I suppose I should start with the Big Reveal: My surprise… I added another pony to the string!
Her name is Chantilly. She’s a 2007 German Riding pony (RPSI, not Wesser-EMS) with 30 days of training on her. When I went for my second visit, I sat on her and though “Oh, this is the one!”
So we did the PPE, then I went on down and picked her up on Sunday. Of course, it was only her third trailer ride, and first time in a slant load, so we had a little pony fit for the for ten minutes or so, then she settled in and ate for the next 7 hours… 14 hours a day dragging a trailer is beyond what I ever want to do again. Oy vey.
Chantilly popped off the trailer with no problem, went for a jog in the arena while I got her new stall ready, rolled then happily went to her new stall to eat some more.
So yesterday I debated about giving her the day off, since she had just arrived, but she met me at the gate and wanted to come in, so I tacked her up and brought her in to lunge. No one was there, so it seemed like perfect timing to me. I cleared out all of the jumps and barrels and ground poles that were strewn about the arena, presumably in some sort of pattern for the lesson ponies. I didn’t think that Chantilly needed any obstacles on day 1, so away it all went. Chantilly was a little jumpy-in the way that ponies seem to spook, with the crouch and look but nothing else.
Oh, and we had 50 mph gusts yesterday too, so the arena was rattling and groaning.
Plenty of factors to make La Ponita Tres a little nervous, yet she lunged like a champ (maybe she liked my neon pink and black lunge line). She even settled down in the trot so that it was reaching as opposed to a little rushed. Just as I asked for the canter, in came another boarder on her big four year old. So no canter… Fine. I can deal with that.
Off came the lunge line, and I hand walked Chantilly around the track of the arena while the big black four year old careened around. Chantilly’s head went up.
The door opened and in came a kid on a little pinto Shetland. Chantilly’s eyes started getting wide. What IS that thing? Shetland and Kidlet 2 started warming up with no discernable pattern or speed. Pony does what Pony wants, evidently. Usually at the sewing machine trot or careening canter… Chantilly’s eyes were wide as saucers at this point, but she was calmly standing next to me.
At this point, I figured what do I have to lose? Might as well get on this pony and see what she does. I mean, worst case scenario, Pony bucks me off and I receive even more advice from the rail birds than usual. So up I get, on to the little Stubben close contact saddle I’ve been using while the Schleese is awaiting repairs (not as secure feeling as my dressage saddle would have been…).
And Chantilly… Stands there. What a good pony. So off we went to navigate through this pony and child mine field. Chantilly’s eyes are still pretty wide, but she’s calmly moving forward. I can feel a little tension in her body, but two or three laps around the ring and she relaxed a little bit (but still never trusted the little pony when it came tearing up behind her).
And the door opens.
In comes the Natural Horsemanship pair of the barn. Saddled and ready, armed with carrot stick and official NH halter/lead rope/reins… Again Chantilly stopped and looked, but she moved off readily enough. We upped the ante to trot work, nice and forward. Chantilly seems happier when moving forward so that she doesn’t have to worry about all of the bogeys in the arena.
Whump. Whump. Whump. Whump.
Chantilly came to a dead halt and craned her neck to look at the sound. Evidently NH warm up includes tapping your horse with the carrot stick, which sounds kind of like a wiffle ball bat on the side of a house.
I decided that discretion was the better part of valor and dismounted. I lead Chantilly around one more lap, then took her back to the stall to untack. Of course, as I exited the arena, what did I hear?
“I have some Natural Horsemanship tapes you can borrow so you can learn how to desensitize that horse”
Thanks, but no thanks. This horse deserves a gold plated feed bin filled with mints and carrots for not dumping me and leaving forever.
Oh, and here’s this week’s weather forecast. Charming right?
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…