Saturday, September 15, 2012

Week one

I know I always say how much I love ponies.  They are the BEST.  I've been having so much fun getting to know Starbucks, playing with him, and introducing him to his new life.  Its only been a week since he arrived and we have been working on groundwork everyday.  He took to lunging right away, and is already responding to the voice commands I use.  We work in the roundpen some days, the ring others, and sometimes we go and walk the trails.  I want him to see as much as possible so that everything becomes no big deal. 

 I introduced him to a saddle and bridle earlier in the week, and while at first he wasn't too sure about the whole "bit" thing, the more time he spends wearing it, the more comfortable he gets.  I still had credit at Smartpak so I ordered him his very own bridle, and have him in a loose ring happy mouth snaffle that he seems to like much better than the big rubber D-ring I used on Prince.

Side note: Everyone knows how much I love Smartpak, so I thought I would add a review about the bridle I just bought.  Smartpak has a line of bridles called Plymouth, and despite the fact that the new bridle was only $52, the leather feels like the same quality you find in $100+ schooling bridles.  Its soft, supple and comfortable on the horse's face.  It comes with reins, and in pony, cob, and horse sizes.  I would recommend it to anyone looking for a quality schooling bridle!  I happen to have their flash bridle in horse size, that I used on Aston and Prince, and a pony sized bridle that the Yellow pony shows in.  I love nice tack, and although with horses usually my taste doesn't match my budget, this time I feel like I have a great bridle at a price I can afford!

Anyway, back to Starbucks.  On Thursday Grayson helped me introduce him to ground driving.  I like to have a rapport and language established with the babies before I'm on their back.  I think it makes the experience much better, and the training process becomes much easier.  I like to establish the go and stop (cluck/woah) and steering.  Having a language is important to me when I'm about to introduce them to something entirely new in their life, and I want them to trust that I'm worth believing.

On Friday I free-jumped him for the first time, just over some little stuff, and he was great!  We had a bucket of food so that we'd be able to catch him on the back side, and when Christine had the bucket with her from her post with the video camera, he actually decided to jump the 3' side rail in the chute rather than the cross rail so he could get to the bucket of food.  I think he likes to jump! After that we put the bucket at the end of the ring and he jumped great through the chute.

One of the fun thing about ponies is that they tend to have all the personality of a big horse, packed into a little body.  Starbucks is no different.  He's got a huge personality and I just can't wait to tap into his athleticism and talent.  He's got BIG movement, and a great brain.  He's not as quiet and simple as Prince, but he's got try.  He's going to do big things, I can feel it.

I think within the next week I'll back him.  Once he's a little more confirmed with the ground driving I think he'll be ready to learn how to be a riding horse!

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