Thursday, August 5, 2010

puddle ponys

After four days of rain, this morning the sun came out. The rivers steaming through the horse paddocks have slowly retreated until they are just very big puddles. The creek has gone down enough that you can drive through it again. The farm sprung back into life, and i jumped back into action.

I am an eventing rider, i love cross country jumping, which includes jumping into water.. So all my horses learn about going in and out of water from an early stage. i also think its a good way of re-inforcing lessons, helps keep work fun, and also helps build trust between you and the horse when you ask them to do something a bit different and challenging.The training starts with puddles at home, a horse doesn't know the difference between going into a puddle at home and going into a water jump on a cross country course. So if you teach them to go straight into and out of water at home, this is what they do at competition. If you let them step around, or avoid every bit of watter they come across during training, they probably do the same thing around a cross country course. This has always worked for me, i spent all last winter marking my young warmblood gelding ( who had a real issue about going into water)walk into every puddle we came across. So this last season at all the competitions, he flew around the cross country courses, water was never an issue because he was so confident about it from all his puddle experience at home.
Wild horses are very boring when it comes to water and natural obstacles. Most horses, it will take a little bit of encouragement to get them to step into water for the first time. in fact getting the above mentioned warmblood to even step one foot in took a very long time as he would do huge leaps from one side of the puddle to the other keeping his feet completely dry. Fair enough water is an unknown thing, to the average domestic horse, there only experience being with it in a trough or buckets. Most young horse are a little bit nervous the first time, hence most do leaping bounds across puddles. Wild horse don't have this problem, probably from having crossed and drinking from natural streams in their home range. So while i was hoping for a bit of excitement and some athletic leaps and bounds....wild boy just plodded straight into the puddles when asked, as did the grey girl. how boring... Even trotting in and out of the knee deep water, wasnt a problem.... Their common sense, calm approach to life is great and makes training them so easy, but does not unfortunately make for very exciting viewing. Ah well cant complain about well behaved horses..
So since it was such a gorgeous day, thought id take some quick pics of the wild boy in the water. Water, sun, nature and a horse= amazing photo..or not. he didn't quite understand the posing part, obediently following me every time i tried to walk far enough away to get a good shot. Eventually i conveyed the concept of staying put, but then he turned to face me and investigate the camera. What was i doing crouching down there with a funny shaped object pointed at him? I gave up and just took the best pictures i could with my limited photographic skill. finally there is some gloss in his coat, when he stands in the sun, hes actually starting to look like a healthy horse rather than a scrawny goat haired thing, that he was when he arrived...Cant wait to see what he looks like in 6 months from now....