Posts Tagged With: lesson

Apple Days

  Days like today are crisp with an apple-like bite in the air. The ponies frolic and play in their pastures, enjoying the snow.

 

   The horses are delightful. I fed them all this morning and enjoyed horsey hugs. Savannah worried me, because she refused to eat all her breakfast. She wanted to eat al fresco instead of en stall. She abandoned half of her breakfast to Melody. I worked with Savannah; even trying to feed her from my hand, but nothing worked. I eventually put her outside with Melody, and that’s when they switched places and Melody proceeded to eat Savannah’s food. Fortunately, at that moment, Savannah’s owner came inside and learned of her pony’s appetite issue. I told the owner to give Savannah more grain later if she wanted; simply because it’s better to overfeed one horse and properly feed the other rather than overfeeding one horse and starving another.

   In that same vein, I have attempted many cures for Senorita’s cribbing/windsucking habit. The best appears to be the easiest. I had put her in the indoor arena and let her pace among the stalls while the other horses ate, but it seems that this doesn’t always work, either. The other horses are feeling threatened by her and are kicking stall doors or attempting to bite through the stall bars. I don’t care for the situation. Therefore, I started feeding her out in the pasture after everyone else comes inside. It appears to be working! She has been putting her teeth on the T-posts, but isn’t doing it as frequently as she has in the stalls. She’s more relaxed and calm. Then, if she wants to, she’s also able to meander around the pasture for a few moments before eating again. 

  

   Coffee and Dusty are delightful. They’re so easygoing and fun. They don’t mind changing to the other pasture with the smaller run-in shed. They seem content and relaxed.

   Lexi is a super-smart stinker. I have the funniest time with her. My dog, a border collie, helps me with chores each night, moving the horses into the pastures. She herds them into the correct pasture, then generally does a good job making sure they don’t run back into the barn. Tonight, however, Lexi left her stall to go into the pasture with Bandit following.  She ran into the pasture no problem, but as I went to close the pasture gate, she breezed past both Bandit and I–heading back for her stall in the barn. So Bandit and I jogged all the way back into the barn, wiggled a lunge whip through the stall bars at her rump to get her moving, and she and Bandit blazed a trail for the pasture again. I booked it back to the pasture gate, telling Bandit to hold the horses in there and hoping I could shut Lexi in for the night. Wouldn’t you know it? Lexi’s owner came at that exact moment–and saw me being the out-of-breath/outsmarted-by-her-horse-barnowner. Supposedly the human brain is bigger than a horse’s brain–but some moments, I have my doubts. I would have been laughing very hard if I were the horse’s owner.

     I haven’t ridden Honey since Friday, but today she came up to me and wanted a hug and a neck scratch. That isn’t an odd occurrence anymore. She’s become more friendly as I’ve been able to work with her recently on ground manners. She doesn’t care for being constantly ridden without using her brain on groundwork. She is definitely a horse that needs a gentle trainer. She becomes resentful if you’re not careful, and rude if you don’t pay attention to her desires.

   Braz is constantly with Honey during the day now that it’s just Lexi, Senorita, Braz and Honey in the big pasture in the back. They are thrilled to be constantly, and there are two herds of two back there. Braz fusses over Honey as though Honey is her daughter. The relationship is adorable to watch.

   Savannah is a mixed bag these days. She appears to have lameness issues with her owner, but she isn’t having these issues with lesson students. Whenever we’ve used her for lessons or birthday parties, she’s been calm, gentle, and sound–but as soon as her owner comes in, she acts lame at the trot and canter. It’s very confusing. We do the exact same exercises, the exact movements with students, but Savannah is appearing to refuse movements for her owner. I didn’t use her for lessons at all last week because I wanted to be certain to give Savannah some time off, but unfortunately it seems she was still lame for her owner yesterday. One positive out of all this is that the owner is working through Parelli level one, so she’s able to do a lot of groundwork with Savannah. Savannah did level one and part of level two with me when I owned her, so she’s already familiar with the program.

   Melody is fantastic as usual. Cold weather makes her very happy.  She bucks and plays and generally acts like a foal.

   The pastures are finally frozen, so it’ll be fun to let the horses out back again once hunting season is truly over. The girls can go out there and play, the boys will be given a chance to burn off some energy, and everyone will appreciate how next year we’ll have larger pastures. I’m planning to expand the current pastures very far to the back, leaving a very generous driving lane with perhaps some area for a few cross-country type jumps. (Very low ones, of course–under 2 feet.) I want to have the ability to use the lane as a true “driving” lane so one day I can use a carriage, but I also want some “trail” riding area. Possibilities, possibilities… For now, I’ll be content to let the snow cover the grounds and pretend everything is exactly how I want it. Next spring, the neighbors will be tired or my relentless T-post pounding–and people will be terrified of my giant, “manly” biceps. That’s ok. If they hurt my feelings, I’ll just flex my arm and send ’em running.

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Of Intrigue and Infiltration

Each day as I leave the house, I am graced with a cacophony of pony sounds. Coffee has turned into the official barn greeter. Every morning I hear his slight nicker. This is followed by Dusty, who echoes his voice a little louder, and Melody, who whinnies. Eventually I even hear Braz’s hopeful neigh from inside the barn. It’s such a pleasant feeling to be so loved and needed. This early morning tradition might stem from the fact that I’m their meal ticket, but I like to believe the feelings are somewhat deeper.

I finished most of the chores early so I’d be prepared for my 12:30 lesson. We had some issues to discuss, as I learned yesterday that our “intrigues” had become public knowledge. (This adult student is a parent to two of my young students, and she’d been secretly taking horse lessons from me. Yesterday she finally told the girls what she’d been up to. In my brain, however, I use words like “infiltrated our network” to describe what happened. I might like my life simple, but there’s no excuse for allowing simple to equal boring. ) The adult is progressing nicely, and I feel she’s ready to branch out a little on her riding. Today we did Western instead of English. (I like to live on the edge.)

I was delighted to see two boarders here today. It wasn’t a pleasant day for the weather, so I was surprised anyone had ventured out. I needn’t be, though. I have excellent, dedicated horsewomen who board here. I think it helps that I advertise Firefly as preferring people who have an interest in natural horsemanship. (“Riders” only think of getting on the horse. Horsewomen think about what the horse thinks/feels/prefers.) I am pleased to share that both boarders who came today to visit played from the ground. That’s not to say I prefer people to stay off their horses–quite the contrary. I’m only saying that I am grateful they can see their horses as something more than a living go-kart. You don’t visit a go-kart unless you plan to ride. I’m grateful we have horsewomen instead of riders.

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