Pony is a coward. The times he’s gone off the property he has been fearful, and scared. When he was out at training, his trainer would purposely take him for walks around the barn, where he would spook at the same things he saw everyday in his daily life, the sawdust pile, the hay bales, the dog, definitely that goat.
The only solution to this is to get him out and about. It’s time for him to get out on the trails.
I asked Olivia if she wanted to do some trail riding, and she wasn’t opposed. We set out for James Long Park, where we actually met for the first time just over a year ago (our anniversary ride?!)! Except this time, poor Vintage was left behind, pumped full of tranquilizer to keep her from trying anything crazy, and we took Berry and Pony.
Even though it was the holiday weekend, we surprisingly had the park almost completely to ourselves. We set up some jumps (or more accurately, Olivia did the hard thinking of positioning, striding, and actually setting up the jump, and I just brought some jump stuff over), and hopped right on.
I really thought Pony would be super spooky, mental breakdown horrible. But he just looked, carefully avoided getting too close to anything the first trip around the arena, and bizarrely, was afraid of a man walking down the street. But I set him to work, and he quickly forgot about much of anything, except probably how horrible I was for making him move his tiny little legs.
Meanwhile, Olivia did some stuff with Berry, and it’s always a joy to see her ride, as she’s just so dang good.
For anyone curious, Berry keeps ripping her tail out on her water buckets. It’s gotten worse since these pictures! :'(
Pony watched all this with great interest.
Once the humidity got to us, we decided to head on out on the trails. To my surprise, Pony actually moved up to take the lead. He bravely went into the woods, but he was stumped at a ditch. Ditches are terrifying eaters of ponies, and he knows this. I ended up getting off, and pulling/pushing him until he finally made a leap over the ditch. But then Berry decided ditches eat horses, and didn’t want to go over it. We decided not to make a big deal of the ditch, so Pony and I went back over the ditch, although I just stepped over it, while he took another huge flying leap. Then, I conveniently got right back on him from the ground, because he’s so tiny and it’s super easy. No more looking around for logs and fences for me!
We headed back onto the trail with Pony leading again. Although, this basically meant that Pony’s short strides made Olivia have to stop every few steps to avoid running him over. When we came to another ditch that Pony didn’t want to cross, Olivia and Berry made their move and scooted right around him to take over the lead. They continued on, with no more stop-and-go traffic. And Pony started to drift way behind.
While Pony was super brave when he was leader, he was happy to now follow behind Berry on the journey. He looked around, but didn’t spook at a single thing, or hesitate about anything. He plugged along, happy with this new adventure.
We did have to continually trot to catch up.
Only to almost immediately fall back behind. At least once, Pony found a particularly interesting leaf or tree he wanted to examine, and Olivia had to stop and wait.
Eventually, we made it all through the trails, and back to the trailer. We did it, Pony survived, and he was so happy and calm about the entire experience. Although he was definitely tired, poor little guy.
And, obviously, I cooed over how adorable my sweet little angel is.
And just to make sure there were no hard feelings, we visited with Vintage when we got back.
I am so thrilled with how good Pony was. Underneath that scared Pony exterior lies a confident, brave Pony, ready to take on the world. He just needs to get out and see that world.