Thursday, February 21, 2013

Quality, not quantity

Pony continues to amaze me.  She never fails!

I went out to the barn today to ride.  Tomorrow marks exactly three weeks since I have ridden.  Of course, I have jumped on her bareback a few times, but we have done nothing more than a walk or a bareback trot (which tends to be much slower than her saddle trot).

The past three weeks have been a whirlwind of being sick, working extra long hours, and me having sporadic days in which I'm able to make it out to the barn.

With pony, if she has been out of regular work, one day won't really get you anywhere, if you know it won't be followed by regular work.  She is such a high energy horse, she really needs to be kept in constant work (I average 3-5 days a week and that keeps her happy) to keep a level head.  Of course, with it being winter, and us having a preview of spring in the last few weeks (temperatures around 60-70 with bright hot sun!) the horses have energy galore!

So anyways, the past three weeks when I have come out to the barn I have groomed, I have bathed, I have brushed, I have tried tack on, I have done ground work, I have jumped on bareback...but I haven't ridden her above a small trot.

Clearly, I was waiting for crazy pony galore.  I went to the barn, saddled up  (western, if I'm prepared for crazies), and went to the arena.  She walked fine without trying to trot.  So I asked for a trot.  We did a few circles, and even a few laps around the entire arena....I didn't have to post a single step, the trot she gave me was so slow.  I guess I should call it a jog.

I was so surprised by her! I pulled her out right at feeding time, she could hear the quad coming and new she would be getting food soon.  She hasn't been ridden in weeks.  Usually, even when she has had work she can be crazier than that around feeding time!

I walked her around the arena and I wondered if I should lope her.  Her cinch was a bit loose, and I figured I was probably tempting fate.  Its always the famous last words....she was doing so good I just wanted to see if she'd do good with something else! Says the rider three hours later still trying to get some semblance of calm work out of their horse!

But, I temped fate...and I asked her for a lope.  And holy sh*t, this pony is amazing... she gave me her totally normal quick (since she's so small its probably about the same speed as a bigger horses normal lope) lope, all the way around the arena without trying to speed up! It was beautiful!

It's funny how much different her gaits feel depending on how she feels.  When she doesn't want to work, or if she is spastic or hot, or whatever, it really isn't much faster than her normal lope, but its all about how it feels to ride it.  Do you guys know what I mean? When she gives me good work it is SO easy, like I just melt on top of her.  And when she gets riled up, its really probably not much faster, but it feels rough, like I can't stay with her.  And I'm sure you guys are thinking 'that my friend, is called collection'.

And this pony does not collect well.  But when she wants to, she can use her body much more efficiently, and I can really feel it. Its interesting what she gives me without me asking her for it. I didn't ask her for collection, and she was not collected. Its quite amazing!

We have our days of me working with collecting her, mostly at the walk and trot, because this is a pony that HATES it when you play with the bit (uhm, win for riding with body language!) so you can only work on it a little at a time before she has had enough of it.

Anyway, after a lap of her loping nice and easy, I stopped, got off, untacked and she got to go home right as her food was arriving.

I rode a total of MAYBE 20 minutes... but honestly, its the quality and not the quantity.  It only took me 20 minutes to get some quality out of what she was giving me, and I didn't need to push it, I decided to take what I got (which was amazing that she was so calm) and show her that if she is good, she gets to go eat sooner!

I think this is especially important because I have had some problems when riding her at night (although this may be attributed to tack...) but when she isn't giving me quality, maybe she will now realize that it just makes her work harder and longer!

I was just really surprised by her, she never ceases to amaze me!  But then again, thats what we love about these creatures, right?


  1. I love it when everything just goes together like that. Especially when you are expecting it to be crazy.

  2. I think you absolutely did the right thing, especially with all the factors considered. Dinner time, and time off, etc.


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