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Discussion Starter · #361 ·
I paid close attention to Teddy's bad foot (the one with the crack) and I rasped it down a bit more today, and it looks good, but when I turned him out today I realized that his other front is also getting overly-long in the toe. His feet are weird to me -- when I do them from the bottom, they seem fine, but then when I look at then on the ground later I can always see that I'm leaving too much, here, there, maybe everywhere. His feet... I feel like the hoof wall grows down on part of his feet and out on part of his feet, and just weird all over. I guess I'll do the other one again next time. I probably need to just do them from the top. He doesn't really like that very much, but he'll usually hold still long enough that I can make a decent stab at it. I looked at the calendar, and there's still two weeks before the trimmer is going to come. So I need to do everyone's feet, again, really. Bleah.

I jumped Pony over an actual vertical jump today. It was just 19 inches, or 20 maybe, but still, it was an actual jump, not a crossrail. I did two in a row, a crossrail and then this jump. I was not 100% committed to the jump (working on that), and Pony could tell, so he started getting wiggly in front of it. Plus it was a narrow jump, maybe only 5-6 feet wide, so he would have had an easy time ducking out. BUT I realized ... if I let him duck out, I'm almost certainly going to fall off, whereas if we just do the jump I may or may not fall off. So I committed, and communicated that to him, and he did a really good job. We went over it a couple of times more, also. It's just possible that I might be starting to understand why people like to jump horses. It's also just possible that I might not be as scared of the jumps as I was. Maybe.

Nothing much else going on. I bought a bag of rye grass seed and have been tossing it out here and there before it rains. The stuff in Pony's tiny paddock is growing like crazy -- I try to be conscienscous about scooping his poop out of there, but I guess I must be leaving some of it, because that ground is obviously very fertil(ized). In contrast, the stuff I've planed in other areas is growing, but much more slowly. The stuff in the "front" area (Bermudagrass plus other grasses / weeds) is doing really well now, after the rain, so they have a lot of stuff they can graze. It's nice to see them grazing, since they don't really get any grazing in their pasture. I gave them all about an hour after my lesson ended.
 

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Discussion Starter · #364 ·
Trailering,trail riding, jumping ... you and Pony rock, AC!!
Honestly, I think it's like 80% him being an awesome Pony, or maybe even more, and 20% me doing my best to get in his way LOL.

We only did cross-rails yesterday. They were fairly low, but the good news is that they aren't intimidating me any more. To the point where I was able to concentrate on Pony's step and really setting him up nicely for the jump. The instructor gave me some really helpful advice, and for the first time I really felt what I needed to do with him. I needed to read the jump and then half-halt him a bunch of times in front of it, in order to get him on his hind end. And I actually FELT the difference, and FELT how much better he did over the jumps.

I worked on loading some more. I loaded Moonshine first this time, then Pony. This time he didn't back out, and I had lots of time to mess with the annoying butt bar until I finally got it closed, then I closed the door and let them eat for a while. The funny thing is, I had tied Pony so he wouldn't annoy Moonshine by trying to steal her food, but I didn't tie her. And she, to my immense surprise, kept trying to steal his food. She knows he is very much dominant over her, but she's also amazingly good at recognizing when a situation is to her advantage. So she was stealing bites every few seconds. Finally I had to put my fingers through the bars to keep her from coming over. Pony did paw after a while. So once he stopped, I took him out, then loaded and unloaded him about half a dozen more times, then I let them out.

The trimmer came on Friday, which was great. She had told me she wasn't going to be out until November 5, so I was getting ready to have to trim everyone over the weekend. And it was very hot and muggy and nasty, and I really didn't want to do it. The bad news is, the trimmer didn't do a very good job this time. She left Pony's heels too high, left flares on Teddy, and left Moonshine sore. I fixed Teddy's flares yesterday, and I will fix Pony's heels maybe this weekend, but Moonshine unfortunately just needs some time. Apparently the trimmer trimmed two other barns horses on Friday and the barn owner said both of them were tender afterwards. This trimmer did a good job the first time, so I'll give her another chance. Part of the problem with Moonshine may have been that I haven't been trimming her as regularly as I should have. I'll be sure and keep on top of it this time.

I think we're going to try for another trail ride next weekend. We may well put Moonshine in her boots this time. :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #365 ·
I fell off Pony today! It was funny and stupid and 100% not his fault. But to back up a bit...

When I got out there, it turned out that one of the instructors wasn't teaching because she had just had to drive someone to the ER (she got kicked), so the other instructor was going to have one big class. I decided to just do "fun" riding. "Fun" riding for me is something that Pony will enjoy because it's mostly easy and he will get rewards, and it's not too hard, but is a little different, so I enjoy it.

First we just walked around bareback / halter-lead rope. Then I rode him out along the long driveway and out into the verge next to the busy road. We did that four times, and he got half a cookie each time. We also practiced eating grass only when allowed. I rode him mostly in the grassy areas along the driveway, and I'd stop him and he'd have to wait until I gave the signal (drop reins and say "OK") to eat. He did very well with that, although he did pretty much attack the grass when he was "finally" allowed to eat it. You'd think I had starved him rather than ridden him for one minute then made him stand still for 10 seconds without eating.

Going back, I rode him in between some parked cars, which I thought might make him hesitate, but he had no problems. I rode him through some other weird areas, and although he did hesitate he also did go through once I asked. Then we went back to the arena and did some trotting. Then I decided to work on mounting bareback from random spots -- jumps, fences, walls, etc. He's great about being mounted when he has a saddle on, but something about being bareback, even in the bareback pad, makes him want to swing his butt away or step off when I try to mount. But he did really well today. We even got to where I'd let him stand a bit farther away from the object I was trying to mount from, and then I'd sort of scramble and climb onto him. This requires trust on both our parts -- I have to trust that he won't scoot away when I'm trying to transfer myself from a fence to his body when his body is over a foot away, and he has to trust that I won't do anything worse than that.

Finally, I took the bareback pad off because it was annoying me, and I really worked on my form at the trot. I think it's getting better. Then I thought, one last thing, I'll try standing on his back. Because why wouldn't I? I took off my boots because I didn't think boots on his bare back would be very nice for him. I gave him some alfalfa pellets so he'd know we were doing treat work, and I sort of tried a bunch of different ways to stand up. He was totally fine -- didn't move a muscle. But I couldn't figure out how to stand up from squatting on his back, as his fur is quite slick and my socks weren't helping, and his, umm, "Pony muscle" on his back is very jiggly and squishy when you try to stand on it. Basically, I was squatting on him when my balance just stopped balancing, and I very slowly slid off. Again, he just stood there, I guess waiting for a cookie or something. I thought it was pretty funny, falling off at a standstill.

I think Pony has the potential to be one of those horses who can do it all -- jump nicely, go on trails, do tricks, pull a cart, be a kids' horse, do parades, be ridden tackless, etc. It's why I'm always messing with him and doing stuff with him when I can. Plus he enjoys doing new things. And so do I! Until I fall off LOL.

I took ALL of Teddy's flares off! Even when I was looking at his feet afterwards in the pasture, I couldn't find any more flares. I may, finally, understand how his feet need to be trimmed. Also I think the flares may have been contributing to his hoof crack. It had gotten a lot better with repeated soaking, but then it got to where it just stopped getting better. I think the flares were creating leverage that was pulling it open again, and I'm hoping that now it can go back to getting better. And Moonshine's feet seem to be better. So all is good on the foot front, for once.

We're still aiming for next Sunday for trail ride # 2.
 

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Discussion Starter · #367 ·
Maybe I will try barefoot next time. And yes, I'm fine. I fell on my feet and then plopped on my butt, in very soft sand.
:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #368 ·
We rode out in the pasture bareback yesterday, my daughter and I, both of us just in halter/lead rope. Moonshine wore her boots. It was kind of funny, watching her walk over the poky-rocked driveway. She was cautious at first, and then didn’t seem to understand what was happening (“This is supposed to hurt!”). Then she started walking kind of funny, like maybe she was trying to figure out what was going on.

We agreed that I would open the gate from the ground, and go in with Pony, with daughter having mounted on the mounting block in the arena and walked over. Daughter didn’t think Moonshine would stand for being mounted from something weird in the pasture. Pony, however, was PERFECT! I lined him up with the fence, did a couple of “hooo”s with treats, then got on, while he stood as still as can be.

We didn’t do much, but we did want to go down the banks of the creek, across the creek (it’s mostly just a trickle and some mud), up the other side, and back. They were both great about it, even Moonshine, who hates water. There wasn’t much to do in the back part of the pasture, and also I realized it was all ragweed, so we cleared out of there pretty quickly. Back over the creek. I let Pony know that I wanted to cross the creek and then let him choose how to do it, and that worked out really well. We then walked around the front part of the pasture, but it was pretty boring, so we walked out the gravel driveway. They were both very good. The interesting thing I noticed is that when Moonshine is there, Pony pays less attention to me and more attention to Moonshine (She is, after all, the leader, although definitely not the boss, and of course she’s another horse plus she’s on the ground and he can see her). Not to the point that he wouldn’t listen to me, but I have to say I preferred going out there just the two of us. So I’m filing that away for further cogitation.

We also cleaned off their turnout sheets, since we’re expecting some wet and cold weather later in the week. Oh, and crossing muddy creek plus horse boots = big mess to clean up afterwards.

Today, Pony’s foot was warm. It was the same foot he had been lame on before. I took him out and lunged him both ways, and he seemed fine, but the instructor noticed that he was a little tender in the lesson. I hadn’t actually noticed. So I told her I would get off, and she was like, he’s just a LITTLE tender, you should keep riding him and see. But I don’t want him to think that I’m a person who makes him work when he’s in pain, so we went to the middle of the arena and he stood there while I practiced all sorts of balancing in two point. Then the other person in the lesson had a bad fall after a jump, so after it was determined that she was more or less OK, I left.

I wanted to do something with him, though, so I got out his harness to work on ground driving. He was fine with that. Actually, once we got to the arena and I started setting out the cones (I wanted something for him to aim for, since last time we did this his steering had gotten a lot worse) he was super excited. I left him in the middle, but he followed me around, picking up every cone after I put it down and looking at me for a treat. The third-to-last one I just left him there, because the point was ground driving, not picking up cones (even though I just love it when he picks up cones; it still cracks me up every time). I hoped that if he saw I wasn’t watching, he would stop thinking he was going to get a treat. I had walked halfway toward the other end of the arena before he realized he was being left behind, so he trotted to catch up. It’s just cute. I like when he follows me around.

Interestingly, he had a spook while we were working. He’s never spooked while in the harness, except for the terrible incident earlier in the year. It was something dumb, too – a horse in the paddock that bordered the arena just started cantering, and Pony spooked. I think there must have been something underlying, because that’s pretty atypical for him. I mean, yes, he can be spooky, but usually when other horses are acting up, he will look to me for guidance, not just spook. Anyways, he just jumped / cantered sideways a few steps, then turned to face me. I didn’t even lose the long lines. I was not hurt in any way, BUT it does remind me why people say to wear gloves when working with horses. If he had REALLY spooked, hard, and I had been trying to hold him, those ropes would have burned lines in my hands.

One thing he did that I liked. I took him out to the grassy area afterwards to take off his harness. He stood very still while I messed with the appropriate buckles and took it off, then as soon as it was off, he started grazing. I could have taken it off with him grazing, but it was awesome that he seemed to realize he was supposed to stand still for it.

He’s definitely regressed a little with ground driving. His steering isn’t as good, and he’s gone back to turning to face me if he gets really confused. So I think we have several sessions of just ground driving in front of us, before I try to introduce pulling again.

I sort of put off calling the lameness vet out last time because he got better. I mean, it was on my list of things to do, but not at the top. I’m going to get him out, though. I think it must be some sort of abscess that’s internal and just not healing. But we’ll see.

Final thought: I wrote a bunch here, then deleted. Basically, what I was trying to say is that I feel like Pony does what I ask because he WANTS to. He understands that he has a choice, and he chooses to do it. He's WILLING. He wasn't always. It took us a long time to get where we are. I think making him feel heard was really important to him. This sounds super cheesy, but when I was a kid dreaming about horses, and only knowing what I had read from children's books, I thought a horse could be spirited and willing at the same time. Now I know that that often is not the case (for instance, I cherish the lesson horses here, but they are all broken in spirit). But it is with Pony. I am blessed to have a Pony like him! Honestly I'm blessed to have all of them, because each of them has taught me so much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #369 ·
I am not smart

Going back over my old journal entries, I see I used to put a little title like the above, so I will try to go back to that. Plus "I am not smart" really needs to be bolded here LOL.

So, we washed their turnout sheets very thoroughly on Sunday, then hung them up to dry. It looked like there was some nasty cold / wet weather coming, so we would need them. I went out on Monday and they were all dry and ready to go. Yay, right? Wrong. I forgot to MOVE them from where I had hung them up to dry. I went out yesterday to put their sheets on, and I was just pulling into the long driveway when I realized that. And yes, they were totally soaking wet. Teddy's would dry out quickly, and I had a new one in the car that I hadn't yet used, but that was only two.

So I had to stall them. Poor Pony was shivering. I don't get it -- he has the thickest winter coat of all of them, he has, um, extra insulation, and he's a pony, which should mean that he can handle cold and wet. But he was the only one who was shivering. Luckily he stopped once I got him in a dry spot and started feeding him.

They all got an alfalfa hay party. Like, three big flakes each. And then I realized that even if I hadn't forgotten to bring in the sheets, the horses were so wet that it wouldn't have mattered. I stayed out there two hours and they all got drier, but none of them dried completely.

I went to turn them back out today. They seemed happy but calm, but I put on halters anyways because I was going to let them graze a bit while I cleaned their stalls. Everything was going fine, when I suddenly had the feeling that it was time to put them out into the pasture. So I get my baling twine and walk out there, and I see Teddy trotting up from where he had been grazing. So I start going up to him to get him, and then Pony sees that Teddy is gone (they had been grazing together) and canters over to where we are. I get him to stop and decide to get Moonshine, who's right there, but then Pony canters off and gets Teddy and Moonshine worked up. He's now cantering and bucking. So, I get him to stop, again, and put him into this little paddock that borders one of the arenas. It's sort of horseshoe-shaped, as it goes around three sides of the arena.

He starts zooming around in there like nuts, but Teddy calms down because there is now a fence between them. So I go to get Moonshine and walk her over to the pasture gate. I can see Pony zooming around like a crazy Pony. I see him zooming back and forth down one side, and then down the other side. I start messing with the lock. And then I see him zooming, except he's not in the paddock any more. THE GATE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE PADDOCK HAD BEEN LEFT OPEN and now he was out again. Oh boy, is he happy zoomy Pony. He zooms up to Teddy and gathers him up, and the both come running over to where I now have the gate partially unlocked. Then I see that the two other ponies in that pasture had been left out, and they are now zooming over toward the gate. Even the old lesson mare is bucking and kicking. Pony and Teddy stop at the gate, very snorty. I get the gate unlocked, through it open, block the two in the pasture and sort of try to usher my guys all into the open gate.

Somehow, that works. Moonshine, to her credit, realizes that she's still connected to me (I was using the baling twine as a lead rope, attached to her halter) and doesn't just run away, but I pull out the baling twine and shoo her then she runs off. I slam the gate shut. They are all zooming around, bucking and kicking and having a great time.

(I guess I should have just put them out in the pasture to begin with, but I guess I was also thinking that they'd like to have some grazing time.)

I stayed out there for a bit because it was nice watching them. Pony played with one of the other ponies and I watched them. Teddy came up to me and stood there, occasionally putting his nose on me. That's pretty unusual for him, so I stayed there. I had my back to him. Pony wanted to come up too, but I get the feeling Teddy was sending out "stay away" vibes, because Pony kept looking at me, and sort of leaning forward, then Teddy and sort of leaning back. I turned around to look at Teddy but I couldn't see him making any faces.

I guess that's way more words than needs to be written on zooming, but ugh if I had gotten to Teddy one minute sooner, the whole thing wouldn't have happened. I hate it when they get zoomy in the inside area, especially when it's wet -- it tears up the grass and is not safe for them. Next time I'll just put them straight out into the pasture.

Also, note to self about "next time" -- next time it's super rainy and wet, take the darn truck, not the stupid Civic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #370 ·
Mostly I'm posting today because I finally took some pictures. I was curious what Pony would think if I were lying down. I laid down near him and told him, "I'm dead now, what do you think?" He looked a little surprised and then came over and sniffed me cautiously. I'd like to think he was worried and would have tried to help somehow (except that his "help" probably wouldn't be that helpful) but honestly I think he was just wondering, now that I'm lying down, where are the cookies?

I took some pictures of Moonshine's face when I itched her. She was super itchy today. Honestly, it's almost indecent how much she enjoys being itched. I don't think you can quite tell from the pictures -- she sticks her head out as far as she can, and her lips get super twitchy and her nostrils flare and flare.

Pony was great in his lesson today. We did a lot of crossrails and some of the ones that are just diagonal. I also did a bending line of cross-rails. I don't know why, but I've always had problems with bending lines. But today it was super easy. He's a very willing and hard-working Pony, and he got lots of alfalfa pellets afterwards.

The vet is supposed to come for him on Monday.

I rasped Moonshine's heels down (the trimmer REALLY did not do a good job last time), rasped Pony's fronts again (I appreciate her helpful advice about his fronts though), and rasped one of Teddy's feet that is growing weird. I've learned that if I kneel down on one knee and put their foot on my leg, it's a lot less tiring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #371 ·
We went on another trail ride today but it didn't go so well. On the bright side, I wasn't QUITE as nervous driving them, and I didn't miss my exit (possibly because once we got within a mile of it I kept repeating out loud "don't take the first exit, don't take the first exit).

But Pony seemed more nervous than before. Moonshine was better than before, though. But... after about 10 minutes Pony started feeling "off" to me, and in another five minutes I was sure of it. So I got off him and we all turned around and walked back.

My daughter was still riding Moonshine, and eventually they got far enough ahead of us and around a bend that Pony couldn't see her any more. You could see his head slowing creeping up and up and up, until finally he let out an enormous whinny ("Where are you????") which of course Moonshine did not deign to respond to ("I am the queen, I don't answer calls"). But I called my daughter back and then we all stayed together.

Something kind of ... funny? I mentioned on my last trail ride that at a certain point near the end it seemed like something was really bugging him, and all the sudden he did an enormous shake, like a wet horse. Well, he did the same thing in the same spot this time. I wonder if it's coincidence or if we're somehow going through some sort of tiny bugs or something over there.

No one spooked at the scary rock this time, BUT Moonshine did spook at a feed bag we had left propped up against the picnic table next to the little pens. It was pretty silly -- it's a bag for beet pulp, which the barn uses, and I take empties for my personal use, like holding manure in, and she's see these bags hundreds if not thousands of times, in every possible position and place. The good news is my daughter didn't fall off this time.

Oh, and when we got to the place, I realized I hadn't attached the emergency brake cord (I mean geez), and then I realized on top of that that the clip to attach it to the truck was gone. Baling twine to the rescue!
 

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It's strange, but having sat on many horses that did the dog shake, there are two types. The first type seems to somehow contract their muscles before they shake, and so you sort of hover there while they shake and it doesn't affect you much. The second type makes everything on their body move along with them, and so you get thrashed back and forth while holding for dear life onto the saddle until they're done. I much prefer the first type of shaker!

I hope you can figure out what is going on with Pony.
 

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Discussion Starter · #374 ·
The vet came out today. He did a lot of tests. No signs of laminitis (phew) and no signs of navicular. It is definitely his feet though. I was shocked to learn that his soles are fairly thin. Vet said he was a little tender in the toe area of both fronts. He said I can use the hoof boots when I need to. He thinks it will clear up on its own, once the weather is a little more settled.

I'm thinking I will also look at his feet again and see if I need to bring his heels down more. I already brought them down a bit, because the trimmer left them too high IMO.

Also, the vet said Pony is not fat, he is just pony sized. LOL. He actually used the phrase pony sized. OK maybe he had a sort of smile on his face when he said it, but still...
 

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When Queen shook yesterday and today I thought of you. She is in @gottatrot’s second category. When she is big I imagine she will shake the daylights out of me. She surprises me still, because she has never rolled. So, shaking the saddle and brushing and a good scratch are the only ways the mare itches, and so she itches something crazy. I’ve never seen a horse love a brushing as much as she.
 

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Discussion Starter · #377 ·
After the millionth time of someone telling me the same thing in different ways, @gottatrot 's comment about making sure to address Pony's breakover, along with his tall heels, finally made me realize that yes I need to think about breakover. Different people explain breakover in different ways, and some farriers just put the breakover in but either don't recognize that it's breakover or don't really talk about it. I think that's been part of my confusion. But I pulled his toe back and rasped in a breakover. Then I rode him and looked at him again and you couldn't even tell I had done it, so I did the same thing again. I think you can tell now. I've been applying thrushbuster as well. He seems to be OK now. We'll see.

I jumped him over a vertical on Saturday that didn't have any standards. He wanted to duck out, but I kept him in, so I was happy with that. But today I cantered a whole course of cross-rails on him -- our first time! We did it twice, and then I was like, we can be done. I am not sure, because I don't have any video, but I think I'm getting a lot better with knowing when to get into two-point. I haven't fallen off yet. I mean, on jumps.

I might have another person to ride Moonshine. She just started taking lessons here, but she's an ex-horse owner who has kids now and can't afford more than one lesson per week. She was in my lesson today, on a lesson horse, and I thought she did a really good job. She did the crossrails but told me she'd really rather just do flat work. Which is perfect for Moonshine. I told her we can talk to the barn owner when she gets back, but I was thinking she could ride Moonshine in a couple of lessons, and if they did well then she could ride her once a week on her own.

I did her front toes today and I felt pretty good about it afterwards.

Oh, I walked Pony past something new -- an ambulance with lights flashing, and a couple of stretchers laid out next to it. He was a little leery but otherwise fine. It was unfortunate, though, as you can probably imagine. They had a fall fest at my barn and they were jumping out in the field and someone fell off. It was a bad fall, obviously, although I'm told she only had a mild concussion. We were out there watching, on Pony and Moonshine, but I didn't see what happened. It was like, she was doing fine, then I blinked, and she was on the ground.

The four of us had done a "pair pace" trotting over the crossrails in the arena, then we walked the horses over to watch the event. Our barn was right on the way so my daughter had to fight with Moonshine ("We're at the barn! We're done!") to get her to keep going. I just gave Pony a little squeeze and he accepted moving past. We also walked them through a bunch of festivities during the event and they were fine. I'm always happy to be able to expose them to new things, especially Pony.
 

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Discussion Starter · #378 ·
Not much actual horse stuff going on the past few days. We drove to Dallas for Thanksgiving. I have been getting in contact with other horse boarding places in the area, and it does seem like I'd have at least a couple of options, even with three horses, but I will need to go a little farther out of town.

I went for a walk today. Dallas and surrounding cities have a very clever way of dealing with large creeks and small rivers IMO. They seem to delineate a flood plain and then close that area for development (they get a lot of flooding). Then they run utilities through the corridor, and often they put parks there. I went for a walk on one of them today. This place doesn't officially allow horses, but if I lived here I'd ride my horses out there. Because, they don't forbid them either. There are nice wooded trails and also mile-long straightaways. Look at this picture! Those poles are the giant power lines, so imagine how far the line of sight is here -- and it keeps going past where you can see it, too. I can just imagine cantering down that whole way.

Actually I can't, because no one is in that kind of shape right now, but in my little fantasy I'd come out here all the time and canter Pony up and down and really get him into shape. I mean, you could canter for minutes at a time in a straight line out there, and it's all just grass...
 

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Discussion Starter · #379 ·
Ooh, here's an example of what I can do when I have time off from work!

It's a totally life-like rendition of what this would look like if I were riding it and taking a picture over Pony's ears! Now, you can see how awesome it would be!
 

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