Tuesday 31 October 2023

Uneven Progress


On one hand, I'm Team Leave Them Be and Let Them Grow Up. They've got years before they are mentally and physically ready to do most adult horse things.  

On the other hand, it feels like the Things They Need To Know Now is a broader topic than you might at first think. Also, no pressure, but we're building the foundation for their entire lives with humans. 

With the way our place is set up, I clean paddocks and stalls twice a day. The new guys would like me to know That Is Not How It's Done. So, wheelbarrows, manure forks, brooms, and mostly - us people in their general vicinity - have all been a thing at one time or another. They're already getting pretty good, but I'm mentioning it because it really does feel like we're starting at the beginning. (No shade at the place they came from either! This is a new place with new people and a new routine and they are suspicious baby ponies.)

They are growing so much already

G's is an angel and really coming out of his shell. He's the boss of the two but also pretty laid back and the kind of guy who just wants to get along. So, he quietly makes space or follows us around waiting for scratches. He's the one we thought might take a bit to come around but he's already my BFF. Reggie is less so, he's quite concerned we might steal his food and generally gets a little dramatic, either running around or trying to act tough. Luckily little Bakari/Buck also is setting boundaries with him (in a much more physical manner than I do) so I'm hoping his little brain starts to compute soon :) I kind of figured his momma might be spoiling him rotten and now I'm starting to believe it might be true lol.

Part two of their daily adventure is going out to graze for part of the afternoon before they come back in for dinner. Since neither of them were crazy about being haltered, it seemed like a great idea to incorporate that and lead them in and out the 50 feet (rather than just opening gates), with the intent that halter = good things coming. G's clued into that right away. Mine...you guessed it...not so easy. 

Easily bribed with food and scratches.

I'm able to groom Buck and he's about ready for my farrier. He's obviously not perfect with his feet, but he's polite enough. Tying is a work in progress, as is leading but he's made huge progress and is so genuine. 

Reggie is quite well behaved to lead from place to place, but very much dislikes being groomed and having his back feet handled and is not shy about letting you know it. So again, with the boundaries (which he takes very personally). It's a fine line I haven't found yet but I'm grateful he's not the type to escalate the behavior, he just seems confused as to why I wouldn't like it/bow down to his amazingness and then starts to get really worried. 

Over here keeping it real with the most awkward of all awkward stages. I should not post this on the internet, but also it's going to make an epic before and after one day.

G commented "how on earth did you pick another Sophie just from some foal pictures and a video?!" Which, fair, I can see the comparison with Reggie's current little dramatic self, lol. But really he's wonderful, he just needs some time to adjust to the real world. I have all the faith he's going to be a really good boy. He's still so young. I need to be careful to not mentally put him into a box of 'he's like this' and have it become self fulfilling. So let's say 'he is currently like this' and leave it there. Tomorrow has endless possibilities ;)

Silver linings, had a few opportunities this week to see what a nice mover he is (as he runs away from me in dramatic fashion lol)

 It does put into perspective though just how lovely and easy Sophie is now and how the work at the beginning is so valuable. 

Comes when you call her, like the giant yellow labrapony she is.

Once we get to a place where they are comfortable with the routine I'm going to leave it coasting along for a bit. (To recap: We want to be able to clean stalls while they are eating with minimal pony anxiety, need to be able to reliably catch and lead a short distance daily, need to be able to tie them and handle feet safely a few times a week.) I had visions of getting out and doing things but I think they've had a ton of change recently and they'd both benefit from a bit more of an adjustment period where they can feel confident in what they know.



  1. The joy of babies! I think your idea of pairing haltering with grazing is perfect. Quaid was quite determined thst we were not allowed to touch his back feet. Consistency and frequent short sessions were key to get him over it

  2. It's a little overwhelming to realize you're teaching a young horse really important life skills! It sounds like you're off to a strong start with these guys, though. Reggie will come around!