Tuesday 16 December 2014

TOABH: Making of The Horse

Another Owl's Approve blog hop! Yay! 
This week's question: Last week, we talked about our babies.  This week, let's talk about our greenies.  Who trained your horse?  Is your ponykins still in the process of figuring out this whole monkey-on-my-back thing, did you send off for thirty or sixty or ninety days, or did you buy a horse with all the bells and whistles?  Who has helped your horse become what he or she is today?

Fun question! We'll start with Bridget because that's the shorter/simpler story. Bridget originally was sold as a driving prospect to a nice man about a year ago. I don't know the full story, but it didn't work out and she only stayed a couple of months. The video I saw of her driving wasn't super awesome, but that may have just been super green. opinionated pony stuff. Reading between the lines I think the issue was more she's simply not flashy or motivated enough to make a serious prospect. I love that she went out on the roads and trails with her cart though - it made the transition to trail rides pretty uneventful! After that, she returned to her breeders and advertised for sale for a few months. She wasn't being used at all or selling, so the breeder had a lady come out and do some ground work with her. By the time I entered the picture, I think Bridget had been ridden a couple of times. I had a fun ride on her that visit, and brought her home with me in the beginning of September. The rest is documented here on the blog. She's come a long way and has a solid 90 days under saddle with me. I have help in the form of a weekly lesson, and so far we've been to one clinic with a couple more scheduled in the next two months. I want to event her one day.
Driving pony video screenshot

Ginger is of course much more complicated. She came to me very mistrusting. She is Bridget's polar opposite -Bridget wants to be friends with everyone and explore everything, Ginger just wants to be left alone in her huge safe zone and hates strangers or new situations. Bridget is all plain and understated, Ginger is big and flashy and gets all the attention.They are both pretty smart, but I have to say Ginger is the smartest horse I've met. I spent the first summer just getting her ok with catching, grooming, leading, etc.  Come fall, I had ridden her a few times in the indoor and she was surprisingly simple and easy - I think because she'd decided by then I was 'safe'. I was working full time though and once the prairie winter set in it wasn't practical for me to be making the hour drive to the barn every evening. I had a reining trainer put 30 days on her and was pretty happy with that, although her progress was really slow due to Ginger's 'stranger danger' thing. Then, it was back to me riding a couple of times a week before I started to realize help would be a good thing. Nothing bad was happening, I was just at a loss as to how to progress with her. That spring we moved to a dressage barn and signed up for their full training program. Everything went really well at first, but we were both getting increasingly uptight as the months went on and looking back I feel like we'd been stalled out and even regressing for a few months by the time we left. We ended up moving home to BC with me and learned all about trail riding for a few months with much success. She loved it and was a completely different horse. The past couple of years have been sporadic at best with me leaving for work contracts and her having some soreness issues. She's very smart and athletic, so a lot farther along training wise than you'd expect, but obviously her inherent anxiety about the world in general and my lack of consistency brings it's own set of issues so most of my arena rides these days are spent just getting her to chill out and relax rather than fine tuning anything. That's all on me though - consistency and baby steps are everything with her if you want to do arena work and I've been slacking. I've tentatively got us both signed up for part training in the spring and we'll see if that leads us anywhere interesting now that she's more mature and I'm more confident. If not, I'm happy to call her my best trail pony, and let her little 'sister' Bridget be the outgoing one of the two and go to all the shows and events.
Cute Ginger waits her turn for a training ride at the dressage barn. I literally have no riding pics from her training that  I haven't shared here a few times before...I was heavier then and shunned the camera even more than I do now.


  1. i didn't realize bridget was so new to under saddle work! excellent job with them! and i think it's really neat that you're so open to having such different paths for your two girls :)

    1. She's a big baby! But she's very sensible. Thank you, I really do try my best to be good to them and keep them happy!

  2. I cannot learn enough about your girls. You know them so well its amazing to read, I envy your knowledge of your girls personalities. My brain is too flighty and my memory too bad to remember such intricate details like you do.
    I ♡ it

    1. Thanks so much! I need to be careful to not fall into the trap of setting my ideas of their strengths and weaknesses into stone - like humans they do have a habit of proving you right which can sometimes be a bad thing! In general though, I do feel like I 'get' these two which is sort of a fun place to be :)

  3. She was a driving horse?! That is SO cool