He was so estatic about getting out of his paddock and all of that wonderful dry sand that he just couldn't contain himself.
It is now routine. I let him in the round pen and whisper "Go!" and he turns and does his rock and roll routine.
Afterwards he walks up to me and stands.
He has decided that lunging is for the birds. He sees no point in doing any extra work at all. So Sunday I tried to use my lunge whip with the plastic bag on the end to see if he'd get excited.
He was so interested in the plastic bag that he trotted right up to it.
I did get him to lunge and whoa properly, and he came right to the bag and played with it.
Funny pony. I never knew this. So many years he has been a yard ornament and an organic weed whacker.
In fact he was known in our farming community as the little pony who would go on visits to our neighbor's farm about 1/2 mile away. He'd get loose [fences, even electric ones don't hold him, that is why we stake him out in the summer and have a corral for him in the winter]...and we'd have to go get him and bring him home. Archived video....
So he's always been the little stinker and I have never really given him a second thought until I said to hubby that I'd like a nice paint pony one day. Of course he said, "You have one in the yard!"
Okay so back to Sunday. On Saturday I saddled him. He stood like a statue. He looked over the saddle and smelled it. I was careful not to cinch him up tight, but just enough for the weight and feel of it.
[I probably will not use a saddle after we are done with training, I love bareback.]
My small saddle does fit him and with a pony cinch, it fits properly.
So I saddled him again on Sunday, then did some 'spooky' stuff with him. I tossed down a small tarp and asked him to lunge at a walk over it. He smelled it then stood on it and then he pushed it with his nose.
Ohhhkay, that was not scary. So I tied a milk jug with rocks in it to the stirrup and asked him to walk.
He turned and looked at the jug. He walked and then cocked an ear towards it and then walked some more. I tossed a sack of cans up on the saddle and attached it to the saddle horn.
He walked and the sack rattled, the jug made noise. I rolled a ball across in front of him. He watched it go by.
I grabbed a snow sled and pulled it in the sand. He eagerly followed it around and stuck his nose into it.
Well smack me in the forehead. This is the little sled I use in the winter to haul hay. This is not a stupid pony.
I clapped my hands and danced around in a circle. He watched. I'm sure he has a journal someplace documenting all the stupid things this human does.
Okay. I was bored, he was bored. I took the rope and tied it to the halter in such a manner as to make a makeshift bitless bridle.
I eased my leg over his back and sat in the saddle.
I used the Tai Chi method of breathing and relaxing all of the tension out of my neck and shoulders.
Lil' Richard stood and sighed. He then turned his head and sniffed my coveralls.
I gently turned his head to the right, he walked three steps and stopped. I tried the other direction, same reaction. I kissed lightly and he walked forward.
At this point I was just looking for some movement without excitement. I slid off him and got on from the opposite side. Repeat. I praised him and gently ran my hand up and down his shoulder and then slid my hand to his rump.
Lesson done. I praised him as I unsaddled him. I picked his feet and then cleaned the rest of the burdock out of his forelock.
Rich walked in about then and asked what I was doing. I retied the rope and slid back onto Lil' Richard bareback. We did a little bit of walking and then I slid off and got on his opposite side.
I got off and said, "Well?"
"Well looks like you need a bridle," he answered. "Not a buck at all?"
I patted my new best little buddy. "Not at all."
I felt all warm and fuzzy inside. I don't think I realized how much I enjoyed and missed training.
With the rain we've been having, I've had to do something. And heck Lil' Richard just seemed like a fun project to try.
I hope to have him doing a bit more for Christmas Day. I'd like to decorate him up and take him for a small ride.
If he is not ready for a ride, then I will just decorate him up and take him for a walk down the gravel road just for fun.
A Christmas Parade...A one pony parade?
That is, if it ever stops raining!
So my Guard/Yard Pony may eventually have a new career!
Just color me happy.
I think Princess is next on my list, I've started with her, just never finished.
Thanks to El Nino and the rains I'm doing something better and different with my time.