February has set many records as far as weather goes. We have had extreme snow and wind as well as temperatures in the 60's.
Lyra has gone on her first trail ride with her buddy Topper. At times she was leading the way. The roads are ones she has ground driven and knows very well.
Pheonix is also being ridden around the farm yard. I have no pics yet but will soon. He also enjoys going out for long ground drives.
Jack has settled in perfectly. We are ground driving every where and he is very bold. I am continuing his desensitizing for having a rider and weight on his back. I should be riding him by next week. If my helper could be around more, we would be hitching him to a cart and driving him down the road. But such is life.
Winter has been great thus far. Between training horses at the farm, I maintain a path for sleighing through the dormant hay fields. Wind covers my tracks almost as fast as I can make them! After a few go arounds of taking the neighbors for rides, I signed Inky, a Dales Pony up for the Sleighing Combined Test at GMHA. We competed in two dressage tests and double cones courses. It was ridiculously fun and we even succeed in bringing home a few ribbons.
Lyra my Cleveland Bay Morgan filly pulls a light drag on the track as she is learning the ropes to driving as well.
I was too busy with excitement to remember to get a picture of Paddi with his new owner Kathy! Paddi is going to be exploring the woods and fields of western Pennsylvania. This is a great match and I am very happy for them both. The only sad thing is I no longer have the cutest pony. ;0)
Rebel is our new barn cat. She was born at a dairy barn and is very feisty. She chases chickens and plays with the dogs. I just hope she doesn't snag a baby turkey!
Here Julie is advancing her bond with her new horse Shadow. Julie adopted Shadow from Gerda's Animal Aid. I work at Gerda's once a week training and evaluating the horses and ponies that Gerda has rescued. I take much pleasure in seeing and helping the horses and new owners have a successful future together.
Pearl is actually at the indoor Shaylee Stable in Chester Vermont. Pearl is an absolute dream to work with. A refined Thoroughbred that had a short career as a Turf racer. She left the race scene mentally and physically fit for a new job. Her owner Stacia has done a great job acclimating her into a slow paced lifestyle. Pearl is with me to possibly learn to drive and to balance up her skills under saddle.
I am still "Sensible Horse Training", but we have moved up into the world, literally to the top of East Hill Road in Andover Vermont. Jesse and I are going to keep the name of the farm as Pond Farm. We feel it is like a boat and we don't want to ruin a good thing.
Here is Selig, also from Gerda's Animal Aid. He is fattening up on my pastures and continueing his riding and driving training. He will be with me until he is an accomplished little pony!
Dave Clark sent Mark to me to continue Mark's education. Dave had trained Mark to work farm machinery three abreast. He also drove singles and pairs. Starting him under saddle was realatively easy. Besides carrying a rider, Mark also needed to learn to pay attention to his job and not so much the scenery. Mark was an A student. He never complained and was always cheerful to see me. Everyone at Shaylee Stable helped with Mark's training. It was known that Mark didn't care for bicycles. Brian started by leaving a bike outside of Mark's paddock. By the end of Mark's stay, he was chasing Brian around on the bike!
On the last day of Mark's training, he took Dave out for a great road ride. We are accompanied by Mary on Amos and Elise on Paddi, of course I am on Watson!
Chloe will go anywhere you ask her to, but if somthing is flapping or skidding across the road she imediately is on eggshells. I finally made the time to teach her to learn to tackle her fears, or at least confront them. A little tarp work before each ride goes a long way. She may perk up a little, but she doesn't lose her mind. I always rode through situations like these because they don't bother me, us addressing the issue has made her an over all better horse.
Bonnie and I have been through a lot in the past year. She has over come hurdles many people can't ever imagine. Together we took on a pony project that just didn't work out in our favor. As a trainer, I want the best for my client. When ponies or horses don't work out, I take it personal, but that's life and you don't always get what you want. The ponies we took on to train as rider/drivers just didn't take to driving. Fast forward a year, and Bonnie found her match, a beautiful Dales Pony she named Inky!
Lyra continues to learn in the ring, from the barrel squeeze to figuring out foot placement over ground poles. She has been wearing a circingle and is still not used to the snugging of the girth. Most importantly, walk means walk and whoa means stand until you are told to do otherwise! Last week we went for a two mile jog and walk down the road. We passed dogs, cows and horses. We had traffic pass us from both directions and we experienced surface changes from dirt to pavement. We took a break on a bridge to watch the water flow beneath.
Cativo lunges and knows the verbal "walk trot canter whoa" He is fluid with dirction change and backing up. We spent a lot of time ground driving off the rope halter. He learned to follow his nose and not to worry about me following behind him. We advanced to a bit once I knew he wasn't panicky about ropes, or me tripping behind him! He also wears my heavy western saddle. I like to be able to do head bends with Cativo while I stand in the iron. We continue to stand. I'll change the saddle to english before I throw a leg over.
Chloe has relaxed a bit. She actually has long moments of head down relaxation. We have gone down the road a few times. Twice alone and once with my neighbor friends. They too have green mares, it was comical at times. The mares took turns being the fearless leaders. It was great! I am so proud of my students.