Almeda Play Day – May 18, 2019

May 18, 2019

In interest of making Possum a well rounded and successful games pony he needs to have more experiences, see as much as possible, and get out and about. He also needs to do different things. So when Heather invited me to join her and Joan at Almeda’s play day I jumped at the chance. Normally this would have been a Simon thing, but Possum needed the experience more.

I should mention that Heather did an amazing job videoing Possum and I. But I SUCKED at videoing her and Joan. I ended up doing that thing where I thought I hit record, but when I hit stop recording I was actually starting the recording. So I ended up with a lot of video of my pocket and not much of Heather and Joan.

Video of the obstacles in the outdoor ring

We started off in the outdoor arena. Going into the ring there was a green sheet of wood with a black target on the center. The obstacle was called “The Black Hole”.

Tucker marched right over it with Heather. Joan dismounted and managed to get Angelina over it as well. Possum was not having it. I got off and he wouldn’t even lead over it. So we started with a Fearless Tucker, a Let-Me-Look-First Angelina, and a Nope Possum.

In the ring I introduced Possum to a few of the scarier obstacles from the ground with little success. Heather and Angelina were also on the ground showing their ponies the scarier obstacles. We eventually mounted up and Heather and Tucker continued to succeed. Joan and Angelina accomplished obstacles with a bit more introduction, making leaps and bounds. And I turned Possum to some of the obstacles I didn’t think would bother him and we hit on some success.

There was a flag obstacle. Pick it up from the standard, ride down and around another standard and return it. Easy peasy.

The pin wheel, which is a base with poles sticking out that you ride over and around. The goal is to not hit the poles. We successfully navigated the pinwheel but we did tap the poles.

Next I rode Possum over to the large ball so he could check it out (think yoga/Pilates ball in extra big size). He smelled the ball and then started to push it around with his nose. He got really into it and pushed it all over all on his own. This was a break through for him.

Next we all worked on the outdoor noodle obstacle. We made it a bit wider and started on foot. We eventually led the ponies through and then we all managed to ride through.

Heather rode over the bridge and teeter totter, Tucker was being such a pro! She also rode the long zig zag over the tarp. Joan led over them but Possum was still unsure. None of us were particularly successful with the water obstacle. I believe I have heard it called a sleuth box but I could be wrong. There is a board with holes in it that allows it to sink and water to push up when it is stepped on.

We took a brief break for water and to grab some pony treats and then moved onto the field obstacles.

Video of the obstacles in the field

The first obstacle was a gate which we all three crushed.

The second obstacle in the field was the car wash. We let the ponies check it out and eventually touch noses through the gaps from opposite sides. This seemed to help Possum and he marched on through. I quickly rewarded him with a treat. This began the rewards which seemed to make a marked difference in his success.

We moved onto the dragging obstacle. It was a rather large heavy pole and I was pleasantly surprised that Possum did this obstacle with out a thought. Heather also pulled it around with Tucker.

Next was another noodle obstacle. This one involved three hanging barrels with noodles sticking out of them. None of us were particularly successful here but all three ponies sniffed and checked out the obstacle. Possum pushed the barrels some and I wondered if that’s because they are the same white barrels his hay is fed out of.

We moved on to the natural obstacles. There were quite a few. A water trap which Tucker splashed right into as did Possum and Angelina. There was a section of dirt filled tractor tires that Tucker climbed up and down and Possum and Angelina did as well to a lesser degree.

There were a couple obstacles that involved walking through logs and branches. We were all successful here. And another tarp! Tucker crushed this one and Angelina succeeded next. Possum was back to Nope.

There were also a few narrow bridge type of walkways and a turn around box which we did not mess with much. But we did spend some time with the noodle car wash! These noodles had bells on the ends and included a tunnel. Possum watched Tucker and Angelina go through and then he rode on through himself like a brave pony.

Then we moved onto the third section, the indoor.

Video of the obstacles in the indoor

In the indoor there were a bunch of obstacles. All of us crushed the mailbox (Which was filled with carrots). Both Possum and Tucker were too interested in the carrots to be afraid.

There were three bridges here, one of which was tall. Heather and I led and then rode over them successfully while Joan started to tackle the noodle obstacle. Heather and I joined her and after some work all of us succeeded.

We also navigated the tarp obstacle, the pinwheel, the extra tall ball and cone, and the raised zig zag. Heather was the only one successful with the ball pit.

finally we headed back to the outdoor ring and redid a few of the obstacles that challenged us early on. Tucker seemed like he had had enough at this point. But Possum redeemed himself by taking on the water obstacle like a pro, first on foot and then mounted. He did all the bridges without a second thought, including the teeter totter and crossed the zig zag tarp.

It was a really fun day, and we certainly got our money’s worth, riding for around three hours. We even ran into some Shenandoah Trail Riders friends. Katie was on her tall pony Tiny, who turned three today. First, wow for a three year old. And two, she is much taller than I thought. And I think Melissa may have talked me into the Shenandoah Trail Riders, St Jude’s ride tomorrow.

My final group conclusion is that we all need more noodle work.

It was a really good time. I am so proud of Possum. He did excellent and made major improvement from start to finish. He really is a smart pony. When I took him up to obstacles he engaged each one, initially just looking at them but he did progress to sniffing and pushing at them with his nose. He also learned quickly that he got a treat when he was successful and brave. Eventually he would stop after the obstacle and reach for a treat.

It was an excellent mental work out, and a good desensitization for him.

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