The Big Pink Ball

Simon is one of those mischievous ponies that likes to mess with things in his field.  And since Simon doesn’t have any of that natural instinct for self preservation around other horses (really, he just stands there while they beat him up), he is in his own field, which happens to be the riding field. 
The riding field has about a dozen jumps, an assortment of games equipment and two water tubs.  Simon knocks down jumps on occasion, and he loves to push the bending poles and traffic cones over.  One time the ground was frozen so hard, that when he knocked a bending pole down, the steal spike on the bottom snapped off.  He has broken a good half dozen poles, more flags than I can count and one time, he shredded one of our barrels.  I assume he attempted to climb inside of it and then thrashed around breaking it into a couple dozen pieces before spreading them all over the field.  I have caught him walking around with flags hanging out of his mouth, and another time I caught him half inside of one of the water tubs.
We added electric wire around his field because he started to use the fence to pull his shoes off and was attempting to climb over it.  A few times he was found standing in a complete tangle in the fence, just waiting to be rescued, and more than once he has come in from the field covered in wire rubs and cuts from rescuing himself.  Electric fixed that problem, but it didn’t do a thing to stop him from tearing down the jumps and games equipment. 
So about a month ago when I was at an auction with some friends we picked up a big pink horse ball for Simon.  It is very similar to the exercise balls that are popular with palates.  Actually I am not so sure there is any difference other than the one I got Simon says “Horse Ball”, or something like that on it, and the palates ones do not.  We thought Simon could entertain himself rolling it around instead of the water tubs. 

I introduced him to it and he rolled it around and kicked it a few times.  Then he ran off bucking and circled back to push it around again.  After a few rounds I took the ball up and put it away to save some of the hilarity for the next day when I had someone around to enjoy it with me.  Not surprisingly, the next day he had very little interest in it.  His lack of interest in the ball has persisted and the jumps and meager amount of games equipment we leave out are still being knocked down and the ball remains in the same position in the field, untouched, day after day. 

Jumping a few weeks forward, I was at Goodwill, and for a few bucks I picked up some children’s golf clubs.  I envisioned Simon and I starting to play a fun new game with the golf clubs and the pink ball.  We could try knocking it through the bending poles or over jumps, and when we have someone to play with we could set up goals!

Last night, I tacked Simon up, grabbed the golf clubs and headed out to give it a try.  I grabbed up the pink ball and Simon took off bucking up the field, where he stopped to watch me and the ball from afar. 

after bucking off up the field
I spent about 20 minutes on the ground, with Simon in hand, bouncing the ball, kicking the ball and having him push it with his nose.  I rewarded his bravery with pony treats and although he wasn’t terrified of it, he seems to have developed a weariness about it. 
It made me laugh that this pony that doesn’t seem to spook at anything and has never flinched at games equipment has to be bribed with treats to stand next to a big pink ball.  

He watches as I approach him while carrying the ball

Eventually I called it and hopped on for a ride before it got too dark.

I suppose we are just going to have to spend more time getting accustomed to the ball.    

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  1. On the Ball in the Work Place « All Things Krista

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