walked back to the trailer, he pressed his little body against me for comfort, resulting in me swatting him because the dang pony must weigh like 350lbs and that’s a lot of weight to be pressing on me.

The official evaluation – He’s a nice pony, but he needs to see the world. He’s scared of too much. Plans are now in progress for my sweet little man to go out to see the world. But what if all the other ponies are mean to him? I don’t know how I’ll be able to let him out of my sight!

When we left, the little pony climbed right back on the trailer with no hesitation. Such a good pony… just thinking about leaving him somewhere is making me tear up!

Berry

I was hoping to move on from all the refusals from Wednesday’s lesson. My trainer said she had the perfect exercise for us. Using the jumps set on the short ends of the arena, we cantered around the whole arena, jumping the ends. She did refuse both the first time, but I got lots of practice in pushing her over it. It was harder with the skinny because she was definitely thinking about darting sideways, so I had to keep her straight as well as forward. So many things!!

It was tiring. I need to get more fit – I had no idea it was so draining to keep cantering and jumping. Eventually the line was put in too (no refusals this time!), so it was short end, line, short end, short end, line. O-M-G my legs were about to give up on life. Poor Berry was so tired.

But the good news, everything went well, I feel more confident, and Berry was jumping everything, as long as I set her up right and ordered her butt to jump. I have high hopes for the future and hopefully will take on my new obsession…brush/flower jump.

refusal
There’s something so appealing about this jump…Why can I not get you out of my head!? Reveal the mysteries hidden in those branches!

Vintage

Poor Vintage was left behind, all by her lonesome self, while Berry and her miniature look-alike went off. I stuck her in her stall with fresh water, lots of hay, and I thought she’d be very comfortable. I strolled off with my collection of bays, ignoring her screams of horror, and trailered off. I left the gate wide open, smug in my confidence she would stay in the stall.

When we all returned, I heard her screams again when I got out of the truck. It’s always reassuring to know she’s still alive, but otherwise, nothing new there. I unloaded horse and pony, and went on my way down to the barn. And then stopped dead, because there stood Vintage, in my lawn, by the gate, doing her best Trojan horse impression, with what I can only imagine is the equivalent of a horse glare on her face.

I don't have a picture of her Trojan-horsing, so her she is being pissed off and biting Berry's stall door.
I don’t have a picture of her Trojan-horsing, so her she is being pissed off and biting Berry’s stall door.

After the first look, her posture immediately resumed it’s usual indifference to all other horses, and she went to work eating my lawn, trying to play it cool, no doubt. I led the other two past, hoping she’d follow them back in, but at this point, she was so unconcerned, she decided to just continue eating the grass.

Luckily Dave strolled out at that moment, and I got the other two in the pasture and gave him Berry’s halter to catch Vintage. I left them bonding together and went to the barn to investigate her method of escape.

The stall door was still intact. The window, however, had bits of hair all over it, and the frame was popped out. I am confident in saying that Vintage decided to jump out of her stall through the window.

It wasn’t a clean jump though. The bits of hair had me concerned, so I went back up to investigate her. Sure enough, she had a gash on each stifle, and her right hind was swollen and had cuts on it. Dang animal, why do you do this to yourself?!

I don’t even know how long she was out, but I don’t think it was very long. There was a hoofprint path through the freshly dragged arena, so I’m guessing she could have just jumped it as we pulled up, ran over the arena, and then ran back up to meet us. She wasn’t sweaty, so she hadn’t been running around very much, plus she churned up her stall pretty good.

The wounds are healing, and her leg swelling is going down, so hopefully no long term damage. Now I just don’t know how to contain her. This hasn’t been an issue before, usually she just hangs out calmly with Pony, but when he is sent out for training, she would be alone every time I took Berry to a lesson, show, or trail ride. It seems if she wants to get out, she will. At my parents farm, she used to jump their three board fence to get back to her friends (perhaps 4’8″?). I imagine she would do the same if I left her out while I was gone.

I guess I should be thankful she hasn’t tried to escape before now. So, thanks Vintage, you have proved to me that you must love living with me, or you would have left by now.

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14 comments

    1. That may help, although when I kept her on my parent’s farm, we had sheep, and she was on a mission to destroy those poor sheep. We ended not being able to pasture them together.

  1. LOL! It is true, Vintage MUST love living with you.

    Did the pony boy cry his pony tears? Because that was my favourite part of the pony boy’s story last time.

    Speaking of teaching young horses to jump, we did this thing with Murray (that really only works out for verticals 2′ and below without tangle-able filler) where if he refused anything he just had to walk over it. It was like “oh, you’re scared of this thing? well, we’re going over!” It actually helped ME a lot, as it forced me to commit to, well, everything (“oh your horse doesn’t really want to jump that thing? well you’re going over!”) and to really understand that my horse can jump things that are reasonably sizeable from essentially a stand-still. I don’t know if it’s really a thing that is recommended (a few clinicians expressed surprised when I did this in front of them), but it really worked for Murray and me. I don’t even know if it’s applicable to you and the Berry, but your Christmas-y filler reminded me of this, because we had to walk over Christmas themed jumps A LOT our first year.

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  2. If you worry about clearing jumps, Berry is picking up on your worries. Pony Man, it may be okay for him to see the world with other ponies, provided you get to visit him plenty.

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