You know what’s cuter than watching my two boys interact? Nothing. Literally nothing.
On Saturday I was in a hurry trying to beat the rain, so both boys just got worked separately and briefly. But Sunday was an absolutely beautiful day, so Henry did a conditioning ride first, then we went back up to the barn and grabbed Presto.
I wanted to revisit the ponying lesson that we had started the weekend before. I didn’t have time to work on it at all during the week, and it’s not something I want to feel like I have to rush, so I wanted to wait until we had plenty of time. I wasn’t sure if either of them would retain the lessons from the first session, or if it would be like starting over again. I didn’t have anyone around to hold Presto for me while I got on Henry, so challenge #1 was mounting one horse while holding the other (and not getting tangled or have either of them head in separate directions). Challenge #2 was getting them both through the gate, into the arena, and closing the arena gate behind us. Or at least I thought it would be a challenge. They both complied with no issue, like they’d actually been trained or something. How bout that.
I made a few laps of the arena, stopping and starting and turning, walking over the poles and between some narrowly placed barrels. It was all super easy. Both boys started out even better than we had ended the weekend before. So I figured hey, let’s just leave the arena and make a couple laps around the barn and see what happens. Answer: nothing. I opened the gate from Henry’s back, we walked out, and marched around the barn. Easy peasy. At that point I just kinda shrugged to myself, thought “well, why not”, and headed out to the field. I wasn’t planning on going out there until we had another ponying session or two under our belts, but they were both being great… may as well.
Presto LOVED it. He was looking around at everything, but in an interested “WOW THIS IS AMAZING” kind of way, not in a spooky way. In fact, he never spooked at anything. Not the rustling field of corn that we had to pass on the way, not the trees and bushes blowing in the wind, not the birds that always fly up out of the tall grass. He just calmly took it all in and stayed very well behaved. For a yearling I continue to be really impressed with his brain.
I have to give Henry a ton of credit, he is a great horse to pony off of. If Presto starts pushing into him or getting too far ahead of his shoulder, he pins his ears at him and puts him back in his place. A couple of times we halted and Presto didn’t notice for a few steps, which earned him a “PAY ATTENTION” nip from Henry as a correction. He’s the one teaching the kid to pony, I’m pretty much just holding the lead rope. Henry acts super grumpy about it all, but I think he actually really likes it. Being bossy is his favorite thing in the world.
We made a lap of the jump field, then walked around the edge of the pond through some scrub before heading back. I could have stayed out there forever, but I figured it would be wise to keep the first field adventure to a 20 minute max. On the last stretch before the barn, all the mares in the mare pasture decided to gallop up to the fence to see us as we passed, which was exciting for about 2 seconds before Henry and his grumpy ears put the kibosh on that nonsense from both sides. God I love him. If we hadn’t had Presto with us he would have been prancing and acting like a total idiot, but he absolutely knows the difference in those situations.
I tied Presto in Henry’s stall while I untacked Henry in the aisle, letting him supervise the “stand tied” lesson. If Presto moved, Henry pinned his ears at him. I stood there in the aisle giggling for a lot longer than I really should have. Man its a lot easier to outsource all this baby training.
Since Henry seems to be such a good influence on Presto, I took them both out to the washrack together. I hosed Henry off while Presto watched, and then hosed Presto. He wasn’t thrilled, but he didn’t protest.
They both seemed happy and chill, so I let them stand there and graze for a bit. Once they were outside of what I assume Henry deems “working conditions”, Henry was less grumpy towards Presto. I swear I think he knows that this is his little bro and it’s his responsibility to make sure Presto doesn’t end up a heathen. Probably because he doesn’t trust me to accomplish that on my own.
Everything went a lot better than I expected. Presto is proving that he’s got a good brain, and Henry is proving (once again) that he’s worth his weight in gold. That horse, he is one of kind.
A friend is going to let me borrow her Western saddle for a while, which should help make our ponying a little bit easier. Juggling that lead rope in an English saddle is certainly doable, but it would be really nice to have a saddle horn just in case. Plus I can’t wait to throw that thing up on Henry and take a bunch of pictures of him REALLY looking like a quarter horse.
Once we get some more ponying experience I’d like to haul them off property and do some trail riding, especially during the summer when it’s too miserably hot to do much else. These two are so much fun.