Iíve been posting a lot on this forum, and Iíve decided itís time for a little introduction. I also want to use this as an actual journal, to track what Iíve been doing with my horses. Advance warning: itís not going to have the exciting cliffhangers or emotional pull that a lot of peopleís journals do.
First, for the journal part. I had two really tough lessons on Wednesday and Thursday, so although I had a lesson scheduled for today I just went out early and rode my pony bareback in the pasture. The way the pasture where he lives is set up is like a giant, 40-acre ďLĒ with the barn and arenas at the top. The last time I rode him out there was several months ago, because itís been so rainy that the pastures were all a big bog and I didnít think it was right to ask him to carry me in those conditions. I had been working on riding him down the short side of the ďLĒ to the corner. He has been a little hesitant about me riding him out there by myself, so we had been getting a little closer to that corner each time (yes, they were very short rides).
Today, however, he seemed really willing, so we went out to the corner, past the corner, turned, and rode all of the short sides of the L. Then I rode him up the hill and along the back property line. That area, from the fence and about 10 feet in, is clear, but thereís a wooded area between it and the main pasture, and although Iíve found him back there by himself in the past, he was a little hesitant to go with me on him, and he kept trying to turn back. I told him Iíd let him turn back down the big hill. When we got about halfway up that hill I asked for a trot but, schockingly, got a canter (one of my ponyís nicknames is pokey pony, so him moving faster than wanted is almost unheard of). It was amazing, if short lived (he took about 10 strides and then stopped like, ďwhoa, why was I running?Ē) So now I can say Iíve cantered bareback. I gave him his head down the steep and rocky hill to get back to the main pasture, then we walked and trotted back. I was super happy with him.
Then I pulled my daughterís mare out of the pasture, walked her to a stall, fed her, picked off and treated her rain rot, then took her back to the pasture. Iím working on leading her without a halter, and she did all of this without a halter, staying with me except when she veered off to get some water. Sheís a very smart horse who learns really quickly, unlike some ponies I could mention. Of course I gave her a cookie once we got out to the pasture.
Finally, I got the new guy out. Iíve only been working with him for a month, so I donít expect him to follow me without a halter. I do have him walking to me in the pasture to be haltered, so thatís a start. He had apparently been progressively worse with the farrier, to the point of rearing and kicking the last time he was seen, so when I held him yesterday and he was really good, just making a worried face a couple of times but coming back to me when I asked, I told him that today I would just pull him and feed him and put him back.
BUT when the barn owner saw his wound (he had apparently been kicked in the pasture, and the wound was developing proud flesh), she told me to treat it again (I already treated it the last two days), and then I showed her another wound and she wanted me to treat that also. I had to pick off the scabs, wash, and apply ďWonder Dust.Ē He didnít like it, but he was pretty good about it. Then I took him back to the pasture and stood there with him for a few minutes and took off his halter and gave him a cookie. I decided to smell him.
When I first started working with him I smelled him to see what I thought (yes, Iím weird like that) and he didnít really have a smell. Now he has a nice smell! So then since I was already there I decided to hug him (I hadnít tried that with him yet because Iím trying to take things really slowly as he is an anxious, worried horse). Not only did he tolerate it, he actually leaned into it! My daughter says he was just looking for more cookies, and maybe thatís true, but Iíll take what I can get.