A Good Evening

October 11, 2019

Here is a quick snap from my hack out on Simon the other night.

Nothing better than some relaxing time with you pony and your dog.

Driving Simon – August 7, 2019

August 7, 2019

I hooked Simon up to his cart for the first time in about a year and a half. It went particularly well.

Since it’s been so long I started off by ground driving him for a few minutes with a few Whoas and Stands. Then I attached the cart and walked behind to the field with some more Whoas and Stands.

Next I had him Stand for a solid three minutes before I got into the cart. He was all business and stood like a statue except for a fly stomp.

We drove around the field, wove through poles, did a couple Whoas and Stands, and did some “come around” turns for about forty minutes. I think all of this was very good for his mind. Lots of thinking and a complete change in activity.

I have no driving background or experience and am essentially cowboying it. Today really reminded me that I should get a lesson from a professional. I think I will set one up at the end of the games season. I would like to learn the basics and I also want to make sure Simon is properly and comfortably hooked up. I wouldn’t ride him in tack that didn’t fit so I don’t want to drive him in tack that’s not well fitted either.

I also noted that he seems more annoyed at the blinkers than I think they help. He seemed frustrated when he couldn’t see things. And he seemed more “looky” since he couldn’t look. I think I’ll try him in an open bridle and see if that is an improvement.

The over check also seems to frustrate him. I had it set how a friend had set it originally and when I released it he stretched hard. So I loosened it up and he seemed much happier. I’m not positive he needs it. But he is a fat-butt and may snatch at grass if he doesn’t have it to stop him.

Things to try and lots of things to learn, I’m looking forward to some more driving sessions. I think I’ll do a little googling now and see what info I can absorb.


May 5, 2018

Today was the local Judged Pleasure Ride, part of the Crystal Crown Series, hosted by my local trail club, the Shenandoah Trail Riders and Horsemans Association. This is my favorite ride for a couple reasons. It’s the closest, it supports my trail club, it’s a nice length, and I also really enjoy the laid back vibe and easy fun feel of the ride.

I have met Val and Zoe here before and we had a blast, and some years this ride has conflicted with Mid-Atlantic #1, which takes precedence. Last year I came on my own and poor Simon was a mess all alone. And honestly, it’s not so much fun with no companions. But I was befriended by Andrea and Lacy who were the pair ahead of me on the course. They offered me to join them and I felt like we hit it off. See last year’s blog post for details on that. Click here for it

This year I was going to be headed out on my own again so I reached out and Andrea was also headed out on her own and happy to join forces. Woo! Simon and I met up with her and her big boy Quinn and we had an awesome time today.

Obstacle 1: The Chainsaw Massacre. Stand on a plywood platform and be approached by a chainsaw. When you horse moves the chainsaw is stopped. The closer the chainsaw gets the higher you score.

I was happy with Simon although he gave in quick, he was sensible. This was our lowest score, 4.

Quinn was like a rock! He stood there without a care. I am pretty sure he rocked a solid 10 here.

Although this was my lowest scoring obstacle it was also one of my favorites. It was unexpected and different. I have not seen an obstacle anything like this one before. Pretty neat.


Obstacle 2: Off Side Mount. Have your horse step their front legs over the log so they are straddling it. Dismount, leave your reins, walk around behind your horse to the off side, and remount.

This went well. Simon did great. I was a little sloppy but I still managed to remount from the offside way better than I expected. Score: 10

Quinn was a goof here. He walked off when Andrea went around him, like “haha”. So she reattempted and he did this silly jump to heave his front end over. It is so cute. She mentioned he ground ties and in retrospect she should have dropped his reins on the ground.

I liked this Obstacle a lot too. Simple but also different.


Obstacle 3: The Gate. The typical rope gate obstacle. Pick up the rope by the knot (not the loop), only use one hand, don’t put it over or under the neck of your horse or let it touch the ground, go through the gate and close it.

Andrea killed this one. I am pretty sure she got a 10. Quinn was so chill.

Simon impressed me here. Last week he was moving so fast on this one and just backed off of it and I had to drop the rope before closing it. I had a moment of confusion at the start deciding which hand to use and switched from left to right at the last second, but all went well except for me letting the rope touch the ground. I believe a judge made the comment that being on a short pony is an advantage on some obstacles but on this one it put my rope closer to the ground. Ha-ha yep. I am super pleased with how this went. Score: 9

This is a classic obstacle and I have no excuse for not having worked on it at home. Note to self – work on this at home.


Obstacle 4: Back up. Back up the hill through the zigzag pole pattern and through the red markers.

We did super well at this. I started off backing up next to the course then started over on the actual course and it went super super well. Like surprisingly well. If we had only started off on course! Go Simon. Score: 8

Quinn was so big for that course. I doubt Andrea could see the poles around his belly. Be tried though and got most of it. I really think there was just a little visual issue because it was really not bad.


Obstacle 5: Soccer. Pick up the broom, use it to push the big ball across the yard and out the end in 60seconds. Re approach if you pass it.

I expected this to go pretty poorly with Simon’s weird aversion to big balls but it went surprisingly well. He was a bit quick, and we had to re approach once, but we finished in 30 something seconds. He was apprehensive of the ball. And it was heavier to push than it appeared. Score: 10

Quinn was doing ok but Andrea accidentally bopped him in the head with the broom and then he was audibly upset with the broom, snorting and all. But he was actually pretty good for being unhappy. He did bust out the side of the course, but all in all was reasonably “freaked out”. He did not care about the ball. And Andrea mentioned he eats brooms normally so I assume he was just that offended at being accidentally bopped by it. Reasonable. Andrea did get the ball half way across which was a decent feat.

This was another cool obstacle. I really liked it.


Obstacle 6: sidepass mailbox. Step over the rail on the left hand side by the flag, side pass along the rail to the right, open the mailbox, remove the box and hold it over your head, shake it, return it to the mailbox and close it. Side pass back to the left along the rail.

This was our second worse obstacle. Not a bad obstacle set up either. And Simon is a good lateral mover. He was rather concerned about that flag, which is just silly, and too busy looking at it to focus on what I was asking. So he backed off the rail instead of side passed. Score: 5.

Quinn is not a lateral mover and you have to watch him on the video it’s so cute. Andrea is trying to move him over and he just stands there like a rock. He also stands like a rock for the mailbox. Such a good boy.

This was a good obstacle but eh. I don’t have a good reason to not love it accept we didn’t do well at it. And it was a pretty typical one so we should have done well. We have side passed to and from mailboxes before. Maybe that’s why it was meh. Been there done that, but did it better before. I guess they can’t all be winners.


Obstacle 7: The Tire. Walk through the tire. The tire was filled with bottles.

Quinn yet again killed this one. He just marched on through like a champ. Done and done. I am sure he got a solid 10.

Simon was a bit apprehensive but listened. He was not nearly as smooth as Quinn. Score: 8.

You know, this one was cool. There are only so many things you can do with a tractor tire and this was cool. Simple and cool.


Obstacle 8: The Tunnel. Ride through the tunnel.

Quinn walked on through. Simple and perfect. Beasted.

Simon also crushed this one.

I believe we both got a 10.

Probably too easy but I liked it. I think this would be a good #1 obstacle to get them warmed up.


Obstacle 9: Step Up. Ride up the steps.

Quinn killed this one too. It’s a crap video but I am sure he walked off with a 10.

Simon ducked a bit on the second step but nothing too bad. Score: 9.

This is a cool built in obstacle and this is the only place I have seen one. We have gone down it once before too.


Obstacle 10: The Pond. Get into the pond, pull in the whale. Keep your horse in the water until the whale hits the water.

Quinn did so well at this one. He is such a solid boy. He really did a great job at this one.

Simon did so much better than I expected. He really wanted to run but he held it together until just when that whale hit the water. This was such an improvement for him and any type of dragging. I am super proud of him. Score: 8

A challenge. I like this obstacle. They always have something here and it’s always a challenge. But it’s always a good one.


I had so much fun with Andrea and Quinn. We chatted the whole time and it was so much fun. I felt completely at ease and myself and I think she did too. And Simon loves Quinn. He was constantly nose bumping him and giving him sniffs. Quinn was such a calming body for Simon to be with and a had a similar pace too. Two cute ponies.

I hope to ride with Andrea and Quinn again. 😊

Battlefield Equestrian Society JPR 04/29/18

May 1, 2018

This past Sunday I drove to Manassas Battlefield and joined my usual JPR companion Val for the Battlefield Equestrian Society Judged Pleasure Ride. Our friend Connie also joined us for her first JPR on her big old appy Bubba. Val rode Babyface for his first JPR. And I was on my trusty Simon.

It was very obvious that Simon had had a full two weeks off of work since Mid-Atlantic #1 and he was one hot little pony, busting with energy. I normally do not let my ponies sit for two weeks but I really needed to let my groin/thigh rest up and recover from the pull it sustained at MA1. So this was my first ride since then. It held up well. It was sore and a little tight about half way into the first loop but I kept standing in my stirrups to stretch it and that really did seem to help. Plus we were on mostly flat ground and I did not need to engage it nearly as much with Simon as I do on Poe. So Success.

Obstacle 1: the goal here was to get your horses lined up with his shoulders at the cones and butt facing the box. Then back up so his shoulders lined up with the opening of the box. Simon was just a wild man here and zooming all over the place. Oh my. Val and Babyface did super well. This pretty much set the pace for BF for the rest of the ride and he continued to handle the obstacles quiet well.

The video of all three of our attempts, and for me it was a real “attempt” scoring my worst, 1 pt! Ahhhh!

Val: 9

Krista: 1

Connie: 1

Obstacle 2: this one was perfect for both Val and I. Pick up the cup of water, walk down and around the cone and return the cup to the ladder. Don’t spill, only walk, you don’t need to stop to pick it up or put it down. The cup was full to the top. Friend Robin was one of the course resetters for this one.

Connie had a bit of issue returning her cup and had to drop it but not bad until that point. This one was a real easy obstacle for our games ponies.

And the video of the three of us crushing this obstacle.

Doesn’t it look like someone sped up Simon’s video 1 1/2xs? I swear he was moving with some purpose.

Val: 10

Krista: 10

Connie: 1

Obstacle 3: the gate obstacle. Ride up, lift the rope, go through, close the gate. Only use one hand. Do not have the rope go over or under your horse’s neck or rump or let it touch the ground.

Val killed this one too. Well don BF. Showing that smart head he wears at the end of his long neck. Bubba just thought it was stupid to mess with the rope when there was a perfectly good opening right next to it.

We did not get video of my attempt at this one, which I wouldn’t have minded watching. We started off great. Open, through, pivot, prep to close and Simon backed up. I thought we were done there but then he moved forward again. And then backed away again. I had to drop it. But I did feel like it went better than I expected. This is one I should set up at home and work on. It’s almost like the dragging things with him. He gets weird about the rope. And I felt like he was in 2x speed up motion. The judge even commented. He really needed to run off some of that energy.

Val and Connie’s attempt video.

Val: 7

Krista: 6

Connie: 2

Obstacle 4: this one was easy. Easy easy. I think we all crushed it and it was the first one I think I scored better than Val on! And surprisingly Simon was sort of chill for this one. He was leaping and bouncing for part of the ride there too. He really needed to run!!!!

Walk over the rail (laying on the ground), straddling it, stand still and count to 5, back off. Do not touch it.

So we touched it lightly but we stood nicely and didn’t roll it or anything. BF did way better than expected since he tends to forget where his legs are still. Bubba sort of side passed off of it in a round about not proper way.

Val: 6

Krista: 8

Connie: 1

Obstacle 5: this was a neat one. Ride up to the blow up purple alien rolled up in a hammock and stop and stand. And then pick a piece of candy out of the bowl and ride away.

Val crushed this one. Simon was not bad. He attempted to stick his nose in the bowl and was moving in fast motion again. Really. Bubba was shy of the lawn chair that was for the judge and not part of the obstacle at all.

Our videos.

Val: 10

Krista: 9

Connie: 2

Obstacle 6: no hands. This was neat and actually went way better than we all expected. The judge told us that there had only been one successful person and two that came close. There were 5 cones you needed to weave through and stop flush with the last one, shoulders lined up. The catch, no hands! Connie managed one cone and to stop, I think Val got two and me, I got three before Simon broke into a trot! Woo! Score! I liked this one more than I expected to.

Val: 2

Krista: 3

Connie: 3

Obstacle 7: trot the pattern, go in the shoot, over the rails to the left, and out the shoot. Super super tight. Don’t touch any rails and maintain a trot. I’ll say I felt like I maintained a trot through it. But, yeah. It was so tight. BF did super well on this one. His legs usually are all over the place but he really managed it. Well done.

Val: 6

Krista: 3

Connie: 3

Obstacle 8: the tunnel was one of my favorites and we all did well at that one. Ride along a short path and then up through a tarp tunnel. Maintain a walk. Smooth sailing.

Val: 10

Krista: 10

Connie: 9

Obstacle 9: dismounted pick up the branch, drag it around the cone and return it to its exact spot. The catch here is the time was super short. I really do wish we had me on video for this one because I really hustled. And I think I got back right as she was saying “time”. So I wish I could verify how close I was. Like was I still standing straight up with the branch or what? Otherwise pretty simple and actually the first time I have done one like this. It just wasn’t super clear how fast it needed to be done from the start.

Val: 5

Krista: 7

Connie: 6

Obstacle 10: remount. 8 max points from the near side 10 from the off side. Use mounting block, tail gate or from the ground. Val and Connie both went offside. I do not have the coordination for all that. Connie and Bubba served us on this one. Nice.

Sorry no video of this one.

Val: 8

Krista: 7

Connie: 9

Simon at camp – day 2 

April 16, 2017 

Dear mom,

Today I went to a different part of camp. There were other ponies there my size! But the one that I live with is older and taller than I am. He seems nice though. He must have dietary restrictions of some sort because he wasn’t allowed to stay out and have dinner with me. His food looked REALLY good and I wish they would have let me have it… My counselor said no though. I also got to meet my “kids” today! They seem really nice and gave me lots of pats and cookies!! Tell Poe I said hi!

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