Boomer is one of those rare ponies that will do just about anything for his “person”, combine that with the fact that he’s pretty fearless – makes the things he can accomplish (in a short amount of time) quite amazing.
So last week I decided I wanted to teach Boomer to sit on some beanbag chairs I had been saving since I was a kid – just for this reason. He had already had some practice targeting his rear end to things, but I had never fully gotten him to sit on anything from a stand-still.
After a few short sessions over a period of 3 days I had him successfully sitting on his bean bags. He was very proud of himself once he figured out what I wanted and now he doesn’t even want to get off of the beanbags.
As he progresses in his training I will slowly remove some of the beanbags until he can hopefully just use one to sit on.
Next he’ll be learning to shake hands while sitting on his beanbag! He’s such a cool pony!
Inspiration for painting ponies and I can come from anywhere, and in this case it came when I found this image on Pinterest.
A DIY painting project from Dans Le Townhouse, I knew this idea was just up Minnow’s alley.
So last Sunday Minnow created his very own take on it by painting “Swell Waves” an original 11 x 14 canvas. I covered the top of the canvas beforehand with a piece of kraft so that the top would stay blank and left the rest up to Minnow.
We think it’s pretty cool! This original painting will be making the trek to Chincoteague with us next week during Pony Penning and will be available for purchase at the Chincoteague Pony Centre during their evening shows.
Since we know not everyone can make it to pony penning we’re also making it available for purchase from now until Sunday, July 22nd via our blog. If anyone is interested in purchasing this one-of-a-kind art please e-mail us at email@example.com for more details. First come first serve.
P.S. Have you been hearing all the news about the stallions from Assateague swimming their herds over to Chincoteague early? Three stallions have done so thus far and there are now 37 horses already in the carnival grounds! Find out more details on our Facebook page.
Minnow has been in training for the past few months as I’ve begun teaching him new tricks and a new skit for Pony Penning 2012!
Minnow especially loves this time of year as he LIVES to perform and learn new tricks. He’s a total ham even when the only audience is me, Ammo the Dachshund, and my camera.
We’ve been sharing bits and pieces of Minnow’s new act on our Facebook Page, but if you want to see the entire performance you’ll just have to make the trek to Pony Penning this year (or book us for your next event).
We’re also going to be working on a new DVD featuring several of Minnow’s favorite performances that will be available for purchase for those of you that won’t be able to see Minnow in person. Once we have that available we’ll be sure to share it with everyone!
In the meantime though, you can check out our online shop where we not only have a collection of paintings, but also the Trick Ponies of Chincoteague DVD that features all the ponies and one of Minnow’s earlier performances.
And now, here’s a few more photos of what’s been going on around the farm lately….
We hope to see you at the pony swim this year!
If you follow us on Facebook then you may already know that Minnow has been working on learning some new tricks. Most of these are in preparation for Pony Penning 2012 as I’m teaching him some new skills for a brand new performance.
Now, you may remember Workout Barbie – well this is Workout Pony! And Workout Pony is way way cooler!
We’re still in the planning stages of our performance and I have lots of ideas for new tricks, but I thought I’d share a video of our first training session with Minnow’s barbell. It’s important to note that this video was shot after I had spent about 10 minutes working on the skill with clicker training. Yes only 10 minutes!
As you can see on the video he has two skills he’s learning – “lifts” and “curls”. I was actually quite shocked he picked it up as fast as he did and he already knows the cues for each skill. As we continue on in his training we’ll work on duration and I just finished making him a more permanent barbell that looks a bit more realistic.
I’m really excited about all the new tricks we will be working on and it will be so much fun to showcase the new performance during Pony Penning.
So, anyone else teaching their horses new tricks this spring? Have any ideas for new tricks for Minnow? We’re always open to suggestions!
Over the weekend I packed up Boomerang and headed down south to Maryland to compete in the MGAA Mid-Atlantic #1. It was the first of the mid-atlantic mounted games series for the year and we were excited to attend.
Boomer and I were dusting off the cobwebs a bit as typically I give him the winter off due to being pretty busy at my shop – so this was sort of a “getting back into the swing of things” competition for us.
Boomer was the only pony at the competition to compete in a Bitless Bridle and Treeless Saddle – and you will also notice our treat bag hanging from his saddle, used when I am clicker training him during competition – because the training is never done.
I think one of the common mis-conceptions about treeless saddles is that many people think that without a tree the saddle won’t be stable on the horse’s back. But, all you have to do is watch me play games in it to prove this wrong. All weekend I was leaning off the saddle like a monkey, and vaulting on from the ground.
I’m in love with my freeform saddle for so many reason, but mostly because it is the most comfortable ride I’ve ever had, for me and my pony. And as much as treeless saddle are rare in the mounted games arena (in fact I believe you are not allowed to compete in treeless saddles if you ride with the USMGA organization – why, I do not know!) Bitless bridles are probably just as rare.
I think with equine speed sports especially probably a lot of people think you won’t be able to control your horse without a bit when it’s in racing mode. Now Boomerang may not be the fastest pony out there, but he wants to run towards the finish line just like the rest of them. Because I took the time to clicker train him a really nice stop, and to respect my seat and leg aids just as much as the rein pressure I am able to successfully compete him in his dr. cook’s bitless bridle.
Many riders in the US now compete in hackamores – yet these have a much different way of steering/stopping the horse by using sensitive pressure points on the nose. Bitless Bridles use painless and even pressure to help guide your horse in the direction you want to go and does not interfere with the horse’s breathing.
And while I personally am an advocate for the bitless bridles I do believe that using a bit or not is a personal decision that most times depends on the horse too. Not every horse may be a good fit for a bitless bridle and I think it just depends on what works best for each animal in the most humane way possible.
And finally, here’s a quick video I put together of Boomerang having a blast competing.
We hope to make it to some more MGAA competitions this year – and for anyone who is interested in getting started in the sport be sure to take a look at our upcoming competitions at Iron Horse Farm.
You can read more about mounted games here.