I am SOOOO proud of my little pony doodle boy!!! He took day one of pony school in stride! Today’s lesson was simply to accept a light weight saddle blanket on his back. And he did it with flying colors! Yeah!
Now, let me state here for the public good… I am not a horse or pony trainer. I don’t even play one on TV. However for the last oh 30 years I have been horse crazy and have read just about every single fictional horse story out there for kids… played horses as a girl… watched about 2 zillion horse movies… read horse training books as an adult… spent countless hours on the internet researching stuff… and have several good friends that are horsey that I ask questions of and pay attention with. That being said, I think that I can proceed with some modicum of an idea towards how to progress with my little pony wort!
The people that had him before said that he was Amish trained as a cart pony, but not to ride. Of course, this was at an auction and who knows for sure. They never drove with him and the only time they tried to saddle him was a disaster. However, he does know some verbal commands, like whoa and walk on and back up. And he’s a gentleman when he is on a lead rope and very calm. So I know he’s had SOME training, it’s just really unknown as to the extent.
So, this being said, I am going to start at ground zero, level one and the first page with my little friend. My first act was to let him have a good solid bit of time to bond with us and learn his surroundings and get really comfy with our sounds and actions. I am pretty sure he’s good with all that now. It’s been 6 months since he came here. I’m sure we could have started this all before, but it was super cold and yucky and muddy and did I say cold? Yeah. cold. Today was pretty decent, at least decent enough to get started.
My first plan for the next 30 days or so, is to get him very comfortable with a blanket on his back, and a little weight in the form of bags of beans and then finally to accept a belly cinch. We’re going to take it super slow and just add to the routine a wee bit every few days. I got that cute little wool plaid blanket at the garage sale this weekend. A dollar! I was looking at the saddle blankets at Tractor Supply but they were all so big and for horses. Cody is a dwarf compared to those giants. This blanket is perfect sized. And nice and soft. And I might say, he looks very snappy with it on.
I took it outside with a lovely pair of carrots. Went out to the middle and sat down on one of the big wire spools. Of course, Cody came right over to check out what I was up to. I presented him the blanket, which he looked at suspiciously, but after I let him sniff it good and let it flap a little in the wind, he pretty much ignored it. I cracked off a wee bit of carrot as a reward and of course, lots of good praise and pats and then I just let it drap near him, against his flank to see what he might think. He looked back and then looked at me and kind of grunted a little sigh and so I let it lay over him, just loose and laying there. Folded up quite a bit, and waited. He looked back at it, quite well aware of it, but then just looked at me for more carrot. Which I gave immediately. He was fine.
I removed it and let him smell it again, and then unfolded it so it would lay better, and dangle in the breeze a bit. Let him know I was going to lay it back on and did. He just looked at me and was non-concerned. I was so excited inside, you could not know. Sure, maybe he’s had a blanket on before, but his reaction was so text book perfect. He was aware of it, and gave it a good sniff, but overall, he was non-phased over the whole situation. He didn’t shy or act funny, he trusted me that it was okay and that is wonderful! I led him around the yard, watching carefully to see if he would be bothered by the fringy sides dancing in the good winter wind and see if he would be annoyed by it, but he could care less. Even me patting his back and taking it off and putting it back on again, he was fine. He got two whole carrots and was a very happy boy. He even came into the courtyard so I could get his picture!!!
Tonight or tomorrow, I will sew the blanket in the right size for him, and will add a few pockets to the sides and back. Just big enough to start slipping some weight in there. Just a little bit at first. And I will add a little chest strap, a bit of webbing like for a tote bag handle, so that it will stay in place without much fuss. I want him to get used to his little outfit for a week or so. And that when he’s wearing it, we walk about the yard as if we have some sort of purpose and of course, he will get a little treat for a good performance. If all goes well, I’ll get a little belly cinch strap and we’ll give that a try, but not for awhile. I just want him to get used to having something on his back and a little bit of routine that is his schooling.
At this rate, in a couple years, we’ll be all trained up! Ha ha ha…Pin It