Archive for September, 2009
This weekend marks a lot of big milestones for me. October 4th is my one year wedding anniversary and October 5th is Ammo’s (my dachshund) first Birthday. As the week continues on I’ll share with you some great “look backs” into my wedding (which one of the trick ponies attended!) and Ammo’s first year with us. But while we are on the topic of looking back I thought it would be a great time to share some baby photos of one of the trick ponies.
Sadly its not Minnow – my only island born Chincoteague pony, because he was born in 1993, one year before they started keeping detailed records on all of the Chincoteague Ponies from the Island. But I am lucky enough to know exactly where Boomerang and Blitz were born. Which means I have their baby pictures too!!
Boomer and Blitz were both born on a small breeding farm in North Carolina called 1000 Welcomes Farm. Boomer spend 5 years of his life living on the farm until I purchased him last summer. Blitz was auctioned off at a Sport Horse Auction as a yearling and spent 5 years of his life living on a small farm in Maryland. Lucky for Blitz (his name was actually Lucky ironically) he had a wonderful life on this small Maryland farm. When I purchased Blitz last summer as well I made a point to track down where he came from originally. After I located the farm I contacted the owners to let them know I now owned one of their offspring.
Interestingly I found out that Blitz was actually the first foal that they had ever bred and they had always wondered what had happened to him. Thrilled to know that Blitz was happy and healthy I eventually received LOTS of baby pictures of him. So enjoy a look back at Blitz’s adorable baby pictures. He was teasingly known as the lap dog at his birth farm – because he’d crawl in your lap if you let him. I could definitely see him still doing that today.
On Sunday we held our first event at Iron Horse Farm. We called it a Skillathon. Our intention was for it to be a giant obstacle course that tested you and your horse’s skills. You could enter to be timed (scored on how fast you went through the obstacles with time faults added for incomplete tasks) or you could be judged (scored based on how well you did each task – we looked for rider patience, horse’s willingness, ease of completion). We also had three levels, a beginner, intermediate and advanced level.
We spent a long time planning and constructing onstacles. We built a bridge, made a soccer ball pit and so on. This was the first (that we know of) event like this in our area. We were hoping to attract a large barn of parelli followers as well as some of our local pony club members and maybe even some western/fun riders since we also had speed games like pole bending and barrels too.
Anyway 5 people showed up…all our friends from the local pony club. But who cares! We had fun anyway! I ended up running through the advanced level course first in order to show the other riders how to do it first. I certainly thought the course was fun – and I love facing my pony with something I’m not sure if they will like…all to see if they trust me enough to guide them through it.
I got a short video of the end of the course that you can watch below. I love watching Boomer doing the bicycle task, where I ask him to let me lead him while riding a bike, as well as the soccer ball pit, where I ask him to walk through a pit of soccer balls. I think those tasks definitely take skill! And Boomer – who had never seen the ball pit I might add – did it with ease.
We have another event scheduled for October 25th of this year – so hopefully we can learn from this time and make our event even better for next time.
I thought today I would share with you some photos that I took of my Dachshund, Ammo and my parent’s Labrador/Australian Shepherd mix, Trooper last weekend. Let me first say that Trooper and Ammo are the best of friends. They “play” together for hours on end and although it may seem like they torment eachother at the end of the day they really do love one another.
Ammo loves to snap at Trooper’s ankles – he’s determined this to be Trooper’s weakness and Trooper likes to body slam Ammo by flopping ontop of him. They really are entertaining – I could watch them for hours.
Ammo is turning one next week and we’re planning to throw him a first birthday party – complete with edible doggie cake. I will definitely share the photos from that adventure! And if you can’t get enough of Trooper and Ammo you can see all of the photos by clicking here.
Last weekend was a busy painting weekend as Minnow created lots of new works and Blitz took to painting his first masterpiece with ease. But what about Boomerang? Younger brother to Blitz by a year and devoted follower/watcher of King Minnow – Boomer has the least amount of trick training (or training in general) out of all the Trick Ponies. But that didn’t stop Boomer from picking up the paint brush just like the others.
I mentioned a few days ago that I basically taught Blitz how to paint by allowing him to watch Minnow create his own masterpieces. But Blitz had already had some basic training on how to pick up objects and had already steadily been practicing holding the paintbrush. So when I decided to let Boomer give it a try, I wasn’t sure how he would do. Boomer knows one “mouth” trick and thats to play fetch. He successfully retrieves a fetch toy with his mouth – a trick that he really only learned this summer and has yet to have much practice with it. So I had a lot of doubts that he would even hold the brush considering I had never showed it to him before.
But Boomer is not your typical horse. I’m not kidding when I say I have YET to find a single thing that Boomer is afraid of or won’t do. Odd for a newly turned 6 year old that doesn’t have much life experience. In fact before I bought him last summer his only true experiences were ring work and a few hunter shows. He’d never even been out on a trail – something that can be quite scary for a horse the first time. Scary rocks, tall trees, rustlings in the bushes. So on the day that I purchased him in Virginia I was amazed when he went out on a trail with me, walked over a bridge, and let pool noodles smack him in the face with not so much as a bat of the eye. I knew then that Boomer was a special kind of horse. Since then I’ve exposed him to countless things that never seem faze him.
Just this Wednesday I had an 11 year old boy stop by my farm. I popped him on Boomer and told him to run through the obstacle course I had set up in my ring. The obstacles consisted of the giant ball, a tarp, some strange flags, a bicycle, and a bunch of soccer balls among many other things. Boomer had seen some of the stuff…never the soccer balls. Boomer kicked the ball around with the boy on his back, he tamped over the tarp, picked up the flags, let a pair of jingle bells flap all over his face, let the child ride the bicycle while leading him and trotted through the cluster of soccer balls. Lets just say I was so proud of Boomer. He’s definitely one in a million.
So that being said – back to the painting. After letting Minnow and then Blitz practice their painting skills I decided to pull Boomer out as well. He stomped up to the easel and stood infront of it like he had been doing it all his life. I handed him a paintbrush and he actually held it. After a few practices holding it I decided to ask him to touch the paper. Several minutes later he was consistently touching the paper. I decided not to ask too much of him (like strokes and such) in one day, but I have no doubt that within the next week or so Boomer will be the third painting Chincoteague pony to reside at Iron Horse Farm.
Boomer has been really fun to train because I can do/show him almost anything. With Minnow (and Blitz too) I have always had to be careful how or what I show him. Minnow in the beginning had extreme trust issues, not to mention he had issues with sound or anything that made a noise. As you can see he’s progressed TREMENDOUSLY in the 6 years I have had him, but I still always have to be careful what I ask of him or show him. With Boomer he’s like a clean slate. The first time I showed him a tarp he picked it up and flung it at his unsuspecting brother Blitz. Funny – but it set me back a bit with Blitz’s training…thanks Boomer. On Wednesday I brought out the big ball and he proceeded to put all of his weight on it until the point where he layed down on it (with me on his back!). With Boomer the possibilities are endless as to what he can learn. It makes me dream of days where maybe I will be walking him into a school or a nursing home so he can entertain people or perhaps he’ll be riding on a float in a parade – if I can think of it he will probably do it! My guess is (and he’s lucky) Boomer has never been given any reason to not trust people. He was born and raised by the loving people that I bought him from (www.1000welcomesfarm.com) and I think he’s been fortunate to have a life thus far where nothing bad has ever happened to him. I’ve never had a horse before that didn’t have some sort of traumatizing issues – and as much as I love working and helping the troubled ones, its a bit refreshing to have a pony that has no issues.
So I ask you….can you think of anything CRAZY I should try with Boomer? I’d love to hear your suggestions!
So its time to announce the winner for Minnow’s mini-painting giveaway. Interestingly we had 23 views to the post but only 3 people commented to win the prize! But regardless, with the help of Random.org we were able to generate the completely random winner! And the winner is….. Mary H. from http://stalecheerios.com/blog I love her idea of a liberty act with multiple horses. I’ve always dreamed of the day where I can work all three of my boys in the ring at one time. So congrats to Mary – and I hope you enjoy Minnow’s painting. And for everyone who didn’t win I still have a gift for you!
If you purchase a Pony Painting between now and next Friday (October 2, 2009) I will give you 10% off the painting price. To receive the discount simply e-mail me at email@example.com with the subject SEPT SALE and tell me which painting you would like to purchase. I will then send you an updated paypal invoice that reflects the sale price.
Hopefully we will be able to have more giveaways in the future….so keep reading!!