Mia and Sayde came out to meet Lily and have a ride. They had a great time. Mia played head shoulders knees and toes, and Simon says. She even did the airplane - taking both hands off the reins and holding her arms out wide. These are great games for developing balance. The girls started with a very enthusiastic grooming session, Lily has never experienced such intensive grooming.
Maddy and Ryan were out to ride again on Thursday. Maddy, formally known as the Reluctant Cowgirl, got onto Lily and rode around the round-yard. We were all delighted with her progress. Ryan rode Bucky and really took control. We always say to our riders "don't be a passenger be the driver" and Ryan was absolutely the driver. He had Bucky going around a couple of obstacles, much to the delight of his grandparents who had come out to watch the two of them ride.
Sarah arrived at 7.00 this morning for a ride on Driza, you can't fault her enthusiasm. It was a great lesson, Sarah has improved no end from being a complete beginner to really understanding how to guide Driza through the bending poles and doing some basic dressage.
At 4.30 Joe arrived for his first meeting with Lily. Lily had her first day out in the paddock with the rest of the herd today. She spent most of her day on the fringes, however, I'm sure it wont take long for her to work her way into the herd. The herd came in but Lily was a little hesitant, she hasn't learned our ways yet. Once in the round-yard she was groomed and saddled ready to go. Joe had to work hard to get her to on her own. She was happy to follow me but when I stopped she stopped. After quite a lot of coaxing Joe managed a couple of good 20 metre circles in the arena.
On Saturday morning we went to have a look at Miss Lily. She had been advertised for sale locally on Facebook. She instantly charmed us with her happy disposition and willingness to do what we wanted.
She was back at Sandalwood within an hour. There was a very enthusiastic welcoming party including all the horses, Eeyore and Katie camel. Everybody was very interested when she appeared in the round-yard.
On Sunday morning Maddy and Ryan came to check out Lily. Lily came straight up to us from the exercise paddock and stood very calmly to have her halter put on. Then Ryan lead her into the round-yard. There was some very serious grooming. Maddy had a sit on her. Ryan was very keen to have a go and was soon riding around the round-yard on his own, We were very happy with our riders and with Lily.
Tuesday 4th April 2017
Day 2 of Bucky’s Schooling
I was very excited to again hop on Bucky, however, a couple of steps in the round yard the saddle slipped. Called out to Steve, by the time I'd crossed the yard to him I was at a 45° angle and gracefully slid into his arms. Bucky didn't bat an eyelid! Tried a different saddle cloth and we were off again.
After several laps of the round yard with Bucky responding very well to the leg, we practiced riding out into the paddock and coming back in at a controlled walk; stopping before entering; walking towards the gate then turning back into the paddock; then we even stopped in the gateway. Big achievement, as our first attempt at riding back in had been a fight for control with Bucky winning.
Tayla was dropped off again. More tidying and loading of rubbish. Trip to the dump, quick trip into Woolies, then a visit to the sawmill for a load of sawdust - very exciting. After lunch, a riding lesson on Grace.
Wednesday 5th April 2017
Day 3 of Bucky’s Schooling
Ha! In bed, 3 cups of tea, googling ‘wide saddles for fat ponies’. Refused to get up. Steve went out and rode Hearsal whilst I pondered my sanity and popped pain killers!
Sunday 2nd April 2017
Bucky has settled in remarkably well, not phased by the other horses, donkey, camels, goats, dogs, cats, and we humans. She has picked up her new routine, comes in with the others when we call them, and goes into her own stall at night. Due to receiving an amazing amount of rain, she was here a week before we were able to put a kiddo on her. A very excited Tayla volunteered for the job. It wasn't long before she un-volunteered and requested to leave Bucky to someone else!
Bucky is a pony. Bucky hasn't been ridden in ages. Bucky knows how to handle kids. Poor Tayla, she was practicing picking up a flag on a barrel, every time she concentrated on the flag Bucky headed for the round yard. Every time Tayla relaxed Bucky headed for the round yard. Every time Tayla tensed up Bucky headed for the round yard. All the time accompanied by Steve shouting “pull her head round”. He went off to give Greer a jumping lesson on Grace, so it was my turn to shout “pull her head round”. We nearly had a three way tantie, it wasn't pretty. Now, whilst riding a naughty pony is a good learning experience we soon realised Tayla wasn't the person to start Bucky’s re-education - looks we're going to have to call in the big guns!
Monday 3rd April 2017
Day 1 of Bucky’s Schooling
I haven't ridden for well over a year, and due to ME, have muscle weakness, dizziness, pain, and chronic fatigue, so it seemed perfectly natural that I should be the one to dust off my joddies and re-educate Bucky! First problem was getting a saddle that fitted. Her owner’s saddle looked like a pimple on a pumpkin, so we tried my dressage saddle, not too bad so we were set and I hopped on. My first thought was, I can see now why adults ride ponies, I like being so much closer to the ground. My second thought was holy moly, last time I stretched my legs this wide was in the gynecologist’s office!
It was obvious that Bucky knew all the pony moves: how to try and get the reins out of the rider's hands; no matter what direction you're going in, head back to the tacking up area; stop at every gate; take shortcuts wherever possible, so that a circle is closer to marching on the spot; head up neck out ears back and ignore the rider. We tried a trot but it was horrible, head all over the place, so I've decided we'll leave that for a while and concentrate on the basics at a walk. It was so good to be back in the saddle, and Bucky is just gorgeous.
Tayla, our Willing Helper, was dropped off for a riding lesson on Grace, followed by tidying up the yard and loading scrap metal onto the truck. After lunch, a visit to the dump, we know how to entertain a kid!
That afternoon Ryan and Maddie came for a ride. Bucky was just wonderful on the lead. Despite initial excitement, and sitting on her for a bit, Maddie morphed into the Reluctant Cowgirl and decided she didn't want to ride Bucky after all and very happily spent the rest of the time decorating the horse stalls, and Lola and Chana, with grass and flowers. Ryan did very well, including trotting and bending. Bucky was a big hit.
Saturday 25 March 2017
We often have requests from various people, such as new members of staff or people new to town who have heard of us, to see if they can come visit the animals and for their children to ride a horse. Also, we get contacted by people who want to join Pony Club but don't realise they need a horse to do so - and, of course, don't want to buy one in case their horse mad child actually doesn't enjoy being lifted high up onto half a tonne of a beast that you've been told has a bitey end and a kickey end!
Being suckers nice people, we now have a number of small humans who enjoy coming out to give love and carrots to the animals, and to have a ride on the horses. We have Mia and Sayde (our youngest riders), Ryan the Sheriff and his sister Maddie the Reluctant Cowgirl, and GI Joseph. Joseph's mum, Sarah, is also learning to ride. She's in love with Driza (who wouldn't be!) and has discovered how therapeutic being around her favourite horse can be. We also have our own slave Willing Helper in Tayla who we put to work in exchange for riding Grace here and at Pony Club. Tayla’s mum, Greer, has been educating Smokey for us - but not long after coming back into work he managed to cut his leg and it is taking an age to heal. He runs around the paddock like a spring chicken but can't be ridden, crafty bugger.
Thanks to our wonderful friends Ann and Kerry, we have been able to borrow Bucky for the littlies. Bucky is 14.2 hands high, and just as wide! Nothing phases her so she will be perfect. I think that even the Reluctant Cowgirl will enjoy riding her around the round yard.