February 10, 2013

Pony Didn't Want to Play...but I Did.

At first, I thought today's ride went terrible.  But I got to thinking as I was sweeping the barn afterward, and realized it actually was successful, just in a different way. Consider:

- I was riding him in the outdoor arena for the first time since October or November.  He let me know in no uncertain terms that being ridden was not on his agenda for the day, and that he'd much rather be with his friends.  (The outdoor is the only arena we ride in that is surrounded by turnout pastures.)
- He tried every evasion tactic in his book: spooking, taking off in the canter, grabbing the left rein, leaning on my hands, curling under, ignoring my lateral leg aids, and going around like a giraffe.  It was ugly.

This is from a year ago, but it may as well have been today.  "The pony is not interested in your reindeer games!"

But I realized it was successful, because I ended the ride with asserting myself as the boss in the relationship.  Three months ago, I would not have been able to identify or fix some of those evasive behaviors.  I wouldn't have noticed him throwing a couple of extra straight strides in between changing directions on the leg yield, and even if I had, I wouldn't have recognized that as him trying to bully me.  He was trying to bully me the entire ride today, to bend me to his will, but I refused and put him to work doing what I wanted him to do.  It was never great work, but it was more about the mental point than the physical point: I am the rider, you will listen to me!

So I asserted myself in a way I wouldn't have even realized I needed to until last November, and when I had his ears trained on me and he wasn't hauling my arms out of their sockets and he did a nice long side of leg yields when and where I asked for them, I called it a day.


  1. It sounds like you did really well, I know what you mean there are times when I wouldn't have been able to deal with Gatsby when he was doing this, and like you I can now tell it!

  2. I am just jealous you got to ride on this lovely day. That alone would be a success for me. You are right you and c have made incredible progress in just a few short months!

  3. Amy, thanks. Definitely not something I take for granted! I wish you lived closer and could trailer in and ride with me!

  4. Yay for you. That is great.
    Must have been something in the air today, I had the same conversation with a certain pony.