Archive for October, 2011
It’s been a little while since I’ve posted something, but that doesn’t mean the ponies haven’t been BUSY! We’ve held a few events at the farm, and all the ponies have been getting exercised regularly in preparation for a very special trip we’re taking this weekend.
We’re loading up the trailer and taking all three ponies down to Chincoteague Island, Virginia to participate in a beach ride on Assateague Island with our friends from the Chincoteague Pony Centre! I’m so excited to ride MY ponies on the beach for the very first time ever – and to also bring Minnow back to the island where he was born 18 years ago.
I’ve had this trip on my bucket list for a long time now and even though the weather this weekend is looking not so great – I’m still excited to go on this adventure.
Part of the adventure is being able to ride on the beach, and considering Minnow has been in retirement since 2008 due to his ringbone, I figured it was time for him to be saddled up. Minnow hasn’t had a saddle on in about 2 years and although I do exercise him to keep his weight down and occasionally hop on him bareback I needed to make sure he remembered what a girth felt like before our beach ride. Mostly likely Minnow will just do some light walking on the beach and Boomerang will take me on the 2 hour ride, but it was still important to get a practice saddling in before the trip.
So after one of our shows at the farm we decided to run all three ponies through the obstacle course we had set up (none of the ponies had done this specific course before). Below are videos of all three ponies completing the course. Minnow did exceptionally well considering he hasn’t really been ridden in 2 years (he does get exercised regularly in the ring by allowing him to free-lounge himself) – it’s such a testament to how much he really trusts me.
So if you were our judge who would have won? We typically judge on accuracy, how relaxed & willing the horse is, and how the rider executes the tasks (speed is not a factor) – this would of been a tough one to judge between our 3 ponies – just goes to show what a great attitude these Chincoteague Ponies have.
Anyone else ever ridden their horse on the beach? Did you know that Assateague Island allows beach rides in the fall season, and you can even camp on the island with your horse. So if it’s your dream too – it is possible!
On Sunday I took Boomerang to his very first mounted shooting clinic. My mom and Blitz tagged along too – although they had been to one other shooting session before.
The clinic was held in NJ by the Jersey Devils Mounted Shooters. We started off with a bit of gun safety and practiced firing from the ground at our balloon targets.
Surprisingly I was a better shot from my pony than I was from the ground, ha!
The guns we fired were fairly loud, so I wasn’t sure how Boomer would react. He’s pretty brave, but any horse would be scared if you fire a pistol from their back.
To introduce our horses to the gunfire we rode around as a group while riders routinely shot off rounds into the air. The first few shots startled Boomer as I’m sure he wasn’t expecting it, but being in a group with the other horses that had all done this before – he was quickly put at ease. After a few laps around, and a few clicks and rewards from me, he seemed to hardly notice the gunfire anymore.
Next we each took turns running through a pattern and firing at the balloons. In competition you are scored on speed and accuracy, and in my first run through I shot 8 out of the 10 balloons. I was really surprised Boomer hardly jumped at all – shooting next to the horse is much different than shooting into the air, because the sound is louder and they can see the gun out of the corner of their eye.
Below are two videos I put together of Boomer and Blitz running through the patterns:
Blitz is a little bit more of a nervous horse, but he improved greatly with each time he went.
It ended up being a really fun day and a great experience for both ponies. I don’t have plans to join the mounted shooting club (although I was really fun) but I did it as a way to introduce my pony (and myself) to something entirely new. All of the different things I do with my ponies are helping to make them better mounts. I think if the club wasn’t a two hour drive for me I might have considered joining, because it was fun to wield a pistol!
And Boomerang was pretty proud of himself in the end, evident by his beaming smile!
October 4th, 2008 is a date that holds much significance for me. Not only is it the anniversary of my wedding to my high school sweetheart, but it is also the anniversary of when I became the official owner of Minnow.
Minnow had been living with me since 2003, when his then owners had decided to lease him out to me to use as a riding mount. In those 5 years I got to know an amazing pony that has since changed the entire course of my life. I knew he was one of those “once in a lifetime” ponies – and in the back of my mind I always feared that someday he would leave me.
When he was diagnosed with Ringbone in March of 2008 and his competition career came to an abrupt end, it became evident that the “backyard tricks” I had taught him were now more important than ever. Not only were they a way for us to continue to interact with each other, but they became something even more special that we shared together.
I knew that Minnow HAD to be at my wedding, he was such an important part of my life, and when my mom jokingly suggested he should be the flower girl, I set out to train him how to toss petals out of a basket. Tossing the petals proved to be the easy part, it was performing in front of a crowd of wedding guests that couldn’t be practiced.
Until today, I have yet to share the “real” wedding video of Minnow wowing my guests (and me). To FINALLY get it up for viewing I had to film it off of my computer and onto my iphone – so granted the quality isn’t the best. But, I’m proud to share with everyone, the greatest FLOWER
GIRL PONY there ever was!
Not only was Minnow simply amazing, but he performed for my sister (and not me). Minnow has always been quite sensitive, and most times will only perform tricks for me – after we built a relationship of trust over many years. So for him to perform for my sister (who never works with him) and in front of a large crowd of people, it was an amazing accomplishment for him.
When I returned home from my honeymoon in Nicaragua I opened a very special card from Minnow’s owners. Their gift to me on my wedding day was Minnow! To know that he would be mine forever was one of the greatest gifts anyone has ever given me. I know that I’m truly blessed to have him in my life and I’m so thankful that we were able to find eachother.
So Happy Anniversary Minnow! I look forward to many more adventures with you, as I know we are just getting started!
And Happy 3 year Anniversary to my wonderful husband , thanks for accepting my love for the ponies (and Ammo).