I don't have new media, so enjoy some of my favorite Pongo pics
I actually had my first ride on my next victim. Woody is a barn owned pony of unknown breeding (he looks like a quarter horse crossed with I don't know what). He can jump like no other (has jumped fences in the 5 foot range, but lacks in some of the finer qualities (breaks, turning, non-giraffe). He has not been in consistent work because the girl who leases him has been off at college and two he has dumped several students. Bad lesson pony, needless to say I don't think he was that excited about me.
The one and only Sinead Halpin (love her!! and not just because she liked Pongo)
I was a little skeptical at how things were going to go at first. As soon as I got on him it was apparent that all leg cues were go, turning and stoping were optional, and if he got told know he kicked up in the back a bit. We started off with the basics to get him to start understanding what I was asking. The first walk halt transitions were very rough (at best). But I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly he picked up on the seat aids (yay for not having to pull on his face). We then worked on moving off my leg without trotting, this was a bit more of a struggle, but we did ok.
When we dressaged
Then we moved on to trotting. It got a little interesting, because I was in a jump saddle. I already struggle with regulating pace, but in the jump saddle I was hopeless (I do better at the canter if anyone is wondering how I haven't killed myself yet if I can't regulate pace in the jump saddle). I decided to drop my stirrups so I could have a dressage leg to get him to move his body and I have better control over pace. I won't say we are ready for public consumption, but he did listen and start softening and accepting contact. Not so bad for an amateur on a naughty pony who hasn't ever really been put on the bit.
I still get to feed this cute face cookies!
As our reward, S had us trot through some poles. Once we could maintain a nice steady pace (yay he half halted) we were told to trot a cross rail. I lined him up and as soon as he fixed on the jump he started pulling and speeding, so I asked him to turn. He said, "madam I decline." Luckily I won that one because otherwise we were going into the standard...oops. We then proceeded to make a figure eight (well the shape wasn't really a figure eight but that was the goal) in front of the jump. It involved a lot of pulling (sorry dude but turn means turn) and a lot of giraffing (thankfully I am tall otherwise he might have busted me in the face). Finally he said yes ma'am instead of I decline, and he was allowed to hop the cross rail. The backside got a little quick, so S had us do it again. The second time only required one circle a nice balanced hop and a bit of canter down to a reasonable trot that was easily brought back to a walk. Go Woody!
When we jumped the scary ditch.
This was actually a huge confidence booster because sometimes I feel like I don't ride very well. Stinker does a number on my confidence and logically I know it is just because he is a hard ride, but logic doesn't always follow in my brain. D said he was a harder ride than her upper level horses and I believe her. So these small victories with Woody were just what I needed to feel good.
The other side of the scary ditch...I think he popped me out of the tack a bit (I have a total OH SHIT face).
PS There were three of these ponies to start with named Woody, Jessie, and Bullseye for Toy Story. Woody and Jessie are still around the farm.
When my favorite boys met (and then promptly squealed because they should have been mares)