The tale of the neighborhood pony.

I haven’t written about Jiminy lately.

He’s fine. Neglected in his new purple fly sheet. But fine.

I decided recently that he needs more work. But, with the insane amounts of rain we’ve had, I really don’t wan to lunge him and tear up my grass round pen. Plus it is SO BUGGY and it appears I’m allergic to every. single. bug. out there so I thought I’d start taking him for walk, because, why not? If nothing else, if I ever start driving him, it’ll be good desensitizing.

img_8263

Best pony every.

So we starting our walks last night with a stroll around the neighborhood (or the development across the street). We didn’t get out of my driveway before we were stopped by a car and a lady in her mid 70s who had to chat about Jiminy (and make sure I still had my big red horse too). Jiminy was a little antsy during the chat, but we worked on personal space and he got the message really quickly. He’s a pretty good egg. Most of the time.

img_8258

So much to explore!

We continued our walk. Chatted with a lady and her elderly dog who failed to notice us for about 5 minutes and passed by lots of cars. We mostly stopped and let them pass, working on patients and watched people smile and him. He brought lots of smiles from people.

img_8252

Taking it all in

It was also the night before trash day. So we handle large trash cans, and odds and ends at driveways. We sniffed some and took in the sights. He doesn’t spook and mostly just walked up to things and looked. The only thing he didn’t care for was the grates of the street. To be honest, his feet would likely fall through so they’d be an issue anyway, but the most he did was stare at those.

img_8245

So much grass and no eating…¬†

Mostly he took everything like a champ. Include kids doing sprints behind him. They eventually came up and said hi to him (their dad was on their driveway and was the ONE person we ran into who didn’t look impressed), but even their running didn’t bother him. Since they weren’t running up to him, just running in general, I didn’t say anything. Jiminy didn’t care. I’d have moved if it bother him but he was very unfazed by the entire thing.

img_8245

Such a good boy

All in all, we were about about 35 minutes and he was tired by the end, but pretty perfect. I’d like to do this a few times a week and eventually take him out for a few mile treks at Fair Hill this fall. He just takes everything in like the good little mini horse he is. Hopefully as more people see him, he’ll continue to bring people smiles.

img_8243

Best mane ever

Success! Or, a journey at Marsh Creek

After a few weeks of successful loading practice, I decided to load Batt up on Sunday and haul out for a day at Marsh Creek State Park in Downingtown, PA. He’s been loading so well lately that the biggest stressor was actually driving the trailer. But, rather than focus on that, I practiced some positive visualization (so not my strength!), sent Batt in the trailer and stuffed some carrots down his throat, and headed on my way.

Thankfully, the 45 (well, at my trailer driving speed was probably closer to an hour) minute drive was uneventful and we made it to Marsh Creek in one piece. He did move around some (which I tried to ignore), but spent most of the drive facing out the back of the trailer, watching all the traffic. The biggest challenge was probably unloading. For all of his stress about loading, he HATES getting off the trailer forward. His legs shake, he thinks, he hesitates, and finally, at my urging, holds his breath and leaps off… He’d be much happier if I turned him around and let him back out of the step up…. Strange horse.

Once he was off the trailer, it was as if he’d been there his entire life. Lots of exploring and grass eating, but mostly a super happy horse. We grazed for a bit, watched a lesson, explored the barn, and then went for a short ride in the ring. Batty was sound and happy and dead quiet which is even more impressive considering I haven’t ridden him since the blizzard (and not consistently since probably a month or 2 before that).

After our time in the ring (where he made a new friend and then proceeded to scream for his new friend for a minute once he left), I decided to take him for a quick walk down to the water, because, why not take a horse who is in a new place, who hasn’t really been ridden, down to the lake alone? Perfectly reasonable, right? If there were every any doubts that this horse is bombproof…

As expected, he was a star. I don’t think his ears ever went back once (well, he did sulk when we went back to the barn). He was just alert and happy and in explorer mode. That said, he would NOT step on the sand or get in the water. He was happy, but nope, not happening. And then some jogger came over with his dog to get a drink. Watching the dog drink while wading in the water? Yep, my idiot horse walked right in, had a drink, and splashed around.

After our lake journey, I threw him in the paddock for a bit and he made friends and flirted with mares. After a couple hours off, we tacked back up and headed out on a trail ride with some barn friends and customers. There were a few more people then I’d have liked (3 customers, 3 boarders, and me so 7 in all), but he did well. He did NOT like following and would have much preferred being the leader (not that he knew where he was going but obviously that wasn’t important), but stayed as close to the front as he could. We just walked (which was good) and the only really issue came when we had to cross a fallen tree. It was small enough that the horses could step over it, but larger enough that my reformed-ish stopper assumed something was living inside of it and would NOT walk over. Now, we had a horse up our butt and no real space to circle/trot over it/jump it like it was 4 feet tall so I ended up hopping off and the second I was on the other side, he walked/jumped over the scary thing with something living inside. I got back on and we continued on our way. I could have let everyone else cross and then have tried to get him over but this was just easier and faster. Sometimes it’s not the right place to school…

Anyway, the rest of the ride was uneventful and we ended with another splash in the lake. This time splashing as much as possible and contemplating a nice roll. We left before we could do more than consider. We sulked the remaining way back to the barn.

Eventually it was time to head home. He was a little reluctant to get back on the trailer (though we had already reloaded once before the trail ride just to confirm it was possible), but a little clucking and 2 minutes later he loaded himself and home we went (journey was a bit more exciting as we were surrounded at one point by 7 bikers… We survived and came home to a nice beet pulp/electrolyte mash and lots of water.

So happy the first trip is in the books. Hoping this will be a season of lots of fun and exploring!