Sunday, January 11, 2009

New friend?

We just adopted another pony from Spring Hill Rescue, she is a 4 1/2 year old pinto shetland we named "Sassafrass". I was hoping she could be Bucky's new friend . . . we introduced her to our old mare Lady first.

Lady LOVES Sassy . . .

Sassy is not so thrilled with meeting Bucky . . . we'll see how it goes after she settles in!

To see more available ponies from Spring Hill check out our photos here.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Bucky is really enjoying the snow! Althought the cold, wet weather has put a damper on some of our riding / training, I am still working with Bucky as much as I can. He is learning to accept the bridle much better now and I have been able to long line him without any problems. The footing is not good so we have been doing ground work and walking primarily.

I am also hoping to teach Bucky to bow this winter and *someday* would like to teach him the spanish walk. He is very clever and I think would pick up on it quickly. He gets bored and invents games of his own if I don't work with him regularly (like removing his own blanket, or hide the feedpan . . .).

We have started the introduction to bow by getting him to lift and hold up a forefoot on command . . . so I tell him "foot" and gently tap the near fetlock, once he picks it up - he gets a treat or scratch. He is doing it and holding the foot up on command but its still inconsistent. I tried to show my farrier as I thought she'd appreciate it, but he was distracted and wouldn't comply.

Bucky after sedation to have his teeth floated.

We have also continued to work on Bucky's teeth, he had his wolf teeth pulled a few months ago and is losing a few premolar caps. He is eating primarily just hay now without any problems and even had to be put on a diet as he was a little chubby. Our previously skinny boy is now an easy keeper! I should also mention that Bucky has been great for me for all his veterinary work. He is good for shots and deworming, we have used lots of positive reinforcement and he has been great for blood draws, shots and teeth, although with the level of dental care he needs sedation is required.

A common sight at our house . . . pink pony noses looking for treats or attention . . .

She blames ALL her grey hairs on Bucky!

Lady was feeling left out, this is our 30 year old Morab mare Lady Byrd, who is much less thrilled with Bucky than we are. She thought her retirement would be peaceful! I have had her for 19 years and she was my childhood show pony. She has cushing's and arthritis, so her only job now is the occasional pony ride. For the most part we have Bucky & Lady in side by side seperate paddocks and stalls, but I sometimes catch them socializing over the fence and turn them out together for supervised playtime.

We recently learned that Spring Hill, the rescue we got Bucky from, has recently received about 30 ponies / horses from a neglect case and is need of donations, hay, and foster homes in VT. I am trying to figure out ways we can help . . . for more information. It breaks my heart to think of these poor horses this winter and I wish I had room to foster a few!

Fall 2008: More adventures . . .

Bucky is enjoying the mud and getting fuzzy again in preparation for winter and I pulled his mane to keep him from resembling a wild Mustang . . . Like most grooming, he was very good for this and didn't seem to mind at all. He just loves the attention!

Training continues and we were lucky enough to have our neighbors let us use their riding ring as our paddocks became very muddy and uneven. Heidi came over for our first trip over to the ring. Getting there involves crossing a very large wide open hayfield. Bucky was very good, he snorted and pranced a little, but behaved himself on the leadline. Once in the new ring he seemed to settle in okay, we did some ground work and eventually I got on him. He was a little excited, but really tried to behave except for biting the stirrup (and almost tipping us over!) after a one rein stop.

After all the progress we had made at home, I was a little disappointed that he was not better behaved, but I have to keep reminding myself - he's only 3 years old! Mentally he seems like a very young horse and we have no need to rush his training. He continues to do better in his halter than with a bridle / bit on, but we're working on that as well.