Working on Balloons with Possum

February 26, 2019

Possum is the first pony I have had that second guessed balloons. I’ll take that challenge. Today we got in a nice ride and included balloon work in it.

We started off with a nice long walk around the super scary farm. I say that with sarcasm but in reality, there is scary looking junk all over the place. Ironically the big rock on the side of the driveway was one of the scariest.

We continued this until he was consistently relaxed. Say 30 minutes.

Next we did some slow hill work. I focused on Possum’s form. Helping him to learn to properly climb and descend to help develop some muscle.

Then into the riding field to focus on balloons. We started by blowing them up and putting the board out. Next we walked past and around them leisurely, mounted, without focusing on them. Then I dismounted and we walked past and then over them. He leaped on his first pass over them. But he got over it quickly, licking and chewing.

I mounted back up and did some work to get him moving off my leg. He doesn’t seem to have much experience with this and with his “mattress like sides” (quote by Val) just a little leg wasn’t going to cut it so I was prepared with spurs on. We worked on this and putting some tight turns in, all slowly and calmly.

Then back to balloon. After a few mounted successful walks past I dismounted and we walked past popping the balloons, one on each pass. Then I remounted and walked and trotted past cleanly.

Then some more lateral work.

I blew up and loaded the board with more balloons. Then, mounted, I walked past while popping a balloon. It was successful with just a flinch so we trotted past for the next few balloons and finally cantered the last two. Although this sounds like only a half dozen pops, the balloons are old and have been out in the elements so they were not trying to pop. I probably popped one on every second or third pass.

The last couple passes were strong and clean so we called that finished on balloons for the day. One canter through mug shuffle and then we walked out back to untack.

I am super happy with Possum. He got a nice workout for his brain and his body while making him a more educated pony. Although I am sure I will need to do several more balloon sessions, which I am looking forward to. Mr. P. gets an A for today.

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