Saturday, September 15, 2007

Pit Bulls, Motorcylces, and Ponies Oh My!

Today my husband and I went out for our weekly trail ride. Gone are the days when we would be able to ride horses on the road without a car in sight.

Today we took a new route and it was every two minutes that we were passed by a car or a motorcycle. Not only that, but the fields that we could walk through are now housing developments. We got barked at by a pit bull, which wasn't a problem. Even with the tractor trailers flying down the highway the horses didn't flinch. We were in a field, not actually riding down that highway, but only about 20 feet away from the tractor trailers. Do you know what scared the horses? No, not the Harley Davidson's... It was the ponies!

Two sweet little ponies in a field, and the horses were balking and snorting. I am always sacking out the horses exposing them to every possible distraction. They don't mind cows, deer have jumped out in front of us on the trail, and not a horse batted an eye. We cross running water, and pass by active construction sites and no hesitation from any of the horses. When you are teaching beginners it is best to bombproof your horse, so I am always finding new ways to sack out the horses.

Banging on the metal in the indoor arena while longeing is one of my favorite tests to see how relaxed the horse is. If he doesn't pay attention to the huge noises I figure he will be quiet if a truck pulls up to the barn. Today was extremely windy and the coldest day we've had all summer so I am sure that had a lot to do with those ponies looking like goblins. I didn't expect them to be so scary. I just found my new challenge for the lesson horses, pony exposure!

It's good to get out of your comfort zone and enjoy the fall with some trail rides. It's relaxation, and you are still training. If you regularly ride on trial rides, find some new scenery. When you take a horse out on a trail ride it's a good way to make him feel like a horse. When they get out in an open field, I think you can see the horses smile. Keeping them inside going in circles all the time I can't imagine the heart of the horse is completely content. Don't get me wrong, I know they love their work, and I love to work in an arena. But they (and us) sometimes need to get out and walk straight lines, cover some ground, see new sights. Then the arena work will be fresh again. In the process of leaving the barn and enjoying the countryside you will surely learn something new about your horse, even if it's just that they are afraid of tiny little ponies.

Happy Trails!



EquineSpirit said...

LOL! It never ceases to amaze me at what will get their undies in a bunch!! The Appy filly I had when I got "D" didn't mind a bit having plastic bags or tarps tossed around her, saddlepads flapped up against her, umbrellas opened over her head, kids banging on the arena walls, and dirt being flung past her by the barn managers kids. 4-wheelers, lawn mowers, etc...none of which even got a bat of the eye. But something as simple as a car driving by would freak her out AND her pasture boardered a very busy road that was frequented by motorcycles, dump trucks, tractors, etc. LOL!

Deanna said...


photogchic said...

When Maddy moved into the new barn, she was terrified of the neighbors little donkey...I have a video clip of her watching the donkey with this stunned expression on her face. She couldn't take her eyes off him. After a couple weeks, she calmed down, but her reaction was so funny. So I can imagine how terrifying those ponies were:-)

Rising Rainbow said...

I'm with you, I think trail riding is great for both horse and rider. I used to do it once a week but haven't done that in years now. Sometimes I"m lucky if I get in once a year, but I'm always really glad when I do and I think it is really great for a horse's mind.

Deanna said...

It's so funny how they get so scared, ponies and donkies are equines too! People come in all different shapes and sizes, but they don't freak out over us thankfully.

You should post that clip on your blog! I'm sure everyone would get a kick out of it.


Deanna said...

I didn't used to get to trail ride as much as I do now. I know my lesson horses are much happier when they go out, so I use it as part of their training.

Plus with the land being developed, this is the best it will ever again be. I never knew how good I had it when I was a kid and could ride for hours without seeing a car. :(

EquineSpirit said...

Blog tag...YOU'RE it!! :D Got the details on my blog...and it's horse related! ;) Have fun with it...LOL!