Let’s talk about the biggest achievements your horse has accomplished. I’m not talking about you as a rider – I want to know what your ponykins has done to make you proud. Is there a glorious satin collection, did he/she figure out some dressage movement that took months to learn, or is it just a great day when your butt stays in the saddle?
As much as I sing her praises and tiny accomplishments to anyone that will listen, this is hard for me to answer. Fetti was a solidly broke horse who is not childsafe because she can be reactive and occasionally unpredictable. Fetti is also somewhat a schoolmaster for me, as she knows the cues better than I. She’s jumped, she’s done exceptionally well in PC dressage, she’s been ridden bareback and bitless. I know that I am often her limiting factor.
We’ve worked hard on trails because that doesn’t scare me the way arena work does. I can work up to endurance goals knowing that I have a built-in out if we fail spectacularly (even as I know I never want to use it).
I’m proud of how far her confidence has (usually) come on trails solo. At first she wouldn’t lead. Then she’d refuse to go out alone. Sometimes we’d make it to the park, often we’d get stuck even before then. Once we were in the park, she’d walk, maybe trot a few reluctant steps.
I’m not really sure how we went from the problem being ‘any forwards motion on trail alone’ to ‘sandbagging on the way out with a moderate trot rather than full steam ahead.’ But that’s where we are now. Frustrating as it is, we can do 20+ miles alone now, and I’m grateful we’ve come this far.
Oh! But proudest, I think? Is that she is now a Good Trail Citizen who can set the example for less well-behaved or inexperienced horses. Other horse bolts: meh, whatever. Other horse lags: she turns her nose back to check on them. She has genuinely become a solid trail babysitter, and I can honestly say I am proud of her for that.
|Good Trail Ponies stand still long enough for a “tree is no longer blocking trail” photo to be taken.
Miscellaneous update: the farrier came out and trimmed the ponies on Friday. Fetti was way long. Not neglect-long or anything, but long and overdue. I blame some of this on doing the October LD completely barefoot for most of the miles, and most of it on me being too demotivated to do anything with her feet in the last month. Also, we haven’t actually done a Real Ride since the day after Thanksgiving. (Not even a Kinda Real Ride. Nothing worth tracking whatsoever.) So.. long hooves + farrier visit = pony is footsore. It was definitively LH on Saturday, but Sunday was a more generalized ‘uncomfortable on anything even remotely rocky’.
The forecast is for sunshine the next week and a half, so fingers crossed she improves quickly and we can get back out on the trails soon.