Saturday, January 23, 2016

Naughty Pony Seeks Employment

I never really took notice of what was happening until tonight.  Due to my ugly work schedule I ride my pony sporadically during the late fall and winter.  Not the best thing for our riding, his fitness or his attitude but it's the best I can give right now.  It's not like Fox exactly has a hard or stressful life hanging out in the pasture, grazing and making googly eyes at the High Queen.

But it struck me tonight that Fox really does enjoy working and having a job.  Exactly how have I determined this?  Well for starters whenever I walk out in to the pasture with my trusty lead line Fox makes a bee line for me, stands patiently while I clip it on and rub his neck, then check to make sure he's still toasty under his blanket.  Our weather right now is particularly bad and I felt like the US Postal Service tonight when I clipped on Fox's lead line.  It was dark and the sky was spitting snow and stinging ice at us the whole time.  Not to mention the massive half frozen puddles from the rain the day before.  Lovely weather for a walk.

Fox thought so at least because he marched happily after me and only got miffed when I made him stand at the end of the drive a wait a couple moments.  Patience is sometimes not his strong suit though he's not nearly as bad as his heathen brother the Crack Beast. But he followed me without complaint and was entirely happy to pause at the horse trailer to grab a well deserved horse cookie.

I think my pony is just bored. Hopefully when my schedule changes this summer I'll be able to give him the employment he is certainly asking for. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Take a the dark...and the COLD.


A few weeks ago I took Fox down to the indoor about an hour from my house.  Once again it was a bit of a hassle to get the pony brat in to the trailer. Which is the same issue the High Queen had.  Anyone sensing a pattern here?  So I decided to take a real hard look at my horse management to try and pin point the deficiency that leads to the "I don't wanna" attitude.

My horses live out 24/7 with run-in-sheds to get out of the weather and a blanketing wardrobe to rival the inside of a Kardashian's closet. During cold weather this sort of set-up fosters a hands off routine. I go in, I dump feed, hang hay nets and scuttle back to the wood stove.  A few times a week I brave the dark and check feet, coats and for blanket rubs (Thank you Horseware Ireland for my no rub blankets!) treating any cuts and for the evils of thrush.  Other than that my horses lead a pretty uncomplicated life.

Which is where my theory that this limited contact was causing the trailering issues.  At least with respect to Fox.  He at least I know will get in to the trailer though it might take awhile. Where as the High Queen if she decided not to get in, well, just start walking!

So what does one do? Especially if my evil day job keeps me slaving away until after dark. Well you suck it up and take your pony for a walk. Every day, in the dark, and the cold. All the evenings that I don't take my pony out for grooming or to and from the side pasture, I clip on a lead line and walk my bratty pony down the long driveway. We turn at the end of my driveway where it touches the paved road, we pause letting Fox learn to trust and obey me. Then we move on, turning at the big gate, push the gate closed, the I try to close the padlock and slip on the insulated bag while Fox mugs me for the horse cookie he is sure is hiding in the bag.

Then we stroll back down the driveway, stopping a couple times to reinforce my role as the leader, then we go back in to the pasture where Fox assists me in pushing the gate closed, also forcing him to step into the big muddy puddle in front of the gate.  The first week or so at that point Fox would resist me leading him in to the mud and cold water.  These days though he follows willingly. Is he a perfect angel every time? Nope. There has been naughtiness, flailing of feet, flinging of heads, and spooking for no reason.

But is it working? Time will tell. I've a couple days off coming so indoor time is imminent. I found a new one about three miles from my house. Looks easy to get my trailer in to and the footing is decent. So until the behavior report keep it  between the flags everyone!