Tuesday 9 July 2019

Lucky Me

The other day, I was leading both ponies down the road, one on either side of me. Both were being perfectly behaved and happy to be out for an adventure. It was one of those "wow, life is great! I am so lucky" moments.

Until we got the the part where we cut through the farmer's market grounds with the big grassy field. I'll just put it out there - successfully leading 2 'starving' dry lotted ponies at a time across tall green grass is Expert Level Horsemanship And Pony Training. We're not quite there yet, lol.

My expedition with both ponies in tow was actually to test whether Sophie will be OK stalled at the fairgrounds by herself for a couple of hours. I have a clinic this weekend I'm taking her to, and I thought it would be nice to stick around after our session and audit a bit. So, I put her in a stall and took Bridget for a ride out of her line of sight. Not to worry, she screamed a couple of times for us, then seemed content hanging out and munching her hay. It might be a different story in a busier clinic environment, but I'm glad we tested it out and she had a good experience. I wouldn't expect her to be frantic or overly stressed, but she can be quite vocal and I don't want to distract everyone from their learning.

"Go away already! This hay is mine!" 

The remainder of our outings this past week were my standard trail rides on Bridget. We got out 3 times, and saw our first bear of the year up close. It was on a spot where the trail is quite narrow and close to the lake edge - the bear opted to run towards the lake, and I don't think any of us were pleased with him being sort of cornered there. We took our time and he got out ahead of us, only for us to catch up and startle him again a kilometer or so later. Poor bear by that point headed for the hills as fast as he could go, and the horses were feeling quite brave and proud of themselves! I was pretty grateful to be on Bridget. She told me in no uncertain terms that we needed to be Bear Aware and was very careful to kerp everyone safe.

No pictures of the bear as it really was a little dicey, but this picture from the following day shows what I think Bridget looked like when he was running away. 

Sophie's accomplishments for the week include successfully being at the show grounds 'alone', plus some further adventures in wearing tack and longeing like a grown up pony. She's giving me a lot of hope for the future. She's not the fanciest mover out there, but she's correct and decently balanced. She's naturally able to collect and extend and has a good awareness of where her feet are. I have hopes we won't have to teach her where to put her feet so she can canter (cough, cough, Bridget. We love you but please never again do I want to face that ;)

Sophie's balanced enough to canter right on the longe and even shorten and extend when she's feeling silly. To the left is harder for her, but she figured the lead out quickly and can now canter a circle or so before her balance starts to get iffy and I transition her to trot before the wacky lead changes can start. I have goals of helping her figure it all out on the ground/longe before anyone gets in the saddle, but we'll see. Right now it's me picking away one day at a time and my timing and experience is what it is.

Then best thing about this whole experience so far is that I have help handy when I need it, but so far I'm enjoying things and finding her really easy to work with. I want to learn and improve how I train and for me this is a very good way of doing so. 



  1. eek bears! That is kind of scary...amazing to have the horses be brave and not bolt the opposite way!

    1. We see them around often enough that honestly, the neighbour's cows can be more of an issue :) It's more all the random noises in the bush and not always being able to see the bear that gets Bridget a bit anxious. I have no idea what Sophie is going to think when we see our first one, but fingers crossed Bridget is there to show her what to do!

  2. Aw yay for a happy, growing, balanced, baby Sophie. She's such a lovely little thing!

    1. I just love her! It took a while to build up a partnership with Bridget, but Sophie was pretty much instant.