Archive for February, 2011

What the doctor ordered

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Fudge seems to be able to feel his rear feet, and is not tripping.  He has lost a tremendous amount of muscle throughout the body.  His ability to bear the weight of a rider is limited.  The veterinarian has suggested frequent short rides of 5 to 10 minutes to build his back muscles, without tiring him to the point of getting hurt.  She also suggested that I start to pony him so that he can get more mileage without the weight of a rider.

There are just a few problems with ponying Fudge.  I have never ponied a horse before.  I don’t know if Fudge has ever been ponied.  I’m fairly certain that the green Mustang has never been ponied.  The green Mustang can be spooky.  It goes against the herd structure to put the mare in charge.  This ought to be interesting.

The ground conditions in Pennsylvania are less than favorable.  We have layers of hard ice and snow, and the only good footing is on the driveway.  I decided to take both horses for a lesson in the indoor, instead of just the Mustang.  Starting to pony them indoors gave us good footing, an enclosed space, and an instructor to give me feedback.

The videos are of our second attempt in the indoor, and 4th attempt overall.  I am very pleased with how the horses have adjusted to the new game.  The first short clip shows me at a walk and trot on Fudge, leading Challis.

Now let’s upset the apple cart by putting the subordinate, green horse in charge.  A quick change of tack and off we go.  Then we’ll try it at a canter for the first time.

Did all of the session go this smoothly?  No.  When we reversed direction, The green horse was on the inside, but wanted to fade to the outside.  This cut off Fudge, who dropped behind and tried to cross to the left.  A bit of bucking, ear pinning, and nipping ensued, but no one got hurt.  We’ll try again next week.