Horsy News, Views and Attitudes   Vol. 1 Number 20  December 3 -9, 2007


Badd Brook Bridge photo by Jeanne Betancourt


Pony Pals Letters

Dear WebMaster

I have been looking for a horse that will suit me perfectly. I am not an experienced rider but know how to ride, but I need a good kid riding horse. I went to look and ride one the other day and it was really sweet! I rode it and it was fine. It was a spotted racking horse and its gait was smooth when experienced riders rode it. It was a comfy ride for me and someone was leading it and it was so fun! It started to be a little faster than the leader though, but that was fine. We don't know if we are getting it. Mounting was fine, but once when I was dismounting the saddle slid to the side and I had to jump off! How do I avoid that happening when riding? (Always check your girth before you get on a horse. It's amazing how much they can exhale! Sarah B.'s letter is continued in Learn to Speak Horse on page 2.   Ed.)  

Sleigh Ride Season!


    James Nelson of Wiggins said that by next weekend sleigh rides will once again be available this year at Nelson's Farm.   


     "We've been waiting for snow," Nelson said. "By next weekend there will be enough to offer a full 45 minute tour of Upper Mudge Road and the Mount Morris foothills."


      "Everyone has a great time," he continued. "We bundle up, the bells jingle and the horse loves it, too. There's nothing like it in the whole world."

"Grandma and I do it every year," Lulu Sanders said. "ItŐs the one thing we both like to do with horses!"


      Wilhelmina Wiggins also uses her sleigh to get around town when it snows. 


    "My pony Beauty loves it. When I uncover my old 'cutter,' she neighs to let me know she's ready to go," Wiggins laughed. "I think she's trying to tell me she'd like to do it all year round!"




This photo from the 1920's shows Riddle Road, driving North towards Badd Brook. 

Photo courtesy of Wiggins Historical Society.


Thought for the day - - 

When in doubt, let your pony do the thinking.

Page 2

Horsy News, Views and Attitudes    Vol. 1 Number 20  December 3 -9, 2007



Q. I got thrown off a very kid mule that kids ride all the time. I wasn't hurt, but it scared me. When I was about to ride this horse I was looking at, I was so scared to get on. I was afraid it would buck. I got up anyway and I'm glad I did, but how do I quit getting scared to get back to riding? I felt really nervous, and I know that horses can pick up on nerves, and I want to stop being nervous. Thank you for listening. I really appreciate all that you do!  --Sarah B.


Dear Sarah

     When you mount up, you and the horse must become a team before you walk off. Everyone has a little fear and in those first few moments you can get to feel comfortable before you walk off on the pony.


       First, take three slow, deep breaths. Then relax your legs. Pet the horse. Smile. Look around. Your horse may wonder what you are doing. Take three deep breaths. Do not walk off on your horse until you feel the horse is relaxed, too.


     Riding ponies and horses is not about the quick fix. You have to be willing to move into 'horse time' so your can work with the animal to help it learn what you want. (Hint — this works to relax you no matter where you are.)


Q.   Thank you for the advice you gave me on how to handle Scooby's behavior. Right now I am trying to figure something out and i was thinking that maybe you could help. You see, at Riverbend there are only so many horses that you are able to ride, (Most of the horses at Riverbend are borders) and the ones that you are able to ride are not wonderful horses for riding, 4 an example, Matrix-a HUGE but lovable horse, the only problem with him is when you're trying to get him to cantor he's so big he completely lunges forward (riders have fallen off of him because of this) so i don't really like to ride him considering every lesson my instructor makes me canter no matter what horse I am on.

A Morgan horse named Summer-a smaller horse, black with a long mane, So as you can imagine she is very pretty. But she has her problems too. She is the biggest spook in the world! One time a girl named Jessica accidentally mounted on the wrong side and Summer took off like a bunch of rockets. She even gets spooked on trails, when someone asks her to cantor, and when the saddle slips (I have learned all these ways the hard way). É  Sometimes i have found myself not wanting to go to horseback riding at all because of this. But i do not want to give up horses for good, i love  them more than anything in the world, so i have thought about stopping riding lessons and just do volunteer work, and my riding instructor said that that would be fine. I could take care of the horses. You know basic barn chores grooming, bathing, filling water buckets, that sort of thing. But dropping out of lessons would mean not ever getting back in again. So i am not sure what to do.               Ponigirl


Dear PoniGirl

      Each of the horses you mention has a problem with trust or confidence.


      Matrix sounds wonderful, his lunging forward just means he needs work in transitions between gaits. The best practice for that is to go up and down between the trot and canter over and over until he gets tired of lunging and does it smoothly.  That lunge is hard work and he does it because someone got scared when he did it and got off. Dismounting is the easiest way to praise a horse, whether you mean to or not.


    This is something you should do in lessons until he will do it well. If he will move smoothly between gaits for your teacher, then it is just a matter of you working with your trainer until Matrix will do it for you too.


    Summer's spooking means she does not trust you or whoever rides her. That problem can be fixed with time. If she has learned to spook so her rider falls off and she gets to run home, she must learn not to do that before a beginner should ride her. Spooky horses are afraid and will only stop misbehaving when they start to trust their human.

Thought for the day - - 

Training tip – the least you accept is the most you'll ever get.