Monday 15 September 2014

Pushy Pony

I'm not sure if I ever mentioned a part of the reason I eventually sold my mare Lainey. Besides her lease actually being the perfect home. she was super alpha. We got along just fine on the surface, but it felt exhausting to me to have her constantly trying to test the boundaries. I'm a laid back, happy kind of person. I don't like conflict, and I'm sure she knew it, hence the continuous pushing of my buttons. Don't get me wrong, we had a lot of fun and she's an excellent horse, but I breathed a huge sigh of relief when super agreeable Ginger came into my life. I tell Ginger something once and she never toes that line ever again. It's kind of awesome.

Enter Ms Bridget. Or, 'Mini Lainey', as we've been jokingly calling her :) She may be small, but she's the boss of the herd. I'm starting to think that calm and confident personality must go hand in hard with being a more dominant horse. It's a bit weird to have to go back to having very defined rules and personal space after being so spoiled by Ginger. I was warned before I bought Bridget that they had problems with her being overly 'cheeky', so I've been a little more strict than I normally would be and it sounds like she's much better than she was. Luckily, Bridget is as kind as Ginger, so the pushiness isn't coming from a 'bad' place, more her just wanting to see if she can get out of work by pushing back at me (or maybe she's wanting a human as a pet...hmmm;). I've been noticing it a little bit under saddle, particularly on Saturday's ride when she was a bit excited, so today I opted to buckle down and do some lunging and groundwork.  I had an idea there might be some naughty pony antics that are easier for me to tackle from the ground.

Don't make eye contact with the mean teacher lady, whatever you do!
Sure enough, I had a pony that did not want to stay out or go to the right on the circle. Very persistently, and had a bit of a meltdown over the fact I wasn't going to let her turn back at a particular spot each time. Just green horse stuff and testing to see how serious I am about telling her where to move those feet. Also, the forward button was either all in or not an option. She knows better than that. It's funny how I must 'babysit' her under saddle but on the ground issues become really obvious! Since Pushy Pony is actually a very nice pony, she gave in right around when she started to feel like it was more work ignoring me and was excellent from then on. So nice to know I can get after her a bit if I need to and she isn't the type to hold a grudge over it. I've been reminded of the 'control the feet/control the mind' phrase the NH clinicians like to teach. I do think there is some truth to it.

We had a nice lazy hack down the road to start and finish off with, which I find a bit funny in a way...'Hey bad pony, just let me hop on so you can pack my lazy bum up to the ring so I can maybe discipline you a little and then you can pack me home again. Thanks!'. Really, though, I just wanted to give her a reward for her hard work and also reboot her mind a little in case this weekend's activities had her thinking trail rides are always super exciting.

Multiple people have noticed little Bridget is my shadow and wants to be everywhere I go. It's sort of awesome, but honestly feels a little bit weird at the moment. She is obviously convinced I'm her person but I'm still kind of getting used to the idea - she still feels like someone else's (awesome) horse to me!

 I hope to get Ginger out again tomorrow...I had a feeling there would be pony drama today and we all know how worried Ginger can get about that. She requires a totally different energy than what little Bridget needed today and I'm just not that good at being able to switch easily. Where Bridget would consider me whispering, Ginger would be offended by my 'shouting'. I know that sounds a little 'out there', but I promise you it's totally real - they're very, very different.
Ginger spy cam. It's impossible to get pictures of her without her wanting to say hi. I'm hiding in the barn here trying to be silent and taking super zoomed in pics through the crack in the door....

and...busted :) Must be all those treats I give her!



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  2. I think maybe there is something to calm & confident = more dominant. Looking back on my old lease horse Gemma, I think she fit that to a T. She was very steady, but a bit of a crank. Be B is much more spooky but also very obedient and she tries so hard. Sounds like you have the best of both worlds with your little duo! :-)