Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I've said this quite a few times, but it seems like things just keep coming together for The Pennymare and I. It's kinda creepy, really. Awkward timing and money issues aside, this whole experience has been far less traumatic than I thought it would be so far ;) Knock on wood, of course.

For example, the owners of Barn B, after several phone calls/messages, never responded. So we decided to go with Barn A. Come October 17th (give or take), Penny will be living here:

Another thing I was worried about was arranging for her to be transported from where she currently lives to where I live, about a 3-4 hour drive. I ended up finding someone who seems responsible and is willing to haul her for me, for much less than I had anticipated. Fingers crossed that this works out as well...

Because I have a lot of pony-less time to fill, I've been thinking a lot about a training plan for Miss Pen. As far as we know, she has never been ridden or anything like that and hasn't had a whole lot of training other than basic ground manners stuff (and she could still use some work in this area).

Personally, I think that she needs quite a bit of conditioning before I start training her under saddle. Plus, it'll be winter pretty soon so I won't be able to do much riding anyways. My plan for the winter includes a lot of ground work, lunging, desensitizing, etc. to improve her body condition and teach her how to work respectfully with people.

While I'm thinking about this, I do have a question for y'all:

What are some good ways to build your horse's condition from the ground? I'm talking specifics here... not just "lunging" or "hand walking," but actual exercises or things to do.

As we slide closer to winter (and less-than-ideal riding conditions), I think it's good to think about this stuff anyways. What do you do to maintain your horse's condition when you can't ride as long, often or at all?


  1. Hand-walking over poles, adding to lifting alternating poles is great. Assists in building topline, and hey, if you're jogging alongside them, you can cancel the gym membership ; ) And it keeps you warm!

    My coach has me do lots of bending/flexing stuff to. Apparently there's an awesome German dressage trainer who does ALL the upper dressage moves ONLY from the ground! Piaffe, etc. Too cool. I could try to find out his name, as surely he has a book!

    Maybe you could teach Penny to ground drive? Then you can do a lot of the steering and flexion/contact training from the ground?? : )

  2. Definitely ground driving. It'll help teach her about bending and contact and the outside rein. Plus, she'll start learning to come round earlier, and it'll help develop her riding muscles. It's something I didn't do with Rev, and I really wish I had. Gary did a lot of that with her once I brought her up here, but it wasn't as beautifully effective as it would have been had we done it at the beginning.

    It's not as intuitive as longing, so you might want to get a lesson before you start. I know Gary can do lessons on how to ground drive, and you're welcome to use Reveille to practice on the next time you're in Boise! I don't know if Stephanie knows how, but I bet she does too.

  3. Oh, and ground driving/longing over cavaletti too, as Sand. said.

    And incidentally, the captcha for the previous comment was "drood." Ha! :)

  4. Oh, fun! If you take a ground driving lesson, CALL ME. I so want to watch.

    In fact, Teri does a ton of ground driving, too. (She's also free). Maybe you should do a lesson with both of them and see what differences there are!

    Btw, Izzy is totally volunteered for the 2nd lesson.

  5. I totally forgot to mention ground driving. Yeah, I'm really interested in giving it a try :)

    Thanks everyone for the suggestions so far! I really appreciate it :D