Sunday, January 30, 2011

Coriander gallops and Gwen ponies up

But not on the same ride, I wanted to clarify that right at the start. I'm not that crazy... close, but not quite.

Coriander's been telling me that he's ready to go for a gallop and this week I finally felt like we might be able to do it, it wasn't awful cold and there was enough snow that I figured we probably wouldn't have an ice problem. I took him out to our favorite spot (long, flat and straight- without holes) and let him go.

I've never felt him traveling so effortlessly before, he was literally gliding over the ground and it really did feel like flying. Unfortunately we hit a patch of ice, not enough to cause a wreck but enough for us to simultaneously decide to slow down. In hindsight it occurs to me that I've never before cantered/galloped him when his feet weren't bothering him. He picked up thrush at the old barn and we never cantered there. This is the first time he's been sound since the move; it's incredible what a difference pain-free feet make- and they've still got a long way to go!

Left fore today

Right fore today
Remember how I said I wanted to wait and pony Gwen when the footing was better? Well she's been stuffing herself out of the gate when I get her brother (naughty) so I told her if she's going to do that she has to do some work. I hauled out the western saddle and threw it up on Coriander's back, grabbed a long lead for Gwen's halter and away we went.

Almost immediately I found a pretty disastrous bit of pilot error. I don't know what it is about western saddles, but I'm a complete idiot with them. I thought I had cinched the girth up tight before I got on, but when I reached down to check it was loose! Uber crud. I then found a huge, gaping hole in Coriander's training when he refused to stand still for me to tighten it up. Not too fun when I've got one hand to tighten the girth and one hand to hold Gwen (this is where a ground person would have helped a lot, unfortunately ground persons are unavailable 99% of the time). I ended up dismounting to tighten the girth and then had to mount again from the ground. Learning opportunities, right?

After that though, it was smooth sailing. There's a nice, short loop in the back fields, about 3/4 mile long where I took her for her first trip. She's been there before, we went the exact same way when we walked out with Rocky so I figured it'd be a good place to start. Both horses did really well! Coriander made a few nasty faces at her when she tried to get ahead of us a few times but that was it. Gwen's brain stayed firmly inside her skull the whole time, and even better than that, I think she enjoyed it. We even flushed a group of deer and nothing bad happened. Both horses stopped to look but nobody spooked! There were treats all around for that one.

Overall, ponying was a success; we will definitely be doing it again. Now if I could only figure out that western saddle once and for all we'd be all set...


  1. A gallop through the snow and ponying another horse - two things to be very happy with! The gallop sounds like so much fun. I'm glad the ice didn't cause a problem. Good luck with the western saddle!

  2. Glad to hear that both rides went well!

    I think ponying will be good for Gwen. She'll get to go out and see the world, but with Coriander there with her.


  3. I could so visualize you and Coriander flying over the snow! His feet are looking much better and you must be relieved that he is pain-free. Whew! And, look at Miss Gwen! No freak outs, even when the deer made an appearance. Fantastic.

    It took me a while to get used to the western girth. :-) I prefer to use the buckle to keep the girth from loosening instead of tying a knot. I have actually seen some of the younger riders tighten their girths while in the body just doesn't bend that way! :-)

  4. Thanks everybody! I'm really glad it was such a good experience. Now I'm really ready for spring to get here, there are lots more places I'd like to go with them.

    Wolfie that's a good point, I think I need to buckle the girth up higher on the off-billet, then I could use the buckle on the latigo and not have to rely on the knot. I'll try that next time.

  5. Wow, his feet are really looking great. Awesome job!

    How great to have a gallop in the snow. I sure like your ponies:)

  6. Those are looking like feet to be proud of. We're still treating with the No Thrush but after last Saturday's trim things are looking up for Dee too! Still lots of frog recovery needed but it will come with time.

    Sounds like a really fun ride. Not spooking at deer is pretty awesome!

  7. Thanks, I'm pretty happy with how his feet are looking. They still need some work but there's a lot of improvement there.

    I'm glad Dee's feet are getting better too!

  8. What a great day - a gallop and ponying! You are WAY braver than I'll ever be - and yes, I get that you didn't do them at the same time - still, you are brave in the snow. And, I totally get the western saddle debaucle. I can't seem to do the cinch part right no matter how many times people show me. I don't have a western saddle, but if I ride with friends I think they secretly think that I am a serious beginner who has never tacked up a horse before!

  9. Sounds like both rides went great except maybe for the part about the "cinch." I always have my horse walk a few steps and then recheck before I mount. That usually helps fix that loosening thing.

    I think both horses did awesome not spooking at the deer. My pony horse, Dandy, always makes faces if the ponied horse doesn't stay where it belongs. He even snakes his neck now and then.

    I'm thinking I may try to pony Rhet here soon. Although I know I'm going to have to have a ground crew to get him taught. I'm sure the little stud muffin will need to learn a thing or two about being in such close proximity to Dandy.

  10. Juliette, I look the exact same way when presented with a western saddle. I wanted to use it because I thought it would give me a little more stability- then it didn't because I have brain damage or something. My English saddle isn't as stable but at least I know how to put it on!

    Thanks for the pointer Mikael, next time I'll definitely check it more closely before I get on. Between that and Wolfie's tip maybe I won't screw it up ;)

    I look forward to reading how it goes with Rhet. I figured Gwen would be easy since she's so submissive, I'd really have to screw up my courage to pony a stallion (he is still a stallion right?).

  11. Oh yes, he still has all his equipment. I am thinking I might show him in some halter again this year, if the funds will permit. Since he's still too immature to ride, I thought ponying him would be good for conditioning purposes. It would also help him get more comfortable with being close to other horses for future showing under saddle. We'll see how it goes.

  12. The gallop in the snow sounds like fun. Wish you had an assistant who could have taken a picture! Gwen ponied like a super star, especially with the deer surprise. All in all it sounds like a great time for all of you. Except for the cinch, I can't do them either.

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