PONY

19 06 2015

It seems I have agreed to part-loan a pony – subject to a one-month trial, at least. So, thank you everybody for the supportive vibes and luck; evidently, they worked.

He is a polite and sweet boy, but with a well-preserved cheeky streak, and he also demonstrably has the courage to let you know about it when he’s unimpressed or impatient. He is stabled on a quiet, old-fashioned but perfectly well-equipped yard that sits on a couple of bus routes, which is very convenient as I still don’t drive. As I walked up the track to meet him, his human was bringing him in from the paddock and waved to me. He followed her line of sight, and regarded me from the distance with his head high, eyes bright and his ears pricked forward as I waved back. He also tried to rub his face on me as we caught up to each other, but never mind. Heh.

He was calm, but noticeably confused, as we stood in his stall with him discussing very human considerations, and I was honoured when he took the initiative to turn his head towards me and say hello by bringing his nostrils into line with mine to sharing breath for a few moments. As politely as he stood for me while I groomed him, picked his feet out and tacked him up, he made his impatience to get on and get working known to us by head-barging at the door to his stall. This was the closest to rude he was the whole time I was in his company, and he cut it out once pushed back and told, ‘No.’

He is small (at a mighty 14.1hh), but apparently the herd leader on that yard. His human said that he is friends with all the other equids there, and that none of them are nasty to one another. He is frightened of goats and donkeys, and she has plans to try to help him overcome this by arranging for him to meet some in controlled conditions. He also gets spooked by rocks and unknown terrors that lurk beyond the trees in the woods – but she assured me that within that, he is fairly predictable, and that if you just ignore him and carry on as normal he calms down quickly. He does not like bananas. He apparently loves jumping and cross-country, but has been well-schooled in flatwork and dressage in the last few years and is improving in these areas.

We took him out to the small outdoor school, she rode him first, and they gave me a demonstration of the dressage test they are working on. He spooked a few times at the end of the school facing some woodland. Then I had a go. His human had told me that he loved to work and would try really hard for his rider. This was my experience. In contrast to the riding school horses I’m accustomed to riding he went from a gentle ask – no stubbornness or hesitation; at the same time, he didn’t feel as finely tuned as the Historic Equitation horses. I could feel his stiff side, and I could feel how he was having trouble striking off from the correct leading leg while I was asking for canter. For having said that, he was also a lot more responsive to my seat and to my voice that most of the horses I am accustomed to riding.

We had a lot of fun careering around, including a couple of spooks in the scary woodland corner (once being the first time I asked for canter, which was exciting), but his human complimented me on how well I sat them afterwards. While I was trying to work him though some transitions and bend exercises to try to help him soften up, he decided to try to thwart me to see if he could get away with it by backing up and spinning on the spot, but I was firm and he stopped and behaved himself. We finished with some bending and circling exercises on a long rein.

When I brought him to a halt, his human said that I was less experienced than what she’d ideally been looking for, but that she liked how I rode him, that she was happy with how I sat to his spooks, and that he seemed to like me, as apparently it’s obvious when he doesn’t like somebody. So she thought I would be fine with him, and that he and I could have a lot of fun together if I wanted to give him a go for a month and see how I got on. I said that I thought I could learn a lot from him. So that was pretty much decided, from my point of view.

We took him back to his stall, untacked him, gave him a sponge bath and then took him back out to the paddock. When we let him go, he almost had to be reminded to go off and see his friends: he stood looking at us for a bit after I removed his head collar, as if awaiting some cue from either me or his human as to what we were doing next. He seemed a very curious and characterful fellow throughout our meeting.

I’m not sure what else to say after all that, other than: PONY. Excite.

I suppose I ought to sort out some rider’s insurance…

(I didn’t mean for this post to be so many words…)

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Intermission

17 06 2015

I realise it has been an awfully long time since I updated, and I fell off the wagon (so to speak) leaving behind not so much a cliffhanger of an ending as a building site. The only good explanation I can offer for this is that for whatever reason, I ran out of energy for writing long posts within the time I had available.

I would still very much like to finish writing about my last visit to Historic Equitation; I had such a great time, and with photographic and even video evidence available, I can remember it like it all happened yesterday. But I came here today to briefly mention something else: Tomorrow evening I am going to go and meet a pony and his human with a view to part-loaning him.

I have been trying desperately hard not to get excited about this in case it doesn’t come about, or if something turns out not to be right. Please cross everything for me that it all goes well; from what his human has told me, he sounds perfect for me, and based on our exchange of messages, she seems to think I sound perfect for him.

Watch this space!