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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