I haven’t done this in a while. But, Tardis and I had a photographer with us yesterday, so I figure I better show her off.
I’ll get some pictures of Saleem soon too, I promise.
Anyway, here is my pony;
Don’t let the tail fool you. She lost that to a skin infection last year. She is turning 7 next month, but she is hardly broken in.
She is an awesome girl to work with. She has a strong tendency to want to blow up, and rear up on her hind legs. Like you can see here, she is practically contemplating the best way to do it, while still moving.
I’m a bit of a bastard and have worked with horses like that all my life, so I am not playing into her game. If she does not relax at a trot right away when I ask her to move forward instead of up, she is pretty easy, it turns out. I can always take her up into a walk, and she gives me what I am asking for instantly, because walking is boring, and she would much rather get going after all.
One of the things I love seeing about this pony is how rhythmical she is. She never loses a beat, no matter how tense she gets or how little she carries with her back. That is astounding. A shot like this one would have had most horses hanging on one front leg, because the back is disengaged, but not Tardis.
I am awed by this pony. She is so strong and so talented. For instance, a moment like this one;
This is Tardis. Engaging from the tail the the ears. I am truly humbled by this pony. I always thought that my old boy, Apollon, was a natural when it came to collection, and he was, but Tardis… She is something special.
Now, I would mostly like her to stretch forward like this, because I don’t want her collected at all, just yet;
As you can see, she is planning to murder me for this. So mostly we settle on a middle ground.
We have a half eaten Christmas tree on our pasture. A few of them, actually. I don’t know how we almost hit this one every time we come across it. One would think that with a whole pasture, it should be possible to not hit a tree, but… No…
And because I am me, I have to post this picture as well, because I don’t care where she keeps her nose and her face, as long as her back and legs are engaging, and I love how happy she looks in this shot.
I realize that I am making duck face in most shots… Either that, or I’m smiling. The duck face is me, making soothing noises, trying to back her off without using the rein and without sitting too heavily on her. It is very important to me, especially while riding a young horse, that I don’t sit too heavily on her back, because that will block her. So I try to “stand” in the lower part of my thighs as much as possible. I won’t lie, not having ridden for a year, I discover that I have muscles I only use for that purpose… And they are complaining by now, about getting kicked back into use.
Another super great shot I realize that most equestrians would not be jumping for joy about, but I simply have to post, is Tardis contemplating bullying the photographer and me half asking her not to, half laughing because she is so awesome. I know. You can’t steamroll people. Bad pony. But come on, she is laughing. See it?
Kudos to the photographer for not running for his life. Most of us do, when she gets that look in her eyes. Not sure if his trust in me, or her, is a little misplaced… We did not get him, by the way…
I had decided that I would not ride her more than every other day, taking turns with riding her one day and Saleem the next, so as to not to start either of them up too quickly. Only my thighs would be strained that way, but that is my choice, and if I want to go through that, I can choose. They can’t. If they get sore, because I am an idiot, then I have done something wrong with my training. I really, truly believe that your horse should never have to suffer in the least, for your riding.
Turns out though, that Tardis was kind of able to choose after all. When I showed up today, set on riding Saleem, I picked up his cordeo and once I turned around to go get him, she was there and she followed me until I surrendered and put the cordeo back and picked up her bridle instead. (Yeah, I am coward, I dare not ride her with the cordeo yet.)
She was so relaxed today, it was amazing. No “upwards,” no planning on blowing up, nothing. She just worked with me.
My hoodie says “Ponies make me happy. You? not so much,” and it is a My Little Pony reference, displaying both Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy. I have to say, I haven’t been this happy in a long time. My pony sure makes me happy.
I rode Saleem afterwards and he is really starting to get this whole idea of the cordeo. He even tried the canter when I asked him to, which is something he has utterly refused to do for two years, since I took off the bridle. So for him to try, to answer when I ask, that is one of those things that will make me bulletproof for the rest of the day. That, and Tardis came asking to go riding.
Last year, when I stopped riding, she was defensive about everything. She protected herself, fought the bit, fought the rein, spooked when the bridle was removed, if it touched her teeth, and all in all, she was so not ready for it. Giving her this year off may have been the best thing I have ever done. For Saleem too. Turns out, we have reset our minds, all of us. They are both trying now, in a way they never would last year. I guess that so am I. This time I won’t end up with a horse that feels the need to protect herself, or with a horse that dares not try and respond when I ask something of him. Saleem was always frail, but I can do better by him. It looks like he believes me now.
That will have me smiling for a long time.