If you missed my first “ponying Shiloh and Piper” post, you can read it here. Today, I share about my continuing attempts.
Having successfully ponied within the confines of the paddock, I felt confident trying to pony in the larger pasture area.
While I didn’t take the horses around the far outer edges like I hoped to do, we still got to spread our wings more. And we even dabbled in moving faster than a walk. More on that in a minute.
First, we reviewed what we practiced last time. Walk, halt, walk on a straight line. Walking circles to the right. Then we tried circling to the left and gradually moving further away from the barn area.
This didn’t go too badly, but I did have to ask Piper to not charge ahead. Sometimes with turning to the left, the horse on the end of the lead tends to lag behind the ridden horse. But in Piper’s case, we had the opposite issue. He never got out of control and was open to my direction, but I had to keep wiggling the rope more than I’d like to remind Piper to stay in position.
I also noticed that the further we went out, the tenser and more “looky” Piper became. With that development, I didn’t feel confident taking them to ride right at the edge of the pasture like I do with Shiloh when we are riding just the two of us. Instead, we repeatedly walked in a curve toward the edges and then away from the edges. Pushing the boundaries for a little bit and then heading back toward emotional safety. A work in progress.
Before we called it a day, I was curious to see if we could go a little bit faster without falling apart. I am pleased to report that we did a couple of gaiting/trotting passes in a large half-circle to the left. No disaster ensued. I stayed on, didn’t drop the rope and the horses didn’t lose their minds.
Piper started off a little on the muscle, but he stayed in position.
Shiloh was smooth to guide and ride as he gaited along, but I think his high-head and overall body posture reflected mental tension as we explored doing this new thing.
On the whole, though, I thought our second ponying practice went quite well. I’ve been particularly impressed with how helpful Shiloh is to the process. He’s quiet and cooperative enough that I can put a large amount of my attention and intention on Piper when needed, while counting on Shiloh to just keep moving along.
Ponying is definitely a challenging exercise in coordination and focus for me, but I think it is good practice for all three of us.
2 thoughts on “Continuing Ponying Practicing”
Looks like it’s going well! Good job, especially Shiloh!
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Thank you very much, Nancy! I know you have done your share of ponying on the trails. Not sure I’ll ever be confident enough to take the two horses out in the open like that, but it has been fun playing around at home so far.