Playing with Pete, Kate & Blue

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Today was great! First full day at the barn all winter. Started with Pete first thing after feeding this morning. My neighbor Billy Jack stopped by with a smaller horse collar for the harness. I bought a 22″ draft collar on ebay when I thought I was going to be driving Max. Pete is smaller and he takes a 20″ which fit perfectly with the pad under it. I had to show off Pete “under saddle” first although I rode him in his new bareback pad & Parelli halter with reins. We rode the rail, did the 9 step backup, did a 360 degree turn on the hindquarters and forehand (both directions) and he was pretty great ;-)
When I took everything off of him he followed me to the gait and waited while I got his harness. Billy Jack was smiling when I came back and said Pete was watching EVERYTHING I did. I think he was impressed…

He helped me harness Pete up (I’m still learning) and left as I worked Pete around the arena in the lines.

We had a good session for about 30-40 minutes. he has a good stop and responsive both directions although a bit easier going left. Next is to learn to sidestep and get him used to side poles when turning. I’m planning to hook up a long pvc pipe one each side and tie them in the bottom and let him drag those around. Since he was pulling in a team he hasn’t felt the pole on both sides just the single tree. I need to make a few minor adjustments to the harness. The tail strap is loose and I think the britching strap seemed loose but I don’t know enough about harness fit yet to check. Just going by Billy Jack and I think he was ready to go home by the time we got Pete harnessed up. His health is an issue…but he’s about 78 and still playing with horses! Hope I am too when I’m 78.

Next, I brought Kate in the roundpen and cleaned her up. She was muddy from head to toe. I brought the big green ball in and after playing a few games introduced her to it. Ended with dribbling it off her back so it wasn’t a big deal although it was interesting to her. I found out how much when we did a little liberty and as she trotted past it she did a fine kick almost knocking it. I stepped it up with her to see her stride and stamina. She did 3 circles at the trot each direction. She’s out of shape but we’ll see how it goes…I think she’s going to be just fine.

Blue was last and also a muddy mess from head to toe. After cleaning her up, I played with her and the green ball too

Blue is a left brain introvert and very calm. The big green ball was not scary and after playing approach and retreat with it I just picked it up and rolled it all over her. I could have just sat on her back and done the same thing. I think she’s going to be the horse I stand up on someday…

I finished with an hour on blue bareback riding freestyle in the arena. We also started carrot stick riding for the first time. I was able to rub her all over with the stick, swing the stick, flex her neck both directions and turn left and right with it using my leg cues first and adding the stick to cue as needed. It’s fun and she gets it. She’s a little resistant to the right. We did have a significant stumble at the trot but she recovered and I kept a good seat. I think she just wasn’t paying attention because it happened at the very beginning of our trotting. I had her attention after that!

Merideth & Gwendy came out to ride as did Robyn. I spent the rest of the afternoon painting the new training skid I built for Pete. John Deere green and it’s going to take a few coats.

I’m going to use it as a training sled and then when my cart arrives i may use it to drag the arena. I have a small harrow that I’m going to try hitching behind it and as the runners of the skid dig ruts in the arena gravel the harrow with come behind and smooth it out. That’s the theory anyway…we’ll see if it works…

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