Saturday, May 15, 2010

Day six: Ponying

This exercise, for Stevie, came about due to necessity. I had planned on doing quite a bit of ponying with her anyway, as I feel it is very beneficial. Today, she just got very sticky with her feet and had no desire to come in out of the pasture. Since I had a few other horses to work that day anyway, ponying was the ideal solution!

Initially, she continued being sticky, really not wanting to move.  To counter this, I simply got her to disengage her hip.  As easy as it is to do from the ground, it is far easier to do undersaddle.  Even though this was the first time I had ponied off of my gelding, Larry, he did wonderfully.  I expected him to be fine, as he is well broke to the bridle, and easy to handle with simply seat and leg cues.  After using Larry to push Stevie's hips around for a while, the stickiness started to leave her feet.  We just put a half dally around the horn, and set off.  She did bump pretty hard on the rope a few times, but pretty soon, was leading off freely.

When ponying on a circle, keep the young horse on the inside.  If you have the colt on the outside, they are going to have to walk a lot faster than the horse you are riding, and more than likely will look for the easy way out by trying to change sides.


At times when Stevie got a little sticky again, or tried to crowd into my space, I'd simply have Larry counter arc away from her.  This is an exercise he knows pretty well, but when given some extra motivation from the filly, he performed much lighter and faster than in his 'dry work'.

And, finally, I like to love on my horses quite a bit.  It makes them happy, relaxed, and does the same for me!
Please use caution and common sense.  Horses are large animals, with an exceptional amount of power and strength.  They are also concerned above all with their own personal safety, and will do whatever they feel it takes to keep themselves from harm.  Being individuals that act and react differently, the only certainty you have when working a horse is uncertainty.  I am a professional trainer with twenty plus years experience, yet even with the knowledge I possess, I still get hurt from time to time.  This blog and the accompanying media are for entertainment purposes only.  No responsibility will be assumed for injuries or damages incurred while trying to use these methods at home.  Please ride responsibly; protective gear can save your life! 

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