The Horse Forum banner
681 - 700 of 708 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,671 Posts
. I don't think it's correct to assume Pony's response means there is something wrong with your relationship with him. I think it is just an indicator of how he may react in stressful situations. I've read several times how if a horse gets lost on a ride in a strange place, they will often hide and not even make a sound when their own herd mates are ridden a few feet away from them. That doesn't really imply they don't see the other horses as friends or leaders. It's just a stress response.
I couldn't have said it better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,037 Posts
Discussion Starter · #682 ·
We had a lesson on Wednesday. It was mostly lead changes. We did well at first. Pony can do a simple lead change with just one or two trot steps. But the instructor wanted flying lead changes. She just wanted us to get them by pushing with our leg and then yanking the rein really hard. Pony and I tried twice and didn't get it at all. She was like "keep pulling, pull him around in a circle, he knows how to do this!" But you know what, after that second try, I really got the feeling Pony had no idea what I was asking. So he was getting grumpy at me because I kept asking him (harshly IMO) to do something but he didn't know what I wanted and the pressure never went away. And I got grumpy because he wasn't doing it and I didn't know how to do it.

So I just stopped. The instructor was like "Don't give up!" but I told her, "I don't think Pony understands what I'm asking him to do, and he' s just perceiving this as punishment. He's getting mad and I'm getting mad." And I refused to continue. The instructor insisted he knew how to do this, but I pushed back: "Exactly who trained him to do this?" She answered "Trainer A and Trainer B." Well, neither of those trainers has taught him to do flying lead changes, I know for a fact, since I have talked to them about it. I told her that but she didn't really believe me.

I told her I wasn't going to try to keep doing something I didn't think he could do, so we did a few more simple changes (which he again did very well) and called it a day.

Yesterday as she was leaving, she stopped me and said, "You were right, it was Moonshine who can do flying lead changes, not him." She rarely admits she was wrong about anything, so I guess it's good that she did. But I'm still annoyed that she insisted he could do it and wouldn't listen to me when I said he didn't understand. I'm sorry that I put him through that.

But I'm glad I somehow realized that was the problem and I'm glad I stopped after I realized it.

But I'm still mad about the whole thing. :mad:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,367 Posts
I would be mad too, but I’m so proud of you for standing up for yourself and your horse! That’s never the way to get a flying change in any case, not the way to teach it, and not the way to discipline for it. So, you did exactly what you needed to do, and I’m proud of you!

It’s really hard to stand up in that situation. I’ve been put into it on colts, with someone who’s never even started a colt! I try and explain why you can’t read when you don’t know your abc’s, but it seems that never seems to satisfy. I hate being in that situation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,037 Posts
Discussion Starter · #685 ·
Stuff has been happening, but not enough in any one day to really write about it.

One day, I decided to do some work with Pony, just leading him around, to work on manners. Like, maintaining a desired distance when following, not nibbling my hand, and then when we stop, not rubbing his head on me. He did perfect on all of it, which was great I guess but I had been hoping for a teachable moment. When we stopped, I sat on the mounting block and he just dozed off. Also when I was leading him, this other horse came running down the adjacent pasture, galloping, bucking, and SQUEALING! Over and over and over again. I have never heard a horse make that sound before. Of course all of the other horses got a little jumpy from that, but I asked Pony to stay with me and he did. I looked out where that horse had been running from, and the two mini donkeys were just standing there eating like nothing had happened. I walked out there too, but I couldn't figure out what had made him do that.

Moonshine can make a mare face with her entire body. The groom was walking her past Rowan the other day, and literally her whole body was mare face. Also, while walking, she managed to point both her head and her back feet at him, so as to threaten him from both ends. His response was, "Can we be friends?"

Something I have been thinking about is how none of my horses like to be groomed. They tolerate it but they don't like it. And I keep reading other people talking about how their horses like to be groomed. So, I am starting to think the problem is me. I go in there hard and fast and get them as clean as possible in as short a time as possible. So today I really tried to be mindful and blending and nice when grooming Pony, and I found that my curry combing got a lot slower and more deliberate, with force that sort of changed depending on what muscles I was currying. My hand was also rotating in strange ways. I think Pony liked it. I guess I have always viewed grooming as a chore to be done rather than a chance to create a physical connection. I'm going to try to change my ways.

Pony has been acting up a bit lately under saddle. He's being ridden by kids two or three times a week now, and getting no training rides, so the only one who is keeping him steady is me. And I am not up to the task. (I'm also wondering if it might be a little jealousy related). What's happened the last two times I've jumped him is he is trying really hard to avoid patches of deep sand (apparently) and I'm trying to overcorrect with the reins. Last lesson he ran out of the arena. The instructor said it was because I had too much inside rein and had overbent him. Today he tried that again but we worked through it. But then we were riding a series of jumps and I let him get a little fast and there was a tight turn in deep sand at the end. I guess he felt off-balance because he pulled his head down hard and I went flying.

This is my worst horse injury to date. I fell on my hands, scraped up one really good and hurt the finger on the other. Then I fell on my head and took a chunk out of my helmet! Oh well, I've been needing a new helmet. The scrapes were bleeding a lot, so I went to treat them and the instructor got on him. She was also having problems with the deep sand areas but obviously not like I was. She agreed to ride him once this week before the show on Saturday (did I mention we're going to a show on Saturday?). I got on him at the end and we just trotted some crossrails.

I washed out the scrapes and then used one of my alcohol wipes on them (ouch ouch ouch) but they were still bleeding so I had the very good idea (seriously good) of putting Wonder Dust on them. It worked great! Later I also poured some Betadine over. All of those horse injury products are coming in handy!

I don't appear to have a concussion but the tendon in my finger tore off the bone of the last joint. I'm in a finger splint now and am supposed to find an orthopedic surgeon next week to look at it. I may need surgery. It doesn't hurt too much, though, and I don't think the finger splint thing will be TOO restrictive.

Also I signed up for this show thinking it's the end of September so it might be hot but not unbearable. But it looks like it might be near 100 that day! Boo!

Last thing, I don't know if it's me being out there more so him getting more alfalfa hay and pellets, or me having Rowan, but Teddy looks really good right now! I feel like he's gone from a 4.5 to a 5, and seeing as how he's a hard keeper and we're getting into cooler weather (in theory) I think that's great.

Oh actually, that reminds me of one really last thing. I facilitated the barn owner getting more round bales from the guy I really like. So I didn't have to go and pick up one this week! Rowan got a brand new round bale, but also she put one out in the pony pasture. She had been free feeding a mix of alfalfa, timothy, and orchard grass, and I was concerned about that. So I'm really happy she's switched back over to the coastal hay.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
197 Posts
I didn't think Dylan liked to be groomed for years. He seemed to just tolerate it. I remember going to buy some brushes and the woman asked me what he liked and I was thinking, how would I know what he likes?! Aren't they supposed to just stand there?

Then I bought those grooming gloves, I think they're called HandsOn or something. He absolutely loves those. He will lean in while I'm brushing, and twist around to mutually groom me, and just really seems to enjoy it. I used those for a while and then tried to go back to a rubber curry and he wouldn't let me near him with it. The only time I can use something other than the gloves is when he's shedding, then I can use a shedding blade lol. And he lets me use a really soft brush on his face but only after I've already given him a good scratch with the gloves. So I highly recommend them!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,037 Posts
Discussion Starter · #689 ·
I'm going to get some too, I think! At least at some point. Thanks @boatagor we'll see how they like them!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,367 Posts
Mine love it, and a friend bought me these brushes that seem like cheap little things to her, and then her horses loved them. I gave them a shot because she told me to, and my horses loved them too! Lol. They are plastic… I’ll see if I can find a link.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,671 Posts
Mine love it, and a friend bought me these brushes that seem like cheap little things to her, and then her horses loved them. I gave them a shot because she told me to, and my horses loved them too! Lol. They are plastic… I’ll see if I can find a link.
I got one on the Horse Forum recommendation. It just feels so small in my hand and not quite what I want. I don't think my horses love this one.

Bicycle part Font Electric blue Sports equipment Fashion accessory


This is the thing that was recommended on Horse Forum, and I got one. I do kind of like it, but kind of don't because it is sort of small. It is Equipure Jelly Wonder Brush. I do like the way it is both currycomb and brush. It doesn't really flick the dirt away like a real brush does, just kind of glides over the dirt. But I do use it often. I might like the large.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,484 Posts
I heard on the forum that Haas brushes were great. Hero always made faces when I brushed him, even when I was gentle. I just went with a cheaper Haas brush, around $10 from Riding Warehouse. They sell them in a lot of places. Hero actually seems to enjoy being brushed with it sometimes, and on his worst day doesn't make faces about it. Aria really loves it. I don't know exactly why it feels so much better than other brushes to the horses, but it seems to. Sometime I am going to get a more expensive one to see what that is like.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
854 Posts
I'm so sorry to hear you may need surgery! I can't believe you'd even consider trying to ride - you must be very tough! That sounds like it would hurt like crazy.

My horses enjoy it when I scratch back and forth over their entire bodies with a mane and tail brush. It works up dirt and loose hair, like a curry brush. They love iet!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,037 Posts
Discussion Starter · #697 ·
It turns out that with my finger the bone is fractured rather than the tendon having pulled off. Apparently this is actually a better scenario for healing. The doctor said it's a nice clean break and should heal well. I just have to wear the finger splint for five weeks. :mad: This is the first time I've ever broken a bone, as far as I know. So I'm feeling like, Oh this is the worst thing ever. I know it's not that big of a deal. It's just annoying because I can't fully use that hand.

I had a lesson scheduled today but didn't take it. I had something I wanted to work on on my own, plus I didn't want the group lesson to be where I figure out if I can use my finger while riding or not -- I have a private tomorrow and we'll work through it then.

I've been reading True Horsemanship Through Feel and I really like it. One thing he said that really jumped out at me was the importance of being able to control your horse's feet. And the way he taught himself to do that was to first just feel their feet. Just focus on one front foot, and keep track of where that foot is. He also said, and this is so blindingly obvious but I never thought about it much, it's a lot easier to move that foot when it's up in the air than when it's down on the ground. I mean, duh, right? So I thought about how Pony's front feet should move through a turn. If I want him to turn right, then I imagine his left foot moving forward and left first, crossing over, and then his right foot would sort of follow along.

So I rode him bareback and just at a walk. First of all I focused on just the front right. But that was pretty easy, so I ended up focusing on both of them. I could see his shoulders move and I could feel my hips swinging with his front feet. I also put my hands on his shoulders to make it easier. I found that I could soon say "left-right-left-right" and be completely accurate without looking.

So then I started cueing that shoulder to move when his foot was in the air. He was so responsive! He picked up his front left foot, say, I cued him with my left foot, and he turned right. So easy! I think there are a lot of things missing in my riding right now, but feel is certainly a big one. If you can feel your horse, you can work with him. If not...?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,037 Posts
Discussion Starter · #698 · (Edited)
I taught Pony to drink from a hose today.

Actually, that's not true. What is true is that today, the circumstances lined up just right for Pony to learn to drink from a hose. Here's what happened. He wanted to drink Rowan's water, of course (it would go so nicely with Rowan's hay that he was eating). But Rowan's water was on Rowan's side of the fence. If it's totally full, Pony can stick his head in sideways through the fence and drink it, but it wasn't, so he couldn't. He started playing around with the faucet and hose instead. And I thought, this is a teachable moment. So I went over there, turned the water hose on medium, and invited him to investigate it. He did and learned that it was water! Drinking was a bit tricky, but it seems to have worked. I am not sure how good the video is, but the place where I burst out laughing is because he got it up his nose. Doing this made my finger splint wet, but it was so worth it. I was also super lucky that for once I had my phone on me.

Lately I feel like we've been having some issues, but moments like this remind me of why Pony is The World's Best Pony.

 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,037 Posts
Discussion Starter · #700 · (Edited)
Some things have come together to make me realize that my riding is probably making Pony bracey. For one thing, my instructor did a lunge line lesson with me and pointed out that at the trot, when I'm not holding the reins, his head is relaxed. But when I do hold the reins, his head goes up. Second, I've been reading and watching videos about lateral flexion and the thing is, Pony is very sensitive to light pressure, but he doesn't want to flex in response to rein pressure. He'll turn his head around nicely if I'm offering him a treat from the saddle.

Today I rode him for a very short period of time. I did do it in the halter and lead rope, and maybe to be fair to him I should try the bridle, but I'll describe how it went.

From the ground, he could turn his head, but under saddle, at the walk mind you, he would turn but he would hardly turn his head and his neck stayed stiff. So, let's say I wanted him to turn right. I picked up the right rein just a tad. He responded to that very light pressure, but he responded by turning his neck and head as one unit, and his body as one unit. Like, imagine that he was two stiff pieces of board with a hinge where the neck meets the body. That's how he turned. Unless I asked for a tighter turn, in which case he'd bend at the poll a bit but not much.

Oh, and at a standstill he will only turn his head very slightly, just enough to where I can see his eye a little. I mean, if I use more pressure yes he will turn it more. Or, again, if he thinks he's going to get a treat he'll turn it. But that's something also.

Basically I think I've been not nearly soft enough with him -- I've used too much force and now he's bracing against it. So that's something I'd really like to work on now. Which is kind of good, since I don't want to canter at the moment due to my finger. I can work on this at the walk and the trot.

I also worked on head down from poll / lead rope pressure, since I'm doing that with Rowan also. I guess I never told him that, because he was totally clueless. I feel like people do head down from poll pressure because they want their horse to be easier to bridle, but I just taught him to basically bridle himself so I skipped that whole thing. So there's another thing where we can work on yielding to very light pressure.

The trainer who's coming out to work with me and Rowan, I talked to her and she's happy to work with me and Pony on this. I told her I want to start on the ground and then try to get it going under saddle. She thought that would be great.

ETA: at least two of them need a trim. I thought I was so smart being able to trim them myself; when the barn farrier got hurt and couldn't work I thought "Ha, no problem, I'll just do them myself" (except Moonshine due to her leg). But now I'm the one that's hurt and I'll have to get someone to trim them. I don't want the barn farrier working on Teddy and I know from experience that he won't think Moonshine needs a trim, even though she does. I need to try to contact some trimmers that I was recommended by some other people.

I also forgot to mention that I got fed up with all the flies and hung one of those liquid fly traps out there. After an hour it already had like 40 flies in it. I think I'm going to get one for Rowan's paddock too, I'll just need to find a place where he can't get to it.
 
681 - 700 of 708 Posts
Top