Milli – Pony on Trial

December 10, 2012

Milli at a jumper show last summer.

Milli at a jumper show last summer.

This Sunday I hooked up the trailer (on loan from my teammate Kim.  Which is a story for another blog post in the semi-near future)and headed out onto the road at 7:30.  I drove a little over an hour to Winchester, where I met up with my teammate Kim.  She hopped in and we kept going up I-81, out of Virginia, through West Virginia and Maryland and into Pennsylvania where we picked up Lindsey and continued on our way.

Time behind the wheel goes SO much faster with friends.  We had a great time being silly and joking together.  I am so glad they both agreed to coming along with the ride.

We arrived right on time, at a really lovely hunter barn to meet Andrea, and try out her Haflinger named Milli.

Milli is a 13.2h thicker than thick, 12yo mare, with the traditional Haflinger look.  Blond, adorable and wide.  She was led up with her flowing long mane, and full blond tail.  All three of us said “awww, she’s cute” in near unison.

Kim giving her a try

Kim giving her a try

She stood quietly while we undressed, brushed and tacked her up, all while discussing her demeanor.  Which is lovely.  She was happy to stand with the lead rope hanging to the ground, and getting all the attention she could.  We learned that Milli is registered with the name Millennium something or other (can’t remember what), she came through New Holland auction to her previous owner and was a decided to be a little too forward for the beginner driver.  She loves to jump, and gallop and has a piece of her tongue hanging off, where she bit it years past.  She showed us several times while asking for treats.  She is too strong and forward for kids, or beginner riders, but loads, clips, and is UTD on shots, etc.

This lovely facility was equipped with an indoor, which was wonderful since it had continued to rain all day.  Andrea mounted up and hacked Milli around to show us her quick pace.  And yes, she is quick.  The pony has a nice working walk/trot and clearly has somewhere to be.  She has a nice long stride that covers a lot of ground.  Andrea finished up the showing by popping Milli over a few jumps.  The pony has no refusal in her and was eager to show her stuff.

Lindsey hopped on next and gave us a little showing.  She reported a heavy strong  pony and enjoyed her ride.  I climbed on next and found her pleasantly forward, and indeed heavy in the hand.  I trotted Milli out and then asked for a sudden and full woe, followed by a few backward steps.  A typical training practice for games ponies.  Andrea, in a perfect riding instructor cadence called out, “just relax your hands-“ before realizing, this is what I wanted.  The next time I asked Milli to pull up short she did it much more quickly, and with that “I got this” attitude.
I totted on past a flag cone, pulling and placing the flag a few times.  I spun the flag and whirled it ridiculously around her head and I tell you, the mare did not even flick an ear.  And when I asked for another short stop, Milli was on it.  The pony is smart.

milli 06By the time Kim climbed on, Milli had worked up a nice healthy sweat, for a pony three months out of work and verging on (ok, fully) obese.  But Milli still trucked around, forward and moving out.

We collectively decided we like the pony.  She needs to lose some weight, and turn the flab to muscle.  Although she will never be a lightly built pony, and will always have a wide chest, and big butt, we are hoping her middle can shape up just a bit.  We like her forwardness, and quick gates.  And She has the unflappable attitude and quick mind desired in a games pony.  The only concern is that we will not be able to tack her in a way to keep the saddle from rolling when she is mounted or the rider needs to lean over.  I think with a little work, this should be doable for at least a light framed rider, although I have my reservations, with our combined round shapes, if I will be able to keep from rolling when I ride her.  But I am an optimistic person, and she is an amazing pony with so much potential, that I am going to give it a try.

milli 01Andrea was fantastic and agreed to a month trial, so we loaded Milli up in the trailer (she walked right on like a total champ) and headed home.

Denny’s  happens to be endorsing the new Hobbit movie, which I just love.  So Lindsey and Kim indulged me and agreed to stop there for a bite to eat.  Milli hung out in the trailer, not so much as stomping a hoof, while we ate our Hobbit meals.

It continued to rain (and downpour) as we drove, forcing me to keep my speed particularly low, with that boulder I was dragging around behind the truck, and very much killed our time frame.  We got Lindsey dropped off, then passed back through Maryland and West Virginia and into Virginia again.  And just about at the Virginia line, the rain let up.  I got Kim dropped off and continued down I-81 towards home and into the heavy fog laying low in the valley for the remainder of the drive.

drive 03I got Milli to the barn, and she unloaded nicely.  I led her over to Simon who had already called out to us a few times.  He looked very pleased and very excited, and I let them greet over the gate.  No squeals and Milli did not seem to care much at all.  I decided it was late, and dark and wet, and to just roll the dice, and I let Milli right out into the field with him.  Not usually the best decision with new introductions.

Milli walked in, and started to check out the paddock.  Simon followed her around.  They checked out the perimeter, then the hay piles I threw out, and Milli grabbed a quick drink.  I watched them sniff each other and wonder around for quite a while.  When I left they were standing together, Simon nibbling lightly on her neck and her just hanging out like she was at home with a back hoof propped up.

It made me a little sad, that Simon is not going to be number one anymore.  But he needs a friend, and I need a new games pony.

I am interested to see where this goes and I am hopefully Milli will work out.  Now I just need some less than wet weather to get some real work going with her and see what we can figure out.

Seeing how far I can reach.

Seeing how far I can reach.

drive 02

drive 04

denny 02

milli 07

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