Posted by: shannonc | June 27, 2009

The pony and pony show

Sarah and I had such a fun time in our lesson today.  Yes, I miss my elegant TB rides.  But I tell you, sometimes there is no substitute for riding a pony.  Today we learned and got to be hams, and silly, just like our pint sized mounts.

The stage was set for the day when it got HOT.  Suddenly, after days upon days of sixty-something degrees and rain, it was eighty and the sun was out.  Sarah was already on when I got there and all I had to say was, “we’re going to die.”  The pony was blowing before I ever got on his back.  I mounted from the wrong side just because that was where I got to the mounting block and I was feeling so lazy!

We always start with a check in on our flatwork.  Sarah went first and Meredith kept saying, “I love this, this is perfect, this is a first level trot.  I have nothing to say.”  After a few iterations of this I declared to Sarah that I was no longer riding with her.  I do not have a first level trot.  In the last two weeks, I have discovered a stretchy trot.  First level?  Not.  Happening!

There was much activity in the paddocks around the ring, and the pony was slightly unwired by the horses madly galloping above and below him.  At first he was just attentive to it, then he just couldn’t keep his head on anymore and began to spin.  I got off, let him look a bit, then got back on and told him he needed to pay attention.  He reluctantly agreed, but it added to the whole aura of madness…which we ultimately embraced! 

We had a pretty happy (“happy” means improved, not exactly correct) right canter, but the pony gave me some trouble to the left.  He is so crooked in this direction that I constantly struggle.  He only wants to depart in an organized way if he is counterbent.  Meredith said that now I am trying to ride him TOO much like a grownup pony.  Lovely.  Those swings from one end of the spectrum to the other make things so…clear.  He’s always flipping me onto my right seatbone to the left – getting me to go along with the crookedness.  She had me break things down into littler pieces.  First get a quality trot straight, then sit, then move him over from my left leg, then if he can handle all that in bits, ask for the canter.  This involved many circles.  However, there were a whole bunch of jumps in the way.  Here is where things started to get funny.

Pony:  oh, that fence there?

Me:  no pony, we’re circling.  Just figures around the jumps.

Pony:  that one?  You want that one?

Me:  still trying to get you to trot on a circle, pony.

Pony:  okay…how about that one over there instead?  See it?


Pony:  sorry.  So…how about that one?  Are we jumping now?

So by the time I get a halfway decent left canter, we are all pretty much hysterically laughing.  Meredith is nice and says how charming it is that the pony now likes to jump so much.

Sarah jumps through an exercise a few times and is brilliant.  Buck is forward and her position is lovely.  We discuss at great length what it means to “squeeze the boobs.”  I have no boobs to speak of so I am having a hard time imagining how this is helpful.  I ask more about how to fix what she wanted me to work on the day before yesterday, and I get more images than I can keep track of.  Belly button down.  Something about love handles.  Stretching something in my spine?  I finally pull up and admit I’m lost.

We work through it a bit more and I start complaining about how my hands are floating too far over his crest.  I ask if it’s my elbow that’s messing things up and Meredith tries to give me a sophisticated answer, but finally (maybe getting that much of this is over my not flowery enough head)  just says, “if it were me, I would shorten my reins and expect that pony to not be so low in his wither and poll.  He doesn’t need to be that low.”

Okay, something I get!  So I do it, and he pulls me, of course, and because I have contact, there goes the shoulder.  Again.  So she tells me to let him canter up underneath me after the jump.  Which I think means to hold my back.  But I feel all prissy now, so I go through the four-fence exercise like a proper English lass at a tea party, with the facial expressions to match.  It actually runs through pretty well.  I’m just toast.

And she says, “enough of you two!  You’re going to get me in trouble!”

So, ever compliant, we cool our adorable little ponies out and hit the road :)



  1. I am sure the two of us crazy ladies on ponies are a FUN lesson for her to teach compared to the crazy horse days (like the other girl in the ring) or the uptight crazy lady wearing her xc vest while jumping itty bitty x-rails!!!!…..

    Yesterday’s lesson WAS particularly fun ;)

  2. And I didn’t even mention the part about the sideways loading, or the yelling through the gymnastic. “Keep going!” “I’m going! I’m going!” Hee hee hee hee!!

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