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December 21, 2017: A Tale of Two (no three) Ponies

The day began with my doing agility with Hrimmi. I spent considerable time setting up the course – the snow in the playground is four inches deep and this also slowed me down some. It is a slog. I got the grotto up. And I made sure all the stuffed animals were in their respective places. I also spent considerable time getting Hrimmi ready – had to put green and red leg wraps on her and her Christmas tree blanket. As Pete began filming her, I put an elf headband on her head. She was feeling energized – she moved out and did most things right. I messed up the star pattern, so Pete put numbers on the bucket lids so that I could follow the star pattern. We came up with two complete videos. The second was better than the first, the only problem being that she didn’t trot when asked. So, if the weather permits, we will do another take.

I decided a few days ago that I should work on “cultivating” horsey friends because I don’t have many. This is in part because I live off the beaten track. And it’s in part because I am not able to afford to ride at local arenas. It was for this reason that I met up with my friend Terri Mielke at the Sindorf Center and watched her lesson. Actually, it was her horse Mickey’s lesson. Mickey is a chocolate brown warmblood/welsh pony cross. He is about 15 hands, larger than our ponies, but

Hrimmi with head up

Mickey with head up

equally as round. Jenny Rousey Dick rode him. We go back to the days when she was teaching at Katie Long’s place. Raudi was then a yearling. I was a pen cleaner. Jenny, I think, still sees me in that capacity.

The lesson took place in a spacious and well-lit heated arena.

I watched Jenny ride Mickey. She’s a very good rider. She has a good seat and excellent alignment. And she stayed balanced when Mickey did not. I’d say that movement competence was low, movement capacity was high, and forced compliance was high. The horse did not seem to me to be owning his movements. His rider was using spurs and a crop and he was doing what he was being told to be doing.

A little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing, and so I kept my mouth shut. But I thought, if I were to work with this horse, I would try some other things in hopes of enabling him to become more body aware.

Once on the home front, Pete and I took Tyra and Tinni for a walk on our trails. It was cold, getting dark. Our trails are open but walking them is a slight bit of a slog. Tyra wasn’t wanting to go off-trail, but she did race around some. I think she and Tinni both enjoyed the outing.

What a study in contrasts – I did agility with one young pony, and took the other young one for a walk. They were outside, on varied terrain; Tyra in particular got to do things of her own volition. And I got to watch a horse be “schooled.” The question is, is it possible to “school” a horse using low compliance methods? I think so.

Next: 353. 12/22/17: Pre-Solstice Visit with Heather

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