The girls (our granddaughters – Grace & Gwen) haven’t really been interested in the ponies and have been pretty fearful. Still somewhat fearful… but starting to show an interest.
So, yesterday we spent a little more time learning about grooming (they have both chosen larger ponies – so takes longer to groom them). Curry comb, brush, mane/tail comb & hoof pick. Nothing fancy right now…
Of course, they’ve also both attached themselves to ponies that aren’t trained to ride yet. So, after doing a basic grooming (and they both cleaned hooves themselves w/ a little help), I took 1 pony at a time (starting with “Cheri“) and sacked her out with the saddle blanket, then the saddle from both sides. Then saddle placed, girth snugged up and a little work done having her trot out on the line and stop, reverse directions and back up. Then flapping stirrups against her sides and slapping the seat of the saddle until she stood quiet and accepting. So then, I tied her up in front of a feed bucket and introduced Grace to the saddle.
Grace’s “job” is to both sit still and to move in the saddle. Sitting still while the pony moves will develop her balance and help to dispel her fear . Moving around on the pony – reaching forward and backward to touch her both accustoms “Cheri” to her movement being OK and makes Grace realize that she can still pet and love on the pony and moving will not over balance her and make her fall off. To start with, she will be keeping her feet in the stirrups.
Then she is standing in the stirrups – strengthening her legs and lower back, developing her balance and again making both of them realize that it’s ok. Later she will advance to other exercises that will improve her riding – if she’d like to continue in the future.
Then while Grace sat and practiced moving and standing up, I worked with “GG“. “GG” has had extensive ground work, harnessing and ground driving in both pleasure and work harness, a handful of hitches to a single cart and is a great driving partner with her dam, “Bell“. Since the birth of her own first foal, “Chylly“, Gwen has chosen her as her riding pony and has been on her a number of times bareback.
“GG” remembered the ground work and did Ok with her introduction to the saddle. Wasn’t long and she, too, was tied in front of her feed bucket and Gwen – only way to describe it – “swarmed” up into the saddle with out help. Poor “GG” – she was a little startled and surprised by that! It shows in the first pic – even after Gwen murmured to her and petted on her, too.
Gwen also gets to do the stand and sit exercises. She went a little further though – she then gets to dismount and remount from both sides on GG.
and before we stopped for the night, Gwen was cooing at “GG”.
We’ll see where this adventure takes us as we share the ponies with our grand daughters. I am hoping that they both continue to enjoy riding and maybe ride (and drive) into adulthood.