November 12, 2013

Whoa, Pony!

Lately I have started not using the crossties when grooming and untacking Connor after a ride.  Two reasons:

#1) Connor is a sociable, people-loving fellow (really, stop laughing) who loves to turn around and look at me as I brush and otherwise molest him.

#2) After a ride, especially after Dressage, he likes to stretch his neck long and low.

#3, bonus reason) It's easy to do safely at our barn, otherwise I wouldn't try it.

Good pony!
Since the crosstie area can be completely contained with pipe gates at the front and back, as well as heavy sliding doors just outside that area, I have started working with him on staying in one place when I tell him to - provided we are alone at the barn and no horses are being moved, which we often are.

He is allowed to sniff whatever he wants to sniff and look at whatever he wants to look at provided his feet don't move.  If he looks like he's about to shift his weight and lift a foot, a quick, sharp "ah ah!" noise from me and he stops dead.  And look how good he's getting at it:

20 minutes and he didn't move a muscle - literally.

If you look at the clip job photo from my last post, taken on this same day...

...and the photo at the top of this post, and the photo of the footprints, you'll see that his feet stayed in the same place from the moment we came in from our ride, through untacking and grooming and blanketing, until I clipped the lead shank on him and led him outside.  Good pony!

I firmly believe in breaking the rules sometimes if it means a happier horse.  He's my partner, not my robot.


  1. I love letting Simon be "free" too. I think it makes them happier and I completely agree - partner not robot!

  2. I think it is something every horse should know how to do for safety reasons. Rosemary had to learn for harnessing. I use it with others when I trim feet. Barry was so good, he could stand in an open aisle way while I cleaned his stall. Bravo, I don't think you broke any rules. You made your pony better.

  3. Well done. Love the last two pictures - proof of a very good boy!

    Val ground ties reliably for grooming and tacking up most of the time. I switch up cross tying and single tying so we don't "forget" how.