New Pony Gets Groundworked – Training Day 1

We have a new girl at the barn! I’m calling today (12.17.2015) Day One of training Miss Pony (that is her literary filler name, until we decide on what shall stick and I can do her introduction post) even though I worked with her yesterday too.

While she is a bomb-proof [former] pony ride pony there are some holes in her groundwork. As a result I’m training her through Clinton Anderson’s big green book that I’ve mentioned before, Clinton Anderson’s DownUnder Horsemanship – Establishing Respect and Control for English and Western Riders. As I go through it from the beginning I will mark the exercises I do and relay the notes taken on how she did with it that day. I gotta say this little pistol is way more than just a cute painted pony 😉

Here is the training breakdown of her official Day One in training:

  1. The Hula Hoop (pg.49)
    She had absolutely no issues with this. she stands still and doesn’t care about coming into my bubble. I could touch her nose with the stick at first so I simply backed her up a bit. It was also easy to keep her eyes. Perfection.
  2. Desensitizing to the Rope (pg.51)
    No issues here either. I slung it around every part of her body from both sides. She moved her back legs only slightly once or twice at first but she made no attempt to kick or move. It did not last long and her face/ears were calm the whole time.
  3. Desensitizing to the Stick & String (pg.55)
    Again, no issues. She’d already been familiar with the lunge whip apparently. The stick is used to give praise more often than spank anyway, and she’s rubbed down with it often to keep it positive. No issues with the string. I did not slap the ground.
  4. Disengage the Hindquarters (pg.60)
    Will need more work but she did it from both sides at the end. I’ll need to count my cues with rhythm as recommended and remember the proper order for asking through demanding. She does tend to back up so I’ll need to stay with her behind the driveline. I also need to be sure I’m not settling for the wrong feet movement. She needs to cross over correctly.
  5. Backing Up (pg.66)
    Backs up really well with a rope wiggle now. I did reinforce with gentle taps to her chest or marching to get more steps after consistent single steps.
  6. Yielding the Forequarters (pg.77)
    NEEDS MAJOR WORK. When pressure is applied to her fore-end she comes into my space and shoves her shoulder at me. I need a shorter, firmer crop to use in this exercise so she can’t close the distance before I get a good spank in. If she does not shove into me, and sometimes even after she does, she’ll move to go around me. I did back her up back into place when she did that but perhaps not the recommended 20 steps. I’ll pay more attention to that next time, adding more enthusiasm. The “Common horse problems” solution in the book does not work if I can’t get a good smack in. She pushes against anything, even air taps. She is also not in any position to back up as she’s already made contact with me. More help is definitely needed to master this exercise.

We shall see how our review of these go tomorrow, and I hope to have an introductory post with lots of adorable pictures made out for her very soon! 🙂

Arizona Gets Mud Fever

It’s a sad time out at the barn for my Zoni Poni as she begins a four-limbed battle with bacterial fungus of the pasterns, aka, mud fever. Each leg is affected and the back two particularly are in some discomfort as they are slightly inflamed. The mud in the pasture has reached an all time high this spring and it’s just beginning to –slowly– dry up. I’m not sure how much good it’ll do us though since we’re expecting three days of stormy rain weather again this week. It’s getting to be pretty miserable out there for our horses and I hope none of the others are affected as we truck through it.

Mud Fever On Arizona's Legs

This was when I discovered it. Monday morning I hand washed the mud off her legs and there it was.

Mud Fever On Arizona's Legs

And this was from earlier today. All dried up and being treated with Banixx spray.

And so my poor miserable horse is confined to her stall until it clears up, which could take weeks up to the entire month. I’ll be going out to hand walk her for a little bit each day and hopefully getting some grass will help cheer her up. She was visibly depressed today when I went out there, as last night was the first night she was refused turn-out. If today is any indication of her spirits it’s going to be a rough few weeks for her, but as her human I will be doing my best!

Pretty Arizona's Profile

After our little walk/graze I sat in her stall for a while, just dozing off and enjoying the breeze and her company.

Arizona Scratches

Her favorite itchy spot!

Arizona Rides the Open Highway

Today was a GREAT day! I took Arizona out for another long evening ride and it was beautiful and fun. Very relaxing and it took my mind off some things to boot. I met up with Krista, from my old barn (where I got Arizona) down by the bamboo that Alberto was telling me about. I’m glad to know where that short-cut is now so I can bypass the pitbull around the dump. Although, Krista says that dog is a wimp.

Arizona and I faced our fears this evening and RODE ON THE HIGHWAY! I’m very excited for us, we did wonderfully. She only spooked one single time and of all times it was right by our barn… by the neighbor dog… that she sees every day… Jeez, horses. We also trotted more than we usually do and it was okay. I’ll keep working on her collection because she’s still bumpy as hell, even though I know that slow beautiful trot is in there!

Now when I enter Powder’s stall she retreats to the corner and gives me her butt. This is UNACCEPTABLE. Instead of pissing her off though I have been doing the approach and retreat method and I’ve been able to get close up to rub her in the end. I didn’t pull her out and do anything today because Krista was ready to ride but next time I will put her back to work. I didn’t want to start anything I couldn’t finish. She’s not going to get away with testing me anymore though so I hope she realizes her kicking days are done!

I love this girl though. She’s an awesome mare and will make a great rider someday. We’ll get her there 😉

Arizona and I out on the county highway road, doing wonderful together!

My gorgeous view from atop my amazing horse. It was a great first time out on the busy and loud country highway road!

The bruise I got after being kicked by my Quarter Horse mare Powder.

The bruise I got after being kicked by my Quarter Horse mare Powder.

Perfect Evening For A Ride

Krissy and I went riding tonight and she introduced me to a new riding buddy named Erica. She has an adorable mare named Whiskey. We took the horses up and down the lovely county road. The breeze was amazing so our ride was nice and cool. The horses did some light spooking but nothing terrible. I was rather impressed with Arizona! She handled the neighbor dogs almost perfectly and didn’t spook at any of the traffic. I’d like to build her (and myself) up enough to get out on the main roads. I see cowboys up and down them all the time but we just aren’t there yet. From the experience we had today I’m thinking I may be best off doing it by myself too and not trying to go with a group, because the group spooked more than she did! She ‘herd-spooked’ once or twice off of Sable (Krissy’s pinto Arabian) and Whiskey (Erica’s bay mare) but I know she wouldn’t have otherwise. It’s interesting to observe this.

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Yes, I was very happy with her performance today. We did a little trotting and she gave me her sweet western trot for a while but then decided it was time to stop. When I asked again she gave me her bumpy Ichabod Crane maneuver. (Am I the only one who uses this as a reference? I tried finding a YouTube video with no success. Gunpowder is one bumpy ride!)

Anyways… I’m looking forward to seeing how Powder does with her feet. We have an appointment with my friend and farrier Jessica, on Tuesday before work. She’s in serious need of a trim! And still a new name… I think once I make a payment or two on her I’ll feel more confident about name changes. I am also watching every Clinton Anderson video I can get my hands on and taking notes to carry with me when I take her out next. I need to work in working her out into my barn schedule. Currently I’m riding Arizona every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

Time to go watch more videos. I’m re-watching 2007’s Road to the Horse competition DVD! Side note about that year: It’s awful watching someone as amazing as Stacy Westfall tank so badly >.<

Introductions

Heather

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  • Twenty-something
  • Mother of two
  • Married to one
  • Employed
  • Two dogs
  • One cat
  • Loves to sing & watch shows and movies
  • Can sorta draw
  • Writer and photographer on the side

Arizona

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  • 9 year old mare
  • Quarter Horse
  • 15.1hh
  • Never bred
  • Coming back from being barn sour
  • Dominant
  • Sorrel w/ star
  • Brown eyes
  • Barefoot
  • Ridden western

Powder

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  • 10 year old mare
  • Registered QH
  • 15.2hh
  • Broodmare – currently in foal
  • Green broke
  • Cremello with stripe
  • Blue eyes
  • Submissive
  • Barefoot
  • Incredibly sweet and loves attention