Games Practice 12/14/14

December 16, 2014

This past Sunday was another great practice in the books.  For this one Zoe, Val and I were joined by Devorah who drove down from PA to play with us!  Devorah rode Poe and they worked really well together.  Poe seemed to really enjoy Devorah, and the same in reverse.

We were also joined by a new friend, Becca.  She came with her pony, Jiggy.  A nice beefy Percheron cross pony that seemed to really enjoy himself.  Becca and Jiggy did really well and I hope they will come back and play with us again in two weeks.

Zoe and Petal just look better and better.  That pair really hits it off.  And Val, well gosh, her and Sprite are always spot on.  Both Zoe and Val were getting vaults and riding like champs.

I started off on Spike, as I talked about in yesterdays post, and then I switched onto Simon.  I kept saying how much I love riding Simon and how easy he is.  I raced him through carton twice with no thought, smooth, good dunks, and kicking all the way home.  Next was litter, and again, just a gallop down and a scoop on the move, no thinking involved.  And Simon loves it.

Becca was not able to join us for pizza but the rest of us stopped and grabbed a bite and has some social time at a table.  It would be nice if we all lived closer and could do this more frequently.  But I’ll take every two weeks, its better than nothing!

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Spikes First Games Practice

December 15, 2014

Yesterday was one of our scheduled games practices and I was extremely excited to take Spike.  It was his first time around the games equipment and also the first real ride I got in on him.

Starting out, loading on the trailer was a bit of a struggle (and again on the way home), so that’s something we will be working on next weekend.  We arrived and tacked up, and Zoe took him for a spin so I could see him move out and hear her assessment.  We both agreed he is a little sticky going away from the other ponies, but not ridiculously so.  She said he was a little looky, but nothing bad, and his response at something spooky was to slow down.  She walked through bending poles and took a walking handoff.  He didn’t mind.

We switched bits, and then I hopped on.  After a bit of hacking around, Val rode next to me, to see how he felt about other ponies, and he was fine with that.  Of course most ponies are just fine next to old man Sprite.  Next I dove into bending, trotting through including slow changeovers.  The second time through he was much more efficient.

From bending we moved onto mug shuffle, which we trotted through happily several times.  No big deal.  Then three mug, which went rather smoothly, surprisingly so actually.

Next we moved to flag fliers.  Val flapped the flag around and Spike didn’t care.  So I took the flag and started out.  He actually had a nice end turn, and we did a nice smooth trotting pick up and handover.  We ran a few times through with him being completely comfortable.

The final bit of games I threw at him for the day was bottle shuttle.  I rode the pattern, just touching the barrels and he was fine.  Then Val rode with me, making lots of noise with the bottle, shaking and squishing it and then handed it over to me.  Spike was a little interested in it but that was about it.

This all took about an hour, and I decided that it was a good start and I would end him on that note.  He was really fantastic.  He listens to leg, which will make a lot of things easier.  At first he was a little unsure of making so many tight turns, squiggles, and weaves but after a few minutes he got the picture and was happy to take up the task.  He does not neck rein yet, which is something I will be putting on him, but he does like to carry himself with his head tucked.  We decided he was very dressagey.

My plan is to bring him along slowly, putting a solid games foundation on him. I want to install good stops, turns, stands and trust going both ways before I add any speed.  I am in no rush, so this should be a fun opportunity to make myself the perfect games pony-partner!  I am extremely excited!

I am so thankful to my team and friends for being so helpful and encouraging with Spike and me.  They are the best.

In the photos Zoe and I had on the same MGAA sweatshirt.  Hilarious!

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Above: Zoe at the canter, and below: Devorah giving Zoe Spike’s first hand off.

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Above and Below: Zoe walking out

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Above: Me hacking out with a pat on the neck, Below: me trotting through flag fliers

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Above: me and Spikes first flag pick up, and Below: trotting back up for our next run through the race.

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And we run through flag again.

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Spike Gets Comfortable

December 9, 2014

Just a little update on the new guy, Spike.  Last night I got home from work with just a little time before dark. Spike came right up to be in the field, and brought him out to be groomed up.  He loved every moment of it.  We shared a few apples, and I fitted my saddle to him.  I even lunged him very briefly as the light faded.  Then I put a light sheet on him for turn out since it was about to start snowing and icing.

He is extremely friendly and just hams up on attention.  I probably will not make it home from work in time to get in any time with him tonight, but tomorrow I hope to be able to get in a ride.

This is him just before the grooming started.

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This morning, enjoying some breakfast.

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He was eager for attention and marched right over.

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Spike – The New Addition!

December 8, 2014

Yesterday I headed out of my house at 4am with the trailer in tow.  I met up with my friend and teammate, Zoe, and we made tracks to Ohio, to pick up a new pony.

Spike is a 13.1h, Percheron Arab cross nine year old gelding.  He is mostly white with a little gray still showing in his thick winter coat.  He is bubbling with personality, moves like a dream and is destined to be a games pony!

In the trailer he went and we were back on the road home.

A few adventures along the way included nearly hitting a deer who was just standing in the road.  Stopping for a birthday breakfast for Zoe at IHOP.  Yep, Zoe spent her entire birthday in the truck with me!  We got to meet Stacey, who was willing to sell me this amazing pony.  Zoe also bought a pony from her named Finn.  I have to say how honest and easy to work with Stacey has been.  Spike was one of her personal horses, but when she met Zoe and learned about games, she knew it was his calling.  So she agreed to part with him so he could have a real career.

I got home last night and settled Spike in.  Then I introduced Simon and Poe to him.  I originally was going to wait until the morning but the screaming between Poe and Spike in separate fields was crazy.  The introductions, done one at a time, were incredibly smooth, and everyone was settled in eating hay within 20 minutes.

This morning I found them all quietly waiting for breakfast.  I spent a little time hanging with Spike, who was happy to see me and followed me around while I distributed flakes of hay.  I talked to him and spent some time petting him while he lipped me between bites of hay.

Yea!

This is Spike and Stacey.

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Zoe gave Spike a quick lunge.

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After settling in last night.

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Early this morning eating his breakfast.

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Winter Grooming

December 4, 2014

Winter grooming pretty much sucks. Ponies with long hair are hard to keep clean.  They cake mud into their hair and it can be near impossible to get it out.  If you clip them you have to deal with blanketing, which can be a burden.  But it does make cleaning much easier.  It also makes it easier for someone like myself that tends to ride right before dark.  With long hair my pony gets sweaty and hot, and their hair is too thick to dry out on its own.

So I choose to clip.  Poe got his second clip of the year over the warm weekend.  I generally go for a very easy modified English hunt clip.  I do the neck, check and then a line from the wither area down to the flank area.  Sometimes Ill shorten it up and just go a ways back on the belly.  This leaves hair under the saddle, so no itchies.  but it gets the bigger sweat areas cleaned off.

Poe is a champ to clip and stands there looking like a brave statue, enjoying the attention.  Don’t let his serious expression in the photo below fool you.

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I have given Simon the same, or similar clip for years.  When I clipped him in early October he got angry towards the end of the session and refused to let me finish his belly.  I tried to clip him again this past weekend but he flat out refused.  I picked the clippers up (still turned off) and he all but liquefied into the ground in fear.  I have no idea where this came from, but I decided it was not worth the fight.  I tacked him up and off we went.  When we got back he enjoyed a nice roll in some of the fresh mud.

 

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When I was unpacking Simon, I went to put his saddle and bridle away, and when I came back out to get his breast plate he had worked his halter part way off.  Such a silly pony.

 

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