We borrowed a pony!

I got my daughter a pony. Kind of. I’m doing a “domestic exchange” with Baron and the pony indefinitely. My friend is using Baron in her lesson program and we’re taking James the pony up to stay with us.

Meet James.
Meet James.

James the pony has terrible allergies and the summer at my friend’s farm in south Georgia is brutal for him. The vet told her James would be happier further north with less humidity. While it’s hot in my area of north Georgia, it’s not quite as miserably humid and the gnats aren’t so terrible. It seemed like a great situation for us to trade.

James is pretty much the perfect pony. He’s taken several kids through Pony Club, he jumps, he does dressage, and holy frickin’ moly is he a cute mover. I mean, perfect ten hunter mover all the way. He is also a total love bug. He canters to the fence with his pendulous belly when he sees us coming. He likes my daughter to hold his bucket on her lap while he eats and he likes her to hand feed him the last few bites. He *might* be a little spoiled.

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His allergies seem to be improving. His eyes aren’t crusty and he’s breathing better. We’re feeding him local honey, which is supposed to help with allergies. So far, so good.

My daughter is riding him either bareback or in a child’s western saddle right now (because that’s all we have). I’m looking for a used English saddle for him. She is doing so well. She is trotting on her own, and her sitting trot would make many dressage queens jealous. She’s getting the hang of posting but she finds it more difficult. She hasn’t cantered yet but she will be in no time, I’m sure.

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Up til now, she hasn’t been all that interested in the horses. She liked riding all right, but it was more my thing that she tagged along for, instead of her thing. Now that she has a pony to love, it’s her thing all the way. She asks to go to the barn and she’s taking responsibility for feeding and grooming. I’m beyond thrilled. I hope she stays interested and wants to show with me. Horses are the best thing for kids and I’m so thankful that we’ve been able to get James.

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Month 7 Recap- May

I rode a lot in May but I didn’t get a lot of video or pictures to share. We didn’t jump at all in May. We trotted poles and worked on cantering. We still need loads of work at the canter, but he seems to enjoy a good canter every now and then so I let him. I’m still having trouble with him going straight to the canter instead of the trot. I’ve noticed it works better to let him “canter it out” for a few strides and then go back to the trot on his own, rather than half-halting or attempting to “pull” him back down with the reins. The more I stay out of his mouth, the better.

My 6 year old trotting on Thunder by herself for the first time.
My 6 year old trotting on Thunder by herself for the first time.

He is getting very accustomed to moving off my leg. We’ve started lateral work at the walk, just moving sideways across the pasture, and he caught on to that quickly. We’ve also been spiraling in and out on a circle. The goal is to build muscle in his hindquarters. I love how he’s looking and I can’t wait to see how his topline continues to fill out.

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The biggest difference I can see in him is that his walk-trot transitions are so much better now. He doesn’t throw his head in the air every time. I can actually get a decent working trot out of him now, which is huge, because he used to be an absolute disaster at the trot.

Look at that perfect hunter trot!!!
Look at that perfect hunter trot!!!

Overall, I am thrilled with him. I’m really hoping to show him either this fall or next spring. I’d like to do a green hunter crossrail course or a super low level eventing show. In my area, the lowest level of eventing is called pre-amoeba and the fences are only 12 inches high. I think we can handle that!

I have some very exciting news as well, so check back for my next post. Here’s a hint: It has fuzzy hair and tiny hooves and is quite possibly the cutest thing ever.