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Discussion Starter · #341 ·
I wonder what other training things are akin to halter breaking an unhandled horse...
I agree! I've learned my lesson...Aria was my first horse I started personally that had no handling at all. Now I know you can't put them out into a large field without getting them over the fear of being haltered and caught first. Maybe the first trailering can be similar, if you need to pick up or move a horse that has not been trained to trailer yet. Amore had been handled a little, but not really started beyond having a halter on, she was completely green to leading and didn't tie. So we had to basically winch her into the trailer to get her home. But a month later, after more training, she was able to get into a trailer on her own. I suspect it will be straight forward getting Aria into a trailer with a friend next time I try.

Aria is a smart pony though, and now she knows I'm catching her to bring her nice places. Today I walked right up to her in the field and put my hand on her collar, and then put her halter on. She went out in the turnout without a lead rope or lunge line on today, and when I came back to get the horses she was the first to the gate to get caught. Good pony!

Here is the little herd goofing off in turnout today. Pony is very healthy and sassy now.
 

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She’s looking so much better! She doesn’t look much smaller than Amore now.

Yes! Trailering. Doctoring too we will say.
 

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Discussion Starter · #343 ·
Today I tied Aria for the first time, which was uneventful. She's been very good at yielding to pressure, so I added a loop of baling twine to a tie ring and tied her to that. She never applied enough pressure to strain it.

I put it to the test though, by rasping some on her front hooves and picking up the hinds. She allowed me 5 to 7 rasp strokes before I needed to let go. Great little pony hooves, hard with thick walls, so I only got off about 1/3 of the length I need to, but it all has to help.

Amore has shed some sole, so needs more trimming soon even though I just got her a couple weeks ago. Haven't had time to ride in a couple weeks, but basic care comes first.

When I am with Hero, I love him the best. He's powerful looking and sleek, my riding horse.

When I am with Amore, I love her the best. Still so beautiful and gentle, leaning into hugs and scratches, unique and funny.

When I am with Aria, I love her the best. I always wanted a pony, and she's turning into a real cutie. So many great things ahead of us!

Our cat, Velvet with hyperthyroidism has grown her hair back, regained weight and her health. Now Kikko, our other 13 yr old cat is acting funny, getting bald spots and increased appetite so he is heading to the vet Friday to see if he needs pills as well.

Our home inspection is in the morning. We hope there are no major issues!
 

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Discussion Starter · #346 ·
I wasn't sure if I missed somewhere since full ownership but you planning on backing her (is she too small?) or driving?
Thanks! I think she is around 13 hands...I thought 12 when she was thin, guess she looked smaller. I have been on a 13.2 hand pony but that's pretty small unless you're a kid. I plan to teach her to drive.
 

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How is her leg thickness? Cowboy is 13.0 but built like a tank. More important to me is that his LEGS are almost as thick as Mia's were. In my honest moments, though, I admit that driving makes a great way for horses to get exercise. Just wouldn't know where to start. And...around here, paved roads would be the only option for driving. It would be a great way for my wife to enjoy horses IF we could figure out how to teach it to them.
 

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When I am with Hero, I love him the best. He's powerful looking and sleek, my riding horse.

When I am with Amore, I love her the best. Still so beautiful and gentle, leaning into hugs and scratches, unique and funny.

When I am with Aria, I love her the best. I always wanted a pony, and she's turning into a real cutie. So many great things ahead of us!
This is so great, and how I feel about my horses. People ask me which horse I like the best, and my answer is, "The one I am riding at the moment." I do think you can ride Aria, but that's just my opinion. My dear friend had a 12 hand Welsh pony stallion that we rode all the time. He never got tired or difficult. We didn't feel funny on him because we just decided we wouldn't. Both Isabeau and Acicate (my current horses) are 13 hands and I ride them for hours. I am tall. As @bsms says, the cowboys in the 1800's rode 13 hand horses all the time, rode them hard, and they managed OK. Also, grown men ride Paso Finos in shows with their legs all hanging down, and they do fine. I know I do fine with my two 13 hand beauties.
1114281
 

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Discussion Starter · #349 ·
Hmm, well maybe I'll start Aria under saddle too and see how it goes. I could always just do short rides to train her for a kid to occasionally get on. Maybe I'll ride her and pony Hero, wouldn't that look hilarious? She's not very stocky, but not super light either, and let's say she weighs 600 lbs, I weigh about 130 with boots and clothes. That weight should be fine for her. I'm just guessing her weight based on Amore who weighs around 800 lbs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #351 ·
Our cat Kikko got a clean bill of health at the vet's today. Nice to hear at age 13 his kidneys and liver are working well, no sign of cancer and his thyroid is fine. Apparently his excess grooming is just a new allergy, so he got a steroid shot.

The home inspection did not reveal any major problems with the house we are buying. A few small fixes and other things we could upgrade that seem acceptable for the price range of the house. The houses we looked at lower in price had major issues like sagging ceilings or extreme remodeling needs. The houses in the next higher range were more updated inside but that meant they also were smaller, did not have a big garage and/or were in busy neighborhoods. This seems like it will hopefully be a nice compromise for us.

The only hiccups now are waiting for the HOA board to decide if they will let us move in before DH is 55 (they meet next Tuesday), and making sure our current landlords don't try to get us to move out before our house closes in August. We have explained to them that the legislation relating to Covid means the renters in our new house can stay until August, but it also applies to us and give us a 90 day period to move as well. We didn't hear back after that email so they may be checking our information with a lawyer. My friend with Nala who I used to ride with all the time is a real estate lawyer, so I asked her for an opinion and she didn't think there was currently any way around these laws other than trying to pay someone to convince them to get out sooner.

Meanwhile, we are cheerful since it seems it will be worth the hassle to continue living here. Even though we are in a tourist town, the location farther away from big cities means the summer rush we are heading into is much less intrusive than where we lived before. As I was driving home from the barn, weaving between all the lakes and over the beautiful wooded mountains, I could see glimpses of campsites as I passed through some of the state park lands and realized that people come here to get away, and we are able to live here all the time. It's a privilege.
 

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Discussion Starter · #354 ·
When I was walking with Aria, I was able to measure her withers at halfway up my humerus/upper arm bone. At home I measured how tall this was, and it came to 48 inches. So it might not be perfectly accurate, but she is somewhere around 12 hands.

I've certainly ridden 13 hand ponies.





But seeing the horses together, a person might not realize how small Amore is. I'm 5'3", and she is 14.2 hands.



Aria is just a tiny little thing: Smaller than those ponies I'm riding above. Look how short Amore's back is in the ridden photo, and Aria's is much shorter. Not enough space for a small adult saddle. Plus look at her tiny legs. I'm sure she's strong, but definitely she'll be a driving and not a riding pony.



I've found something funny about her name. I keep finding myself saying, "Are ya?" to her, which sounds like her name. "Are ya going to be my little driving pony, Aria? Are ya?" Probably only amusing to myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #355 ·
I'm thinking about the cart before the horse...

I'll probably get an easy entry cart with road tires to start out. Once we get our house stuff straightened out, I hope to trailer Aria and Hero to my friends' house up north, so we can ride and I can see what size cart Aria might need based on the various carts they have.

They also have buckboard carts for their minis, which are very cute.

When we were doing the parades each year with their minis, we could turn the buckboards into different things such as a boat for the pirate theme:


Or a prairie wagon:

I had a friend who lived in a very small town near Mount Hood and she had a buckboard for her quarter horse so she could drive a mile or so to the country store for groceries.

The buckboard also could be set up for team driving, which my friend started doing since her minis matched so well.

She got harnesses with collars for them because she thought they were cute. We were testing the ponies the day before the parade to see if they could tolerate wearing the big hats we'd made for the clown theme.

That was a fun one to dress up for. Someone gave me these socks and that was the only time I wore them. Here is a mini pile-up during the parade.


That was a fun parade.



We outdid ourselves sometimes making the manes fancy.



My papillon has always ridden in the carts with us. He believes he is superior to the other dogs, and rides like a human instead of running on the ground.


The heaven theme year was fun too.


Ponies are fun, we've also spent lots of time driving along the roads and on the beach on less fancy days. It'll be a process, but it starts with lunging, then introduce the harness and begin ground driving out and about. Next you have them drag things, and introduce turning into poles by holding PVC pipes inserted into the harness where you'd normally have shafts. Then they get used to having the rigid shafts along their bodies. Then you drive them while pulling the cart behind yourself, not attached to the harness. It's a little different for them to hear the rolling wheels and rattling.

After all this, you hook them up and lead them around with the cart, so you can calm them if they get scared. Once they can walk and trot around with the cart, you lead with someone sitting in the cart, and eventually, like riding a bike, you take off the training wheels and start driving. Someone walks at the head at first just in case.

When a horse bolts in harness, it's similar to under saddle (i.e. terrifying). You steer and try to stay on safe footing, and get slow enough to hop out if necessary so you can hold a line and run to the head. Jumping out of a moving cart is at least as difficult as getting off a running horse. Often impossible, but if you get down to a slow jog it can sometimes happen. You're not going to be able to make tight turns, and you don't want to hit things or get the wheels near a ditch or flip the cart. My friend was chased by dogs once when her pony was green, and flipped the cart in a ditch. Then you might break expensive things or have a hurt or stuck pony. They all were OK, but she had a lot of work getting the pony to where he didn't get scared about barking dogs.
 

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I sure enjoyed all your descriptions and pictures. I also used to drive and had a cart similar to the one in your first picture. I drove in several parades, and it was fun, but nerve-wracking. I felt less secure driving in parades than I felt when I was riding in parades.

I bought a racing sulky at Good Will for $100, and had fun with it. I ended up selling it because only one person can drive a sulky, and it was kind of lonely. Driving is such a friendly activity with other people sitting up there with you. I had sleigh runners, which I put on my cart when it snowed. It was easy to find folks who wanted to go for a sleigh ride.

One time, I had friends with me sleigh riding, and like the Jingle Bell song, we got into a snowbank ditch, and upset, dumped everybody out, but my horse was steady and calm, and we just righted it and climbed back in.

I gave up driving when a car came barreling over a hill and hit first my cart, knocking it sideways, and then hit my other driving horse. My horse bolted. When the car hit the cart, it knocked the wheel off, which caused the cart to flip and caught me under the cart as my horse galloped wildly out of control. I was trapped underneath losing all the skin on my body where it contacted the pavement.

Finally the cart hit a bump, freeing me. My horse tried to jump the fence back into our property, leaving the cart hanging on the fence. Incredibly traumatic for everyone involved, as you can imagine.

I tried 3 times to re-train my good driving horse. She'd do great until, each time at some point, she would PTSD and panic, just out of the blue. I hadn't gotten as far as hitching her to my repaired cart, so she mostly just smashed up her harness and whatever thing I had her pulling. The third time I gave up, repaired everything and sold it.

Many years later, my friend had a lovely driving pony on a camping trip, and offered me the opportunity to drive him for an hour or two. I often wondered if I could drive again, because, understandably, I had flashbacks and nightmares of being trapped under the cart and dragging along the pavement losing skin. I did fairly well, driving the pony, enjoying it, but not really longing to drive again. I kind of still do and kind of don't any more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #357 ·
Wow, @knightrider, what an insane accident. It's quite amazing you survived being dragged like that. I've seen videos and think people should be aware that driving accidents can be very bad, for both humans and horses. I can imagine it would be very difficult to get over that.

I've never been in a bad accident so far, only minor ones. But even though I like driving, I've known the horses I've had so far were unsuitable so never trained them. Amore was far too spooky and panicky. Halla could easily have been impossible to stop. Hero would most likely kick the cart. So far the indications are good that Aria will have the right temperament.

Today was my day off so I was able to do a lot of new things with Aria. We worked on hoof handling, having a saddle pad rubbed all over, leading exercises, our first lesson on lunging, and after I rode Hero I ponied her for about five minutes.

I've probably tried ponying Amore off Hero at least 15 times. He always refuses to move. He was willing to walk and pony Aria, and was slightly annoyed at times but not bad. The only thing I can figure out is that he believes it is OK to pony someone younger than yourself, but not someone older. They're supposed to pony you.

Forgot to say that today the HOA board approved a variance so we can live in the house we are buying, even though DH is only 54. Great news!
It's a big HOA with 650 homes, so there is a large area behind the gates where we can ride bicycles around the neighborhoods with minimal traffic. Sounds fun, and there are also a couple of pools and a tennis court.
 

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@gottatrot that is wonderful news about your new house. It must be a huge load off of your mind to know where you will rest your head!
re: driving. I have always thought I would like to learn to drive, but to me, it seems much more dangerous than riding. Reading about @knightrider 's accident was scary. My neighbors have mules that they drive. I will ask them to take me for a ride. That will have to be good enough.

Love hearing about Aria's progress. She is going to be a good little pony! Sounds like you are doing a great job.
 

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There was a western TV show that featured a stagecoach pulling into a station. What the camera didn't show was a large parking lot just beyond the "station". One day the horses panicked. Bolted, raced into the parking lot & dragged the stagecoach over a number of cars. Several of the horses died as did the guy driving the stagecoach. Reading that was the first time I realized driving horses could be very dangerous. Even if they are well trained and the driver is a professional. Riding can be as well. I suppose if a horse reaches that level of fear when you are riding, you could also go full speed into disaster. But riding seems less dangerous to me.
 

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I loved your pictures and descriptions too! I think you will do an excellent job at that and have a blast!

I got in a bad cart accident too when I was 11. Not nearly like @knightrider ‘s, but bad enough. It makes me overly cautious with Zeus and a bit fearful to be honest. Zeus is lovely and doesn’t have blinders, so that makes me feel a little better.

When I was 11 my mother was starting a horse to pull the cart I have now. She drove him around outside of the cart, and hadn’t put much time into getting him comfortable with it. She said she was nervous to get in, so I volunteered. When I did we found out immediately that a tire was flat (why we didn’t check I’ve no idea). It started to squeal. The horse panicked.

I tried my best to stop him as we ran across the fresh cut field. We were flying, me and that horse called Shorty. I decided there was going to be no stopping him, and I needed to jump somewhere like a quarter mile in to this wreck. Instead of jumping straight from where I was, I walked to the edge of the cart. When I did I flipped it. I was torn up pretty decently by all of the stems on the fresh cutting.

The horse continued to run in a panic, now dragging that cart on its side. With the grace of God the harness finally broke, probably a good half mile in. The cart was bent up, the horse was cut up, and I next remember being in the bath tub thinking about how little I thought about my weight tipping the cart, and how someone should always jump straight.

My family is super modest about nudity, and so when my father barged into the bathroom it wasn’t forgettable. He just had to see that I was alive, because he couldn’t believe it after the aftermath to the field and the cart and the horse. When I tell you he wasn’t happy... lol
 
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