Okay, I finally have something to tell you. Sort of. We have finally been on all the new guys (except Two Shakes, who has found a home). The boys rock. They have already soloed, which means I told Jeanne she can let go and I walk around by myself. I do pony rides until I’m certain everybody wants to play, because A) I am old and the ground is hard and B) they have fooled me before. Big time. So the boys, Angus, Smash and Chick are all on board with the program. They can start steering practice soon. And yeah, I know some of you will think I am a total wimp, but I do almost everything at a walk to begin with. Largely to teach them my two favorite gaits, which are Whoa and Stand Still. Let’s face it. If they won’t stand to let you get on (anyone ever spent time hopping around on one foot with the other stuck in the iron cussing?) it’s a pain in the backside. And if they won’t just stand and hang out at checks, it’s a pain in the backside. I know they can go fast. They are Thoroughbreds after all, and I watch them run all over the field all day. What they stink at is Whoa and Stand Still.
So after they learn W and SS, we work on gate and flask maneuvers. For those of you unfamiliar with foxhunting, let me explain. Gate maneuvers are commonly called Turn on the Forehand, Turn on the Haunches and Backup in other disciplines. Flask maneuvers are leg yields. Those are very important. And who said foxhunters don’t need dressage! So after we accomplish that, we go ahead and add trotting and cantering. Because adding speed to my complete inability to control the horse is not going to help matters. I mean, if you can’t stop, go, left, right at the walk, you think you can do it at the trot? I want my ponies to realize their new job will not necessarily involve running really fast. But if we do go fast, we can do it in a balanced manner, with steering. I don’t mind going fast. It’s the complete lack of control that gets to me.
That’s it for the boys. The girls, well, the girls. They have all the boys insane. They refuse to be caught to come into the barn for breakfast (and we’ve been doing this for how long now?). Once in the barn, they scream and spin and get everyone worked up. Why why why? The big mare will probably be fine. She was nervous when I rode her, but that’s it. The other two were pissed! Can I say that on the blog? They buck like they are practicing for the rodeo. Ears pinned, tails flailing, nostrils all scrunched up. No mistaking their utter contempt for the new program. We’ve had to close the top stall door on one of them a few times to keep her from coming over the top. Well, we will keep trying. They probably just need more time to figure out that the new reality is here to stay. They will be much better come August when the temp hits 100 plus. 🙂