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Discussion Starter · #401 ·
I loaded Teddy again today. I was hoping for 29 minutes or less, but of course you never know, horses regress, too.

First of all, there was this lady there who I had talked to before about her horse being a bad loader. Last time they loaded her, it took five people an hour to get her loaded (she told me). I looked at this lady's trailer and thought, "I wouldn't want to load in that either," but I didn't say anything. She was out there today and I told her if she wanted to practice in my trailer she could. I thought her horse might load better in there. So... I went somewhere else and kept an eye on her. It took her five minutes by herself and her horse loaded. She backed her out and the loaded again -- less than two minutes.

So then it was Teddy's turn. We had an early mis-step -- I put too much pressure on him right at the beginning and he planted his feet, but then I relaxed and asked in a no-pressure way. Or I guess low pressure. So we arranged ourselves like before (see picture), with him with two feet on the ramp and smelling the trailer and pawing the ramp. And me not letting him turn his head away. And after just five minutes, I felt it him get ready, and then he walked on. We walked right off and he got a cookie. I loaded him again right away. One small hesitation and then he walked right on. I was going to give him a break, but he wanted more cookies LOL so I loaded him again, with no hesitation. Then I took off his lead rope and asked him to follow me onto the trailer at liberty, and he did. I didn't think we could really top that, but he wanted more cookies, so this time I led him in and then asked him to stop inside the trailer. I then offered him a cookie, which he ate. I mentioned it yesterday, but he won't eat in the trailer, he's too worried about what's going to happen. But he took one! We loaded one more time after that, but then I was done.

I don't want to go so far as to say that his loading problems are over, but I understand now better what he needs (patience; no pressure) and he understands that the trailer isn't actually that bad. I think I need to write a testimonial to my trailer manufacturer. This other lady was looking the trailer all up and down and asking me where I got it, how much I paid, etc. Now she's thinking of getting one. I wonder if I will get a commission?
 

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Discussion Starter · #402 ·
I went to see them briefly on Friday. It was decided, sort of last minute, that since my parents were already in Houston with my brother and his family (my dad had two weeks of rehab to do), everyone would go to Galveston for Christmas. The thing is, last Christmas Eve (which is my B-Day) we didn't have to go anywhere due to Covid, so I got to spend all day with the horses. I would have liked to do that this time, too, but I realize that I need to take advantage of what time I have left with my parents. So as a compromise I went out there early and hung out with them for a couple of hours, and then my husband and daughter came over, moved stuff to my car, and we left from there, leaving his car at the barn. The barn is more or less on the way to Galveston.

Anyways, I didn't want to let them in because I didn't have a lot of hay for them and I didn't have a lot of time, either, so I brought a stool and went and sat out in their pasture with them. They were pretty confused by that LOL. But they all came over to hang out with me. Pony came first, but then Teddy came and gently wedged himself between Pony and me, so Teddy got to hang out. I am OK with them moving each other around when I'm there as long as it's very gentle and everything stays at a walk.

Teddy stood over me for a while like he was guarding me, which was sweet. Eventually Moonshine wandered off to where the hay was and after a while he followed her. Then Pony was like, "Ah HAH! Now it's me and hooman lady time!" Rather than standing in front of me like he was guarding me, like Teddy did, he stood behind me and put his head on my head. Which was pretty cute until he started nibbling a little. I think just with his lips, but still. So I head-butted him. He didn't like that, but you know what, neither did I LOL. Of course he came back. I tried to take some pictures, but once the camera comes out he stopped putting his head on my head and wanted to check out the camera. Here's a bunch of selfies I took. I forgot I had my mask on for the first ones (it's pollen season again and the mask helps a bit), but they are still cute. Here they are.

Eventually Teddy came back and re-claimed his place, then he wandered off again. Pony stuck around the whole time, even though I didn't have any treats for him. Now THAT is loyalty!
 

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Discussion Starter · #403 ·
Went out again today and picked up the trailer (I need to practice driving it more). I worked on loading Teddy again. There was maybe the tiniest hesitation ever the first time, but otherwise he walked right on with me. I kept him on a loose lead rope. Then I decided to try what I thought would be the next hard thing, which is actually STAYING in the trailer. I was right -- he didn't like that too much. He, I wouldn't say he tried to walk out past me, but he definitely indicated with his head that he was ready to go. That was after like five seconds LOL. So I pushed him back a bit, had him wait, and gave him a cookie. We did this a few times, then unloaded, then did it again. Also I changed the configuration of the trailer from having the divider swung over to having it fixed in the center. To my surprise, that didn't bother him at all.

So I feel good because he's loading OK and now I know what we need to work on. Maybe next time I'll load Moonshine first and let her eat on her side, and then load him and see if he's more willing to stay.

I loaded Pony a couple of times, too. I think his opinion about the trailer sort of swings back and forth, but today he was happy with it. He finally realized that the hay bag has feed in it too, and that all of the hay that's left is the soft leaf bits that fell out from last time (we have solid hay bags, not netted). The last time I loaded Teddy, Pony was already up the side ramp trying to eat the food, and I had to shoo him out. Then after I put Teddy back in his stall, Pony went up the back and just sat in the trailer eating.

We went and got some hay afterwards -- the barn owner was supposed to get some alfalfa in but didn't, and both she and we are completely out. I "only" got eight bales, as I don't have any place to store more than that at the barn, and even that may be hard to find room for. But look how little space it took up in the trailer! I figure I could get 24 bales in there easy without even getting up to the level of the padding. That's really good to know. I put two bales against the bulkhead, and I think with the extra space I ordered in the trailer, I can keep them in there permanently (the horses will still fit, no problem). I might do that. Good to have some food in there just in case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #404 ·
We had a disappointing trail ride today. Pony didn't pull up lame, but he was anxious the whole time. I ended up getting off near the end because he was so tense.

We have never seen any other riders out at this park the other times we've gone out (and I include the times I've gone out just for hiking), so I was shocked when there were maybe eight horse trailers in the parking lot today. I was able to get parked, which was good. We had our two in their pens for a few minutes when some riders came back. I asked if they were all together and she said no. So I guess everyone somehow had the same idea today.

I think it's the other horses that got Pony worked up, although I don't really know why. He called to them several times, although they didn't answer that I could hear. But it seemed like the whole ride, he was trying to detect the other horses that were out there. He was super looky, then sniffing the ground, then listening, then looking. There were a lot of hikers out foo, and dogs as well. So who knows if it was just the horses. By the time we got back from a maybe thirty minute ride entirely at the walk, he was soaked with sweat. I hosed him off and sweat scrubbed him, but he wasn't really hot, so I think it must have been mostly, what, anxiety? excitement? I am not sure. But I didn't like it and he didn't either.

Then he wouldn't drink from the water we brought. We brought barn water in their normal big bucket, but he wouldn't drink any of it. He didn't drink anything when we got back either. So I am also hot happy about that. Usually he's good about drinking.

I guess the one slightly bright note is that I felt somewhat more confident on the drive back, hauling them. But then, LOL, I started worrying that I was becoming TOO confident. Having that edge or worry seems like it makes my senses sharper and reflexes better.

I don't know. We're both tired. My daughter pointed out that we spent most of the day on a trail ride that lasted half an hour. She said she had a good time, though. Me, I still feel like I'm just surviving. Hopefully if we keep doing this enough, it will get to be something that Pony and I actually enjoy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #405 ·
We had a better day today. To get my daughter more interested in the lesson, I brought stuff for some working equitation obstacles and let her set up a course. We got the jousting ring thing set up, which of course was the coolest part. But actually all of it was a lot of fun. The idea was, somewhat, to force her to ride Moonshine from her legs rather than her hands, as we had them both in halter and clip-on reins. If she had to use her hands, she was supposed to neck rein. So we had the jousting ring thing, a switch cup thing where we had the horses go out and do a turn on the forehand and come back in, and a slalom thing with cones. She had set up a thing where you'd take the pole out of one barrel and put it in another, but we sort of forgot about the putting it in the other part. We did combine picking up the pole and the ring. It was very challenging but doable. We started at the walk and moved up to the trot. I don't think I would have enough control to be able to canter that.

I do think I personally got a decent amount out of it. I definitely had to ride from my legs, and that was super good for me. Also I cantered while neck reining for the first time ever. It was actually pretty easy. I think the reason I had been concerned before was that when I was neck reining I was also always bareback, and today we rode in saddles, so I didn't have the issue of being bareback in front of me. Actually I wish I had done it a bit more. But the instructor, who was willing to work with us, had me canter and then stop as short as possible to get the cup to transfer, and then stop, and then canter out from a standstill, and Pony did it. Which was cool. He did everything I asked. I think he was having a really good time. He seemed super interested and engaged. It wasn't very hard work, really, which was good because it was warm and muggy today and no one felt like working hard.

Moonshine, I think overall liked it. She wasn't having any of that riding from the legs business, or at least not much. But I don't know if it was having a clear goal, or doing something different, or not having the bit, but she seemed a lot more relaxed overall.

The instructor seemed like she thought it was really cool, so I offered her to get on Pony and ride the "course" that we had made: slalom cones, ground pole + crossrail, canter to cup, stop, pick up cup, turn on forehand, replace cup, trot out, pick up pole, pick up ring with pole. She seemed to really like it.

The only sort of bad thing is that really I feel like I should be taking advantage of these smaller lessons to work on jumping; but my daughter and Moonshine aren't going to jump, and my daughter is getting bored with riding otherwise I think, and I'm trying to find something we can both do. IDK, it may be time to start thinking that we need separate lessons. That would stink though.



It was time to de-worm them afterwards. I got the deworming paste last week and was sort of putting off doing it because Teddy is not good a being dewormed. I spent some time trying to think how I could use a similar patience-based approach like I used to get him into the trailer, but I couldn't really think of anything. So my daughter did Moonshine and I did Pony, and they were both slightly better than last time. Both of them get a little better each time.

For Teddy, he was out grazing so I went out and put the halter and lead rope on and gave him a cookie and then showed him the dewormer. I guess he could smell it, because he was like "Oh no, not that!" Long story short, I ended up getting my treats fanny pack, which has cookies and alfalfa pellets, and taking him over to one of the arenas. I sat on the mounting block and just waited. If he put his nose or mouth on the dewormer, he got a treat or praise. I didn't force anything, but he didn't get to walk off either. He tried a couple of times, and I just made him circle and come back. He got closer and closer, even putting in his lips. So I decided, that's it, he's going to do it. I took the lead rope off (but didn't tell him I did LOL or I'm sure he would have left) just in case he reared (he rears for deworming just like for trailering, although not as bad). And next time, I just unloaded the tube into his mouth.

Of course he didn't like it. But the kind of funny thing is, he opened and closed his mouth a lot like they do when they are trying to spit something out, and the alfalfa pellets came out but none of the dewormer did. Ha! So I successfully dewormed him with no rearing. It only took 5-10 minutes.

There is a pellet-based dewormer that he actually loves, but it doesn't have Ivermectin in it, and based on what came out of Pony's butt (plus I hadn't used the Ivermectin-based one last time), I had to use the Ivermectin one.

This was the first time I'd say I had been successful deworming Teddy. I have done it before, but it was always really ugly (I mentioned the rearing) and I usually ended up with more paste on me than in him. So that was good. The kind of bad thing about deworming is, it's not like trailering where they are just afraid of the situation but once you show them it's OK they will probably relax and not have any more problems. I mean, once Teddy loaded, he realized loading wasn't bad, and now he is starting to learn that being in the trailer isn't bad. Because he goes in there and nothing bad happens. But with the dewormer, you can't convince them that nothing bad will happen, because something bad WILL happen -- they will get a mouth full of nasty paste. I know some people put yummy stuff in the tube and get their horses used to it that way, but I have tried it with Teddy and it never worked. So, next time I have to deworm him with the paste, we will probably be back to square one. But, at least I have an approach that works now.

Deworming was the last thing I had failed to do with Teddy. First was the vet and the farrier, which I think we've gotten over, then trailering, where we are on the way to getting over it, and now deworming. He was getting a lot better about being ridden, too, before his physical problems led me to stop riding him. So, I don't want to jinx myself, but finally I feel like I am not a failure as a horse owner. I mean, I don't think of it as harshly as all that, but I did feel like there wasn't any reason I shouldn't be able to get him to do these things --I just wasn't able to do it. So I had failed to get him to do what I should have been able to get him to do. But now we've worked through it all. So I feel better. Now I just have to get Pony used to going on trail rides.

One last thing, about Teddy. Randomly the other day some little girl told me that she loved him, and her little sister thought he was the sweetest horse in the world. I have no idea why these two think that, or how much they have interacted with him, since they have no reason to interact with him aside from maybe going in their pasture (?), but it's nice. I told them I also think he's the sweetest horse. Maybe it's his face that got them. I wish I could capture that look on his face -- hopeful, worried, timid, shy, wanting to trust but not sure if he can -- with those big brown eyes. It is a heart-melting look. At any rate, I remember when I got him how he'd run away from everyone, and he's obviously not doing that any more, so that's good.
 

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The horse riding camp I went to recently, the lady who took it previously had a working student position for a NZ dressage rider. They went to Portugal for a while and did some workshops with working equitation people there. Anyway, she showed us some Youtube videos of working equitation in Portugal and they do have jumps in the higher up levels. I can't find the specific videos she showed us, but like this one has a little jump at the end:

 

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Discussion Starter · #410 · (Edited)
(Thanks for the videos @MeditativeRider. I particularly liked the first one. I was pretty amused by how the horses jumped in both videos -- these are definitely not jumpers LOL.)

I had a nice moment with Moonshine yesterday. It was my last day off work, so after I went to see them and put them back in the pasture, I decided to spend more time just hanging out with them out there, since I won't have time now. Moonshine, of all of them, came up to me and asked to be scratched. I gave her some good scratches but she didn't go into the paroxysms of ecstasy like she normally does, so I thought maybe I wasn't doing it where she wanted. But she kept asking, and moving around to show me where she wanted scratching. It was just a low-key scratching she wanted, I guess. What she did do was get a very droopy lower lid and keep closing her eyes lightly. So I just kept scratching her gently, moving around as she wanted. I sort of leaned on her while doing it and it sort of turned into hugging her with one arm and scratching with the other. It was surprisingly nice, given how aloof she usually is, and the fact that the two of us don't really usually connect, and we did that for maybe 15 minutes or so?

After that I moved on to Pony. He was just half-dozing in place, so I went next to him and just squatted on the ground and we stayed like that for 15-20 minutes. I probably would have stayed longer, but it's the middle of cedar (pollen) season here, so I have to limit my time outdoors. (Note that I started taking allergy drops this summer and I do think they are helping with the cedar).

Teddy just got a hug. He was eating hay with Moonshine, who walked over to the bale once she realized the scratching was over, and one of the ponies. I could have sat on the round bale, which I've done before, but I was still worried about the pollen, so he just got the hug and I left.

It was a very low-key day. The only thing is Moonshine stomped one of the barn cats. Not on purpose (probably). This cat is really needy (I want to just take him home honestly, but my husband doesn't want to have a cat again) and rubs all around me and also the horses hooves when I'm picking them. I have to shoo him out of the way and make sure he stays shooed before I let them put their hooves down. Yesterday I guess I mis-calculated where Moonshine's hoof and the cat were going, and she put it down (hard) on the end of his toe. He ran away but wasn't limping afterwards, so I guess he's OK. He didn't learn though -- he was back to it when I was trying to rasp Pony's hooves. If he comes near Pony's head, Pony makes stink face at him and makes him leave, but otherwise he's very tolerant. I don't know if I mentioned this, but this is the same cat who eats their feed. And their feed is just hay pellets, oats, peas, and sunflower seeds, so why does this cat eat it? I think that's why Pony makes the stink face at him. I imagine that Pony feels, reasonably, that he doesn't eat cat food so cats shouldn't try to eat his food. Pony's feed is sacred and even a cute kitty doesn't get to eat it.

ETA: I forgot to mention it's been cold the last few days, and they were all fuzzed up yesterday! I love it when they are fuzzed up! Nothing better than leaning into a nice soft warm fuzzy Pony butt!
 

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Discussion Starter · #412 ·
The guilty party, now stealing Moonshine's feed bucket...
 

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Discussion Starter · #413 ·
I had two good lessons. On Wednesday, something finally clicked and I finally was able to do a sitting canter without bonking poor Pony's back every stride. The instructor had me two-point for three strides and sit for three strides. She's had me do this before, but it never helped anything. On Wednesday, however, I don't know, something happened and now I understand how it's supposed to feel.

I had a bit of a panicky moment today. After reading through @ClearDonkey 's post about her horse colicking. I brought all of my horses in like usual before my lesson and put them in stalls to feed them because it was very cold and drizzling. I did some work, then went to the main barn to go to the bathroom. When I came back, Pony was sitting quietly in his stall. You know, not lying down flat out, just sitting. His eyes were wide open and his ears were pointed back. Not hard, just like he was thinking about something back there. He didn't seem stressed out otherwise, and his breathing was normal. He had just had a really nice poop. But I sat with him for almost 15 minutes and he didn't get up. I should note that in the almost four years I've had him, he's sometimes sat down after being ridden but never before. So I went to find the instructor. She came over and listened and heard gut sounds and didn't see anything obviously wrong with him. So she made him stand up and I got him ready for the lesson.

First of all, he was super responsive to my leg yields. I was imagining that it was somehow because his stomach hurt and he was trying to get away from the pressure, but the instructor promised that he didn't look like he was in pain. She had just shown me, for the millionth time, how to PROPERLY use my leg for pressure, and just like on Wednesday, I think it suddenly clicked. Because it felt uncomfortable to me, but he really moved off nicely. I know he CAN move off nicely to leg pressure, but I haven't been able to get consistent results. Today he was awesome.

My daughter skipped the lesson again, so I set up a course of cross rails for myself. Well, four. Low cross-rails and one very low vertical. The instructor was like, no no no and changed them all to verticals, and not low ones either. She was like, he can jump that no problems. To which I responded, yes HE can, but I'm not sure I can.

But it went great! We jumped all of them! A whole course of verticals, multiple times, in both directions. We had some jumps that weren't too pretty, but I also started feeling how to manage his step over them. It was easier with the cross-rails because I wasn't also worried that he'd duck out on those, but you know what, he didn't even think about ducking out on the jumps either. I pointed him at the jump and he jumped it. Whatever it was. I was super happy. We had a short lesson because we started late due to him being down and we ended early because I wanted to end on a good note for both of us, but I was really happy with what we did.

We also talked about how she likes to put riders on him because he takes things so very literally, so if they are over-cuing, or their hips are off balance, or they are leaning over, he reacts exactly to what they are doing so it's easy to figure out where their problems are and then fix them. She also said that she wasn't sure he'd ever be a good Pony for true beginners because he has "too much personality" LOL. I for one appreciate his personality and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Seems like almost every lesson or every other lesson right now, I am struck by how good he is. I am sure I've said it before, and I will probably say it again, but I'm glad I stuck with him through all the trials and tribulations. He is a wonderful Pony now, and surely a rebuttal against the argument that ponies are evil. Sure, you have to be willing to listen to him and consider his point of view --he won't just mindlessly do whatever you say-- but shouldn't riding be a partnership anyways?
 

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Discussion Starter · #414 ·
Yesterday my daughter and I went out for a fun day. We had been scheduled to haul the horses to a new barn for a trial lesson (combine seeing a potential new boarding barn with giving the horses and easy and short haul) but that fell through, so we set up some of our WE obstacles.

We both got the jousting ring at the canter. Moonshine and my daughter stared with their pole and then picked up a canter and did it. Pony and I picked up the pole at the stop, and then cantered off from a stop. I don't know why, but I find cantering from a stop to be super fun.

We also made up an exercise where we passed the wooden circle from one pole to another at a walk, as we came in on opposite directions. We did a surprisingly good job. Maybe we should have tried it at a trot also. We did some leg yields as well. My daughter is right -- Moonshine can do a perfectly good leg yield off reasonable leg pressure, but she just doesn't want to do it to stay on the rail. So leg yielding her around the inside of the arena is fine, but on the outside not so much.

Another thing we made up was mounted sword fight -- we very carefully and slowly whacked at each other with our sticks. I started thinking that Pony might make a good war Pony, but the thing is every time we stopped, and a couple of times when we were actually doing it, he tried to eat the stick. Which would probably not be the best thing if it were an actual weapon. :p

Oh, and we also got a water obstacle -- a pipe had burst and part of that arena was flooded. Pony didn't mind --he doesn't typically have a problem with water -- but Moonshine was surprisingly good about it.

After that we went to the other arena that has deeper footing and cantered them while neck reining (we had once again done the exercise in a halter and lead rope or clip on reins) and they both did pretty well. Moonshine actually seemed happy for once, which is great.

So that was nice. Everyone had a good time.

We rescheduled the haul out lesson for this coming Sunday.
 

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Discussion Starter · #417 ·
I am ticked off. It's been really dry here lately. Today was fairly windy, and tomorrow it's supposed to be sustained winds 25-30 mph with gusts possibly up to 50 mph. I was out there today, riding Pony with the neck rope, when I saw -- FIRE! A lot of it! A lot of smoke, too. Coming from the property next door, less than 100 feet from my barn's property line.

I yelled for the barn owner, who was teaching a lesson. We both called 911. I walked over to the property line and I could see that these IDIOTS were DELIBERATELY trying to burn a pile of brush! And it looked like it had gotten away from them, too.

When I called the fire dept they said it had already been reported and they were on their way, but it still took about 10 minutes for them to actually get there. It made me realize why distance to the fire dept is so important! Anyways, they got there and spent a lot of time hosing down the blaze. I really, really hope they turned it over, too, and hosed it again, so there are no hot embers. Not only could the winds be up to 50 mph tomorrow, they will also be blowing toward my barn.

I will say, I had taken the truck out there today to bring the trailer home, and it was already connected when I saw the fire. I was was like, you know what, I'm ready to go. I can load them and be out of here in five minutes. THAT felt good. But, I can tell you I was calling those people every name in the book.
 

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Discussion Starter · #418 ·
In which I join the dark side. And almost kill a man.

We finally got around to hauling out for a lesson at this potential new boarding barn. I wonder if we will ever be able to get ready in less than an hour. It didn't seem like we were wasting any time, and the trailer was already hooked up, but it still took us that long to get loaded and ready.

Pony was being a butt. I'm thinking about taking away their hay bags that are in there. He kept snapping at Moonshine through the head divider. I think it was food-motivated. It's a normal tubular steel divider so he can't even reach her, but he tries anyways and then she sort of flinches back and the whole trailer rocks. It really ticked me off, and it's just not helping anything, you know? So when he started doing it before we left I left the side ramp window open and kept popping my head in there and yelling at him. It settled him down a bit, and once we started moving he was OK. Then we left the place and my daughter realized we (meaning I) had forgotten to lock the gate. So I pulled into the storage place next door and asked her to run back and close it. Waiting there, Pony started being a butt again so I got out and went back and banged the side of the trailer and yelled at him. It quieted him down. Then we got going, but got stuck at a stoplight, and he started doing it again. This time I could only roll down the driver's side window and yell at him, but it worked. I'm sure people were like "crazy person."


But here's how I moved over to the dark side. Me being really ticked off at him made me forget about my anxiety driving them. I was SO annoyed at him, it just blocked out everything. That lasted half the drive, until the road quality got really bad and I was driving like 30 mph in a 50 with cars stacked up behind me and nowhere for them to pass. Then I started getting anxious again.

We took them out at the new place and used our new tying system to tie them to the trailer. Pony was very looky but good. I took everyone's recommendations and tied them to the high ties and the hay to the lower ties. And kept the ramp doors closed so they wouldn't hurt themselves.

This lady apparently has a hundred dogs, and they started circling over and barking at us. I had to assume that they were well-behaved or surely she would have told us, right? One of them, that looked like a husky, was the boldest. I stood between him and Pony. But Pony was like "let me at 'im" and tossing his head up and down meaningfully at the dog. The dog eventually came over and smelled me and smelled our tack, but kept a respectful distance to Pony, who was still letting the dog know that he'd be happy to take a chunk out of him. The dog obviously understands horse. None of the others approached. We go them tacked up.

They were really good in the lesson. Mind you this is the fourth time we've hauled them anywhere. The lady thought they seemed very relaxed. Although Pony was still a bit looky. Also, at first he wanted to follow Moonshine rather than pay attention to me. Like, we'd be stopped, and then Moonshine would start trotting around the arena, and he decided he'd follow her. That was obviously not OK so we had a brief discussion about it and then he was fine. Anyways, we even cantered! And both of them were quite calm.

Afterwards she let us put them in her round pen while she showed us around. The place is OK. It's farther out than where we are now, the three of them would be sharing a paddock that is at most two acres (the owner described them as "huge") that is never cleaned, and there are currently no stalls available. She made us feel like letting us have two trunks for tack (for three horses) was generous. She's one of those people who talks a lot and doesn't listen. The shelter in the paddock, I'm not sure all three of them will share it if the weather is bad. We'll have to find out. But at least she was willing to accommodate my request to keep them all together.

Oh, and she told me the property where I board has already been sold. My barn owner did not tell me that. So I'm going to have to have a talk with the barn owner this week, and try to get her to be up front about what's going on. I don't think that's going to be easy. This lady at the new place needs me to move in as soon as possible to reserve the spot, but I'm hoping to stay where I am until the end of February. Maybe I can pay her some kind of reserve fee.

Walking to the round pen, Pony had a tiny spook. A literal spook-in-place kind of spook. And, when we were taking them back to the trailer, which I had to park pretty far away, I had his saddle on him (didn't want to carry it) but not the girth, and of course it fell off, but he didn't even seem to notice. So that was good. We're planning on hauling out to a show on Saturday, and this was a bit of a trial run for that. I think they might be OK!

I had to cut the tour short because the sun was going down. I do NOT like driving in the dark. So we hurried them back and loaded them back on, tossed all of the stuff in the trailer, and left. My plan was to drive into their pasture at home, just unload them directly, turn around and go back. I thought it would be the fastest way. Well, my daughter let one of the ponies out when she opened the gate for me. It was the most excitable and also potentially the most expensive of them (if he ever stops trying to buck his rider). By this time it was quite dark. So he was just running around, jumping over sharp barn utensils and tractor attachments, and generally being impossible. I don't know how long it took until one of the grooms, who was fortunately there, managed to lure him into a pasture (not his normal pasture) with food. Maybe a couple of hours? Not really, but it felt like it. Then one of those horses got out, but that horse is a gentle quiet sort, and I got him back into the pasture myself.

So I was, once again, ticked off, this time at my daughter. And I drove the trailer home in the dark. And it was fine.

So what about almost killing someone? So, I was driving in the dark. I was taking a route I usually take. I know all of the places where it's difficult, and we were past those and less than 10 minutes away from home, so I relaxed a bit, when some person just walked out in front of me while I was driving the trailer at 40 mph down a road. This person had dark skin and was wearing dark clothes, and I didn't see them until the last minute. So, on the plus side, the trailer and truck stop great! I had reduced the trailer brake gain, too, but it still stopped just fine. But I'd guess I stopped a few feet from this person. I was too shocked to even honk at them. But that fueled my dark side anger for the rest of the trip home.

So, the dark side. Use my anger. But I don't usually get mad unless it's justified. My daughter was like, "I can make you mad at me before we leave if you want." I didn't really like that idea.

So it was a mixed bag yesterday. On the bright side, they did well, overall.

Finally, I got in touch with someone who does medieval mounted combat training, who is only a half hour drive from us! He's happy for us to haul in for a two-hour introductory lesson. I'm going to try to schedule it for Feb 6. My daughter thought it would be nice for the horses, if they had two weekend "outings" in a row, to have one stress-free weekend. I don't really disagree.
 

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With all the things you are doing and showing them, I think these must be on the way to being the most amazing and well rounded horses ever!

I’m sorry about the escapees and the suicidal man, and the pressure about getting moved somewhere different.
 

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Sorry about the fire my gosh I'd be so paranoid as well I probably couldn't sleep :cry: You did AMAZING taking the ponies out. I wont lie it sounds stressful and I don't blame you at all for being annoyed. But you DID IT and I'm so happy for you. Deserves a celebration so do something nice for yourself! I definitely missed about your yard move somewhere. I know you're moving to a new house eventually but I had no idea you'd have to relocate before then. What a pain. What are your thoughts so far or is this a situation of limited options?

About that man crossing the road - did he even stop to acknowledge the fact he just did something stupid? I hate to think of someone doing that on purpose but its not uncommon on the 6 lane road next to my house :<
 
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