Posts Tagged ‘fun

Herding Cows on Horseback

Last month we took Blitz and Boomerang on a long trailride in one of the nearby nature preserves. Little did we know it would end up being one of our favorite adventures ever when we happened upon some loose cattle.

Herding Cows the Cowgirl Way with Painting Pony

Herding Cows the Cowgirl Way with Painting Pony

Herding Cows the Cowgirl Way with Painting Pony

Herding Cows the Cowgirl Way with Painting Pony

Herding Cows the Cowgirl Way with Painting Pony

The further down the trail we got, the more cattle we started to see. We figured they had gotten out of someone’s pasture, but we weren’t sure where they belonged. We were DYING to herd them somewhere (just like real cowgirls) but it just didn’t seem like it was meant to be.

Herding Cows the Cowgirl Way with Painting Pony

As we made our way towards home we couldn’t help ourselves with herding a few into a small cluster.

Herding Cows the Cowgirl Way with Painting Pony

Herding Cows the Cowgirl Way with Painting Pony

Herding Cows the Cowgirl Way with Painting Pony

While we were taking the obligatory “cow selfie” the farmer who owned said cattle popped up over the hill in his truck to see our little cluster of cattle. Seeing that we were DYING to take our littler herd somewhere the farmer asked us if we minded helping him drive them back to their pasture. Um yes please! He didn’t have to ask us twice!

Herding Cows the Cowgirl Way with Painting Pony

Check out the video: Herding Cows the Cowgirl Way with Painting Pony

Blitz and Boomerang chased stray cattle, moved them through a water crossing, and got them all safely back in their pasture.

Herding Cows the Cowgirl Way with Painting Pony

When you live on the east coast (at least near us) herding cattle like this is not something you get to do everyday, especially in a real “farm” setting! It was a dream come true for us.

The farmers were very thankful for our helpful ponies, and we had the best trailride ever! If anyone else wants to “accidentally” let their cattle escape, you can totally call on the Painting Ponies to help you round them up!

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Whats in a Swirl?

I recently stumbled across an article on Horse Nation about the significance of a horse’s swirl.

A swirl is a patch of hair growing in the opposite direction of the hair that surrounds the area. These swirls, also known as whorls, are most commonly found on the head, the face in particular. There are theories surrounding whorls and how they dictate personality characteristics in horses. Here are a few mentioned by Horse Nation:

1)      A whorl positioned right above the eyes represents the most common whorl and tends to result in an even-tempered and uncomplicated creature.

2)      Whorls below the eyes usually results in a horse with a higher IQ. In other words, this below-the-eye whorl horse might be a trickster who likes to plan his or her escape out of their stall in the morning. They are inquisitive and can be sneaky.

3)      Whorls on the left of the face could suggest a complicated but trustworthy horse.

4)      Whorls on the right can indicate an obstinate personality.

5)       Horses with one long whorl tend to be people-friendly.

6)      Double whorl horses can have multiple personalities. They tend to be more complicated and difficult to read at first glance.

7)      Three or more whorls are extremely rare and suggest unpredictability… so watch out!

So for fun, lets look at the Painting Ponies!

Minnow - Swirl // Painting Pony

Blitz swirl // Painting Pony

Minnow and Blitz have the classic swirl meaning their even-tempered and uncomplicated creatures. Not sure that exactly describes them.

Boomer in the snow // Painting Pony

Painting Pony Blog // Chincoteague Ponies in the Snow

Boomer’s is a longer swirl just above his eyes indicating he’s people friendly but also uncomplicated and even tempered. I would say Boomer is for sure people friendly and I guess he is pretty uncomplicated but he can certainly have an explosive streak. (Bronco bucking has been his hardest habit to break when he’s excited)!

Now I have another horse that has a pretty unique swirl, Niatross aka Nitro is my now 28 year old retired dressage horse.

nitro

Nitro at USDF Young Rider Championships

It’s hard to tell in these photos, but Nitro actually has a double swirl, meaning he can have multiple personalities and also be more complicated and difficult to read at first glance. That’s pretty much Nitro to a T. He’s one of the most challenging horses I’ve ever owned!

What story does your horses’ swirl tell?

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The Chincoteague Ponies take to Sledding

Finally this past weekend I got a chance to do something I’ve been waiting to do for a while now! With some snow that stuck around long enough for me to enjoy it I lugged one of my snow tubes to the farm to go sledding with the ponies!

The Chincoteague Ponies go Sledding // Painting Pony

We rigged up a make-shift harness with an old breast plate and an elastic wrap to keep it tied around their middle. Now if your horse is already accustomed to pulling a cart than pulling a sled isn’t much different, however none of our ponies have ever pulled a cart.

Having already exposed all three of our chincoteagues to dragging objects behind them (old grain bags, tarps, etc) we figured they’d probably take to pulling a sled too. Boomerang was the first pony we brought out because he’s probably the most laid back and willing.

All it took were a few clicks and rewards to reinforce him for pulling the sled (which I did by walking on the ground with him first) and he pretty much knew the drill.

The Chincoteague Ponies go Sledding // Painting Pony

Eventually I hopped on him bareback and asked him for more. Pretty soon he was cantering around happily – in fact he was so ok with it that we eventually broke out the snowboard too!

The Chincoteague Ponies go Sledding // Painting Pony

I love how the clicker training I use with my ponies has prepared Boomer so well to try anything. When I reward him for his efforts he’s so willing to give me all he can – positive reinforcement goes a long way!

The Chincoteague Ponies go Sledding // Painting Pony

Minnow was next and despite being a little cautious about the sled at first he was very willing to pull along a passenger. Minnow will always try his heart out for me, and I had no doubt he’d be willing to pull the sled if I asked him.

Blitz took a turn with the sled too, and my mom even hopped on him bareback (something she hadn’t done since she had her accident while riding bareback with him several years ago).

We had so much fun that now we have something to look forward to the next time it snows!

Have you ever been sledding with your horses?

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Cape Henlopen – Riding on the Beach

On Monday we decided to pack up the ponies and Ammo the Dachshund and head to Cape Henlopen in Delaware to ride on the beach. We had never been there before, but heard they allowed beach riding until late April.

cape henlopen beach ride - painting pony

cape henlopen beach ride - painting pony

Blitz and Boomerang have been to the beach before when we took our ride on Assateague Island in Virginia last fall.

cape henlopen beach ride - painting pony

In fact Boomerang was so excited about returning he couldn’t even make it all the way to the beach before taking a roll in the sand.

cape henlopen beach ride - painting pony

cape henlopen beach ride - painting pony

This time Minnow stayed at home (sorry Minnow) and we brought along my sister’s mare, Jet, and this was her first time on the beach. Jet was a bit nervous about the waves at first but eventually relaxed some, we even worked up to some fun galloping/racing along the beach.

After taking the ponies on our ride we picked up Ammo at the trailer and took them on a run/walk in the ocean.

cape henlopen beach ride - painting pony

cape henlopen beach ride - painting pony

cape henlopen beach ride - painting pony

cape henlopen beach ride - painting pony

cape henlopen beach ride - painting pony

As you can see it was extremely windy that day and had it been warmer I would have ventured further into the ocean with Boomerang.

cape henlopen beach ride - painting pony

Understandably Boomer was a bit nervous at first about going too far into the ocean – waves coming at you can be a scary thing when you aren’t sure what they are. But with a bit of clicker training I eventually had him encompassed in some waves.

cape henlopen beach ride - painting pony

cape henlopen beach ride - painting pony

cape henlopen beach ride - painting pony

cape henlopen beach ride - painting pony

cape henlopen beach ride - painting pony

cape henlopen beach ride - painting pony

Blitz was really fun to watch on the beach – he looked just like a wild stallion, so pretty!

cape henlopen beach ride - painting pony

cape henlopen beach ride - painting pony

cape henlopen beach ride - painting pony

cape henlopen beach ride - painting pony

cape henlopen beach ride - painting pony

cape henlopen beach ride - painting pony

cape henlopen beach ride - painting pony

cape henlopen beach ride - painting pony

cape henlopen beach ride - painting pony

cape henlopen beach ride - painting pony

cape henlopen beach ride - painting pony

Dramatic Boomer rolled about 6 times on the beach (aside from being cued to lay down & sit) – and he could of cared less who or what was next to him as long as he could feel the wet sand on his body.

cape henlopen beach ride - painting pony

The ponies weren’t the only ones to have a good time on the beach though. Ammo thoroughly enjoyed himself even if he did get a little wind/sand blown. It’s a drag being so short sometimes.

cape henlopen beach ride - painting pony

cape henlopen beach ride - painting pony

cape henlopen beach ride - painting pony

cape henlopen beach ride - painting pony

To check out more of our photos from our beach adventure visit our Facebook Page.

 

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Hands-free Target Stick

painting pony target stick

One of my top items on my Christmas List this year was a retractable key chain for my target stick. When I’m performing with the ponies I’m constantly scrambling to keep my target stick with me. Stuffing it through my belt loops, holding it under my arm, sometimes sprinting across the arena to grab it after it was left behind. It really was becoming quite difficult to perform with it. So the solution for me was a heavy duty retractable key chain – but the next problem was how to get the stick to stay on the key chain.

So I was all ready to rig something up to attach the stick to the key chain – I had snaps and elastic and I even set up my sewing machine.

painting pony target stick

But then my little sidekick Ammo heard the click of my camera shutter and he came sprinting from across the house to help.

painting pony target stick

We played with the target stick.

painting pony target stick

And I took pictures of Ammo, always the camera hog.

ammo the dachshund

I’m pretty sure Ammo thinks he’s a famous super model.

ammo the dachshund

Then Ammo convinced me to take a break on the bed with him – although pretty much the only thing I had done was take a photo of said target stick and retractable key chain. But in the end, Ammo was right, I had plenty of time to play with him because I was completely over thinking my engineering efforts – when all I really needed was a hair tie.

painting pony target stick

Now we’re ready for some serious clicker training! Let the fun begin!

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