With him getting cracked this morning alongside Bobby (Chiro's take on Pongy: "His whole right side is a mess...but he is cute.") and earning himself a few days off, I figured I might as well go ahead and recap my short time riding him since BM bought him.
|he takes getting tacked up very seriously|
He's a sweet dude on the ground. From day one he ground tied in the aisle way, and he's since progressed to cross tying and being left alone without moving so much as a foot...okay, he might move his tongue because he is the biggest cookie monster I've ever met.
He stands great at the mounting block, waiting to walk away only until you ask him. His downward transitions get an A+ -- he walks and halts off your seat pretty much instantly.
From there he gets a little more fresh off the track-y.
|"grass is poison. don't trust nature, you guys."|
He picks up the trot fine with a little leg and a cluck, but he's very stiff in his hind end. His hind legs move like some strange carriage horse, and he's reluctant to open up his stride. He's already had one massage and got the chiro today, so hopefully that helps loosen him up even more.
The canter? Yeahhh. He's actually super to the left, unsurprisingly. He doesn't pull or fuss, and he's able to balance himself just fine. To the right, he can maybe pick it up correctly in the front, maybe not, but the hind end hops around totally confused. That leads to him losing his balance and flailing/falling.
Aside from riding things, he's had typical tummy troubles. He's being aggressively treated for ulcers, and he's finally rabid about eating his hay and cleaning up his bucket as soon as it's put in front of him. But he's a sensitive dude. He doesn't like being reprimanded, and every time something rocks his little world he thinks the end is nigh and goes into full-blown, "Oh god, my ulcer is explodingggggg" mode. And then he gets extra meds and feels okay again.
For instance, he gets turned out with Momo who he annoys the shit out of. They were rearing up on top of each other (ugh, boys) right before I went to bring them in. Momo must have landed a good one on him (Which, I should point out, he deserved. He antagonizes the shit out of poor Mo.), and it dawned on him that, ouch, that sort of hurt. So he went and broke into full body sweats and acted like he was colicking.
|"are those cookies i hear?!"|
Now we get to the part where he lost his riding privileges for a short time.
Not this past weekend, but the weekend before, I forced Hubby out to take us on our first trail ride. Hubby got on Bobby to be our voice of reason and punching bag/pony horse. Pongo followed Bobby out of the indoor and around the barn without a care in the world. Then we came to a puddle that he had to go through to continue down the trail. Bobby had to come back and retrieve us, and once Pongo was attached to his pony he strolled right across.
But Pongo and a pony don't really mix. He instantly loses all independent thought once he pairs up. He can't steer, he doesn't listen to whoa or go, and god forbid you try to get through to him in any way because he goes into melt down mode when you try to correct him. I figured, whatever. It's not the end of the world if we have to get ponied for our first trail ride. Carry on.
|first ride/ponying after BM bought him|
He jigged, but he wasn't spooky or being stupid--although I'm sure poor Bobby disagreed. Then we came around a corner of the field and for whatever reason he lost his shit and body slammed Bobby, burying him in a bush to the point where Bobby was like, "I cannot carry on, I am stuck in this bush, fare thee well." Of course, that left Pongo all by himself in the lead with no cognitive abilities so he went to his go-to evasion and started rearing.
I had my neck strap on so I never once thought he was going to get me off, but he got to the point where I did think he was going to lose track of what his feet were doing and just straight up fall down. That's not something I care to experience on horse back, so I wrangled him to a point where I could jump off safely.
I led him back most of the way to the barn before getting on again. I tried to give him the chance to go forward and trot or canter it out, but nope. Back to the rearing and now also spinning to get away from Hubby and Bobby who were trying to grab him. Again, I didn't once feel like he was going to dump me, but nonstop rearing gets no one anywhere, so again I finally got him to a spot where I was able to safely jump off. Then he got a solid crack in the neck as he tried to keep rearing in-hand. I don't think so, buddy boy.
|"not me! look how sweet i am!"|
He was fine once I got back on him in the ring afterwards (that's when the video was taken), but BM and I solidly agreed it was time he learned a little independence and body awareness via ground work. He's got to learn to take care of himself and not check out when the going gets tough. He's been in longeing boot camp, and he's definitely learning about boundaries and doing what you're asked as soon as you're asked it.
Being expected to be a riding horse is a really tough job.