Friday, June 13, 2008


I got on Bo's back, after insisting that he stand the heck still.  It was a bit of a challenge, since he knew what was up and where we were going.  He rolled his big eyes and swished his tail.  I held the reins in my left hand, freeing my right hand to take Tia's lead rope.

And we were off.  Bo, who was rather sluggish for the morning's lesson, was eager to get out the gate and head down the road.  Tia walked calmly beside us, letting Bo get all fussed up.  

I rode Bo down the side of the road on the gravel shoulder, but Tia had to walk on the pavement.  It's a narrow shoulder, but fortunately not a very busy road.  At the bottom of the valley, at the crick, I looked around and crossed the road to the right side.  In his excitement, Bo wasn't paying attention to Tia, and would have run her right into the ditch if I hadn't pushed him over with my right leg.  I didn't want Tia to get tangled up in the low branches.  

Bo moved along at a fast bouncy walk, pumping down the road on his long legs.  

At the neighbour's lane I turned right.  Susan had gone ahead in her car, since her baby had fallen asleep in his car seat and we didn't want to disturb him.  She got out of the car to take Tia's lead rope from me. Once inside the small pasture, we parked Bo at the barn door and quickly pulled his bridle off.  We'd left his halter on underneath to make things easier at the neighbour's place.  His saddle was off in no time; the quicker we got them onto the grass, the happier they'd be.  I set the sweaty saddle blanket upside down the let it dry out.  

With the tack inside the barn, we drove back to get the other two.

By this time, Skyla and Lily were kicking up a big fuss.  More accurately, Skyla was fussing while Lily jogged along the fence line, head down, ears forward, like the little Western Pleasure show horse that she will become .  She's that rare two year old horse who really doesn't worry about much of anything.  

We wrangled Skyla into her saddle and bridle, and by the time I had Lily's lead rope in my right hand, the pony was ready to gallop down the road to join her friends.  I had a little "talk" with her.  She reconsidered and figured it would be okay to walk.  It was one heck of a bouncy walk.  

It didn't take long to catch up with Susan and the snoozing baby.    

The bouncy pony, the unfazable filly and I turned into the barnyard.  Tia and Bo whinnied to them like they'd been separated for days.  The reunion wasn't very exciting though.  Everybody just dropped their heads and got busy grazing.

It's a bit of work to move the horses, but they love the grass.  They don't have much at home.  They have excellent hay, but more than anything else in the world, horses want to graze.

In the evening I drove back to the Little Valley to move them back again.  This time I rode Tia and ponied Skyla.  Totally uneventful.  On the second trip, I rode Bo and ponied Lily.  We weren't totally sure how it would go, but we wouldn't have attempted it if we didn't think it was safe.  And it was fine.  Bo is experienced enough and mature enough to know that when he's working, he doesn't get to goof off or be nasty.  And Lily?  Well she just don't care about nuthin. La, lalalala.  La la la laaaa.  That's our Lily.  Pretty, smart,  and compliant.  She'll be an awesome show horse some day.

All four of them were in their back paddock, munching on hay.  The baby was awake, chattering away in his stroller.  I pulled the helmet off and let the breeze dry my sweaty hair.  I unzipped my chaps but I was still boiling hot.  The sky was darkening with dusk, and thick with the storm coming.   It was almost 9:00 pm and the sweat was still running down my back.  

I like ponying.  It's kind of fun to ride two horses at once.  One of my saddle club friends used to ride both her horses up the road to the horse shows.  It's good for the lead horse to learn this useful skill and not kick at the ponied horse.  It's good for the ponied horse to learn to keep up and not harass the lead horse.  This is an excellent way to train a young one too.  I did a lot of ponying with our Little Lady, when Champ was my lead horse.  I used to saddle her up and lean over from Champ to slap the stirrups against her sides and generally get her used to all kinds of minor irritations.  It was helpful in making her into the kind of horse who can tolerate a few levels of silliness and not lose her mind.  It's also a great way to teach speeds and gaits.  When I cluck and say JOG, she'll have to start jogging to keep up.  Soon she learns what the command means.

I think horses should have a wide variety of skills.  It's good to have skills, man.  

And it's fun.

(And since it's Friday and I know why you're here....)

Have a good productive relaxing weekend!


JKB said...

I sent it! I sent it!

But anyway..back in my polo-plying days we used ponying to get the ponies into shape. Riding one, doing two on each side. It always went well until we did the 10 minute gallop part. Everybody thought that was the excuse to f*rt, buck and generally act like idiots.

Give the ponies a kiss from me! :)

coffeypot said...

Sounds like a full day. How long is the ride?

Heidi the Hick said...

jkb-one of Susan's students worked at a polo farm all winter, and she did the same thing. It was all long trotting though, no gallop. I know what you mean: "Ooooh! Racing! Time to fart&buck!" It's funny when you look back on it but kind of a pain at the time.

(You sent it! You sent it!!!!! Good for you!)

Coffeypot, it was a pretty full day, especially since she taught two lessons and I babysat the little guy. It's a very short ride to the neighbour's place. I'd say the whole process took less than half an hour. Of course it felt like a longer ride when Silly Pony wanted to dance all the way there!

Anita said...

Love that picture! ;D

Biddie said...

LOL. Johnny AND a horse in the same photo!
You are too much :)

Heidi the Hick said...

Yeah, I go out of my way to provide this kind of quality entertainment.