In a previous post, I wrote about ponying my horses Shiloh and Bear for the first time. If you missed it, you can read it at https://thebackyardhorseblog.com/2021/08/11/ponying-my-painted-ponies/.
Since that post, we’ve done a handful more ponying sessions together. Mostly we’ve stuck to ponying in their little paddock area. But we’ve also ponied in our round pen and in one of the pastures.
The ponying sessions continue to be short. About 15 minutes. All at the walk. Sometimes with obstacles included.
I like the challenge of working with two horses at once, trying to keep everyone engaged and flowing together. As herd animals, the concept isn’t foreign to them. But I wonder if they think adding a human into the mix is a bit odd.
I find the novelty of ponying quite interesting. There’s something about trying to direct the horse you are riding while also trying to guide the horse you are not riding that is enlivening.
I feel both horses trying to suss out what the expectations are. I see the horses trying to organize themselves within the boundaries I’m attempting to establish. I can also see that sometimes I am not as clear as I could be with my instructions. I find myself confused sometimes about how/when to communicate what/to whom at which time and in what order. Definitely an exercise in coordination.
Besides the opportunity to practice new skills, the best part of ponying is including Bear. I find a lot of satisfaction in being able to incorporate my now retired horse into my riding work. I may not be able to enjoy spending time on Bear’s back anymore, but it’s been refreshing to experience a new kind of connection with him through ponying.
Many thanks to my husband for his help with these ponying sessions (and for documenting them with the photos shown above).