Friday 22 February 2013

Round Pens

The weather this morning was absolutely horrible - sideways rain and super high winds. I was dreading going to the barn to muck out -  I was pretty sure Ginny would be just as reluctant to leave her stall as I was to leave my house. Finally, after procrastinating until noon, I got in the old truck (don't want to get the nice one muddy!) and headed up the hill. Defying all the odds, the rain stopped and sun came out while I drove. What a treat.

I pulled Ginny out to give her a good grooming. The poor girl is starting to shed. Since she is the itchiest pony that ever lived, I have to keep on top of things this time of year or else she takes matters into her own hooves and I'm left trying to hide missing patches of mane and body hair for the rest of the summer. I learnt my lesson last year and hope to have better success this year - her mane only just finished growing back to an even length! I was sad to see she's lost a bit of topline and is definitely looking a little out of shape.  No worries, we'll be back at it soon. She was also totally full of it and managed to dig a hole to China while I was absent cleaning her disaster of a stall. It would appear she didn't want to move or leave her stall any time in the last 24 hours, so you would think being tied for 15 minutes of her day wouldn't be a problem!

The place where I board doesn't have a ring, but they do have a round pen. Happy pony  is being naughty and needs to burn some energy. You can see where this is going.

I'll just say right now that I'm not a huge round pen fan per se. I've watched the demos, attended some clinics, and have a few friends that swear by using a round pen to start their horses. I'm sort of ambivalent about it - I've used them before for particular horses that I thought would benefit, but normally in hand ground work or lunging over a large area is my go to if I'm not ready to hop in the saddle right away. Maybe just me, but I find it easier to get her working her properly with a lunge line attached - especially when her default evasion is to try to blow through you and bolt off.

Ginny has never even been in a round pen until today, so I wasn't sure what to expect - especially as I had left my lunge line at the riding arena down the road. She had a blast! She figured out pretty quickly that there was no line attached to her and had a little buck and play - something she would be way too polite to do with a lunge line. She was really good about following the voice and direction commands I would use on the lunge, although the 'whoa' was a little lacking at first so I didn't go there - walk was accomplishment enough for a pony on a sunny day with 3 weeks of downtime to make up for :) I was pleased that she was having fun and was comfortable enough for me to be able to chase her forward a little and get some nice changes of direction. Not so long ago, I think poor pony would have lost her mind over that amount of pressure. My favourite part was when I gave her the same signal I give her on the lunge and she immediately stopped and came into the centre with me to be caught. So cute - I think she thought this was a really cool game and she seemed proud to know the rules. My round penning friends might have been fooled into thinking we had some practice lol. I still don't think it will be a regular thing for us - but it was a fun thing to do on a sunny afternoon.

Sorry, no pictures today - I left my phone in the truck and it went to work the night shift with G :(


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