Pony History: Bit

We purchased “Bit” (Little Jim’s Bit of Silver) in 2009. We purchased her to add her bloodlines to our breeding program and to utilize in our riding and driving program.

Riding Pony

After arriving at LP Painted Ponys, “Bit” entered the riding lesson program.

Little Jim's Bit of Silver - Bit Little Jim's Bit of Silver Little Jim's Bit of Silver - Bit

Driving Pony

In February 2010, she was started in ground-driving in harness in preparation for single and pair driving.”Bit” is not quite as quiet as “Bell”, but she”s coming along and has now been ground driven through ditches, over our little bridge on our home property, through the woods connecting us with our neighbors and along the road with traffic. When introduced to a single PVC pole along her side (hooked to the shaft carrier on the surcingle/saddle), she became very upset and nervous. We are taking our time with this step, so that she settles and accepts it as part of her everyday job. It may be summer before we consider hooking her to a tire or a drag for the first time, in the meanwhile, we are continuing to work with her.

By fall 2010, “Bit” is pulling a chain link drag and a farm style drag with her full sister, “Bell” as a pair. She is also coming right along as a single driving pony, though sometimes that is a bit hair raising, too.

Madira driving Bit at Starting Point Stables Paula working Bell and Bit to a farm drag
In March 2011, the new farm harness has arrived and the summer is spent making adjustments to the harness and wagon so that “Bit” & “Bell” can work as a team. They start out pulling the bigger, red wagon. I did get them and it to a couple of events – but it took an extra trailer/trk to get it there as the wagon would not fit in our trailer. That was a problem.

Bit and Bell pull wagon at Buchannon Farm - Swann Station, NC
So I sold the red wagon and was able to purchase a new, smaller (NICE) wagon from Pioneer Manufacturing out of Dalton, OH in October 2012.

Bell and Bit pull new wagon in TX Giving residents rides in the wagon in Temple, TX Bit and Bell went to Texas to visit Dad in the Assisted living home he was in. They both gave rides to the residents that day (as seen above). When we left Temple, we headed to an ASPC/AMHR Halloween Spooktacular show in Glenrose, TX. I had hauled them with the plan of getting help from some pony/mini horse driving experts and I got it. Then, they convinced me to show Bell and Bit in the driving classes. The fact that our wagon was the wrong type was waived (rubber tires, farm style not hitch/show style). So Vicki and I went to a store and got some Halloween decorations and we proceeded to braid them (glad I had practiced a bit on the Draft Horse roll for manes and of course knew how to braid & put up tails).

Bit's dress for pair harness class at the Halloween Spooktacular show in Glendrose, TX - Oct 2012 Bit's tail braid at the Halloween Spooktacular show in Glendrose, TX
A bit rough still in our class, but overall, even with my shaking, the girls did very well. Bit did not revert to her “squeaky wheel” behavior.

Bit & Bell - going from left to right in figure 8 in driving class - Halloween Spooktacular show in Glenrose, TX Bit & Bell in the ring at the Halloween Spooktacular in Glenrose, TX
Bit did however, let us know how she felt about the whole rigamarole!

Bit & Bell in the ring - Halloween Spooktacular Show in Glenrose, TX.

Bit started out with Bell, but then she is also used as a training pony with both “Koalah” and “Cassie”. Bit became the “go-to” pony for driving with partners. She not only drove with her full sister, Bell, but also with Cassie, before we decided that Cassie just wouldn’t work as a driving pony. Bit often held Cassie to the ground when Cassie exploded.

Bit & Cassie driving to wagon @ Draft Horse Plow Day Bit drives with Cassie to a forecart in SC
“Cassie” works better with “Bell”, so “Bit” remains with “Koalah” and they become a great working pair. Bit and Koalah were teamed up for the Christmas Parade in Broadway, NC December 2012. They pulled the wagon with a nice amount of passengers and had a ton of energy as the parade ended. Good thing as we headed back to the trailer parking (about 2.5 miles back), the temp did the normal December “thing” and dropped. BRRRR……

Dressing the ponies - Koalah & Bit for Broadway, NC Christmas Parade 2012 Larry fixes the antlers on Koalah while Bit stands quietly
“Bit” does better on the right, so they are switched out.

Koalah and Bit drive The last event that Bit went to was in October 2014 (right before we moved from Lillington, NC to Cameron, NC). We went to the Hallelujah Fun Day at the Mt Olive United Methodist Church about 3 miles from our home. Since I took 4 ponies & 4 sets of harness for the day, we did load them in the trailer and hauled over there.

Farm Work

Bit does farm work – both single and as a pair.

Bit pulling limbs by herself Bell and Bit pull a round bale of hay Bell and Bit pull farm disk at Hoggard's farm Bit drove with Bell and Koalah as a 3 abreast hitch – only have a couple of photos from the very first hitch when I took her back to Rex MacArthur’s farm to have help putting the hitch to. We drove the 3 abreast hitch to the forecart several times at both Little River Trails and Twin Oaks. Several times, I turned both Bell’s and Koalah’s foals loose and drove what became a pseudo 5 abreast hitch. Since I was alone most of the time when doing the 3 abreast, we never got any pictures that way!

1st hitching - 3 abreast at McArthur's farm 3 abreast hitch at Rex McArthur's Farm

For future drives, Bit and Bell were switched out. Bit did so much better with her left eye (cataract & going blind in it) on the inside, and her seeing eye on the outside. Bit also drove with Bell, GG and Cassie for ground driving in a 4 abreast hitch. We couldn’t get the lines to work right and couldn’t figure it out. So the foursome were loaded in the trailer and we zipped up to Ohio to the company that made the lines and sent them to us. Found out that the lines had been put together wrong by them – they fixed the issue and showed me how to figure it out. While doing some test “drives” the folks at Fairview Country Sales in Millersburg, OH, the training and the work with the girls was highly compliment. I thoroughly enjoyed that. Unfortunately, we never got to actually driving that way as time got away from us. Also, I figured out real quick that while I can hitch and drive singles, pairs and 3-abreast by myself, harnessing & running the lines for the 4 was pretty much impossible by oneself. I know that others do it, but I haven’t figured out how yet.

4-abreast hitch ground driving - From left - Bit, Cassie, GG & Bell. Bit, Cassie, GG & Bell - ground driving as a 4-abreast adjusting the harness - paula with bit, cassie, gg & bell

2015 – In our new place

In December 2014, we closed on our first property since purchasing our first ponies in 1995. We had always leased or rented until that point. It is great for the ponies and in February, Bit looks like she’s settling in well. I was worried about her at first as her right eye is now pretty much gone and she is officially blind now, but she is taking most things in stride. When she does appear to be “lost”, she “hollers” and both Koalah and Bell will answer her and she finds direction as well as comfort.

Bit in center of group after arriving on new farm

Bit in our new pony pasture in Cameron, NC. a close up from the front. A shot of her eye after cleaning it a few months later.

Bit still has winter hair, but is groomed.

2016 – A riding pony again

Throughout the spring & summer, Bit is having some issues with weight. When she is completely separated she will gain some and become just short of her normal “round” self, but isn’t really happy. For a short time during the summer of 2016, Bit again became a lesson pony. This time for our granddaughter, Gwen. She wasn’t ridden much this summer – a handful of times and we only have a couple of pictures –

Bit with Gwen riding Gwen riding Bit.

Foaling History with LP Painted Ponys

“Bit” was confirmed NOT in foal on April 24th, 2010, by our new veterinarian, Dr. Cindy Eaton, DVM. However, the US showed that she had been up until a short time previous. She is not bred for 2011. “Bit” has been bred to “AJ” for 2012. An US performed by Dr. Eaton determined that this foal/fetus has also been lost. We then bred “Bit” to “Iggy” for a 2013 foal. Again, a foal is not to be – “Bit” starts acting sick in early February, was put on antibiotics and then ended up producing a dead colt. Would have been a NICE ONE!! He had the cord wrapped and twisted a lot – think he died in utero and that may have been what caused “Bit” to start acting sick. We have not bred “Bit” since 2013.

For more info on “Bit”, go to her page – “BIT”

She was born on 29 May 1991 and passed on 16 December 2016 @ 25 1/2 yrs of age. Wind beneath thy wings my little “squeaky wheel”…

About lppaintedponys

Husband and wife team raising shetland ponies, rescuing dogs/cats & becoming self sufficient.
This entry was posted in Articles, Driving, History, Ponies, Riding, Working Ponies and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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