Posted by: shannonc | August 12, 2009

Spook city

As part of our prep for the mid-Sept BN (did I really send that entry?) I thought it would be a good idea to revisit hacking out – in particular, beginning to meet the challenges of negotiating woods and fields at a little more speed.  No grand ambitions here, we’re talking mostly trot.  But for the pony, who likes to thoroughly investigate and think hard about all things before approving any interaction with them, trot is more than enough.

Saturday was our first effort and it went really well!  Walking into water is no problem particularly when snacking is involved:

Water jumps are tasty!

Water jumps are tasty!

Notably, we also came across a couple with 8 small unleashed dogs, who wasted no time commencing a barkfest and running at the pony when they saw him.  In the past this would have been very likely to earn a spin-and-bolt move, but on Saturday all he did was spook in place.  Good pony.  It actually crossed my mind that maybe it’d be fun to hunt him in the fall.

Monday we did flatwork and Tuesday we hacked out again.  Different pony.  About halfway through, we trotted over a small rise and he produced a sizeable spook on the way down.  At a plant.  We stopped and walked back and forth a few times and then trotted on…50 yards later, another sideways leap, this time at an offending twig on the ground.  Now I’m getting a little mad at him, because he’s being an idiot, we’re alone and far from home, and that’s just a bad combination.  I decide he needs an episode of “hello, I promise you that whatever’s down THERE is not as scary as what’s up HERE,” and give him a smack and tell him to cut it out.  He does cut it out.  He’s tense for the remainder of the ride, but when a deer gives a sudden rustle in the woods a bit later he only does a little spook in place and I’m able to ride through it without any trouble.  I now begin to talk to him, keeping up a steady stream of nonsense in the hopes that it will blunt his oversharp pony hearing.  I also give him a lot to do.  Who needs a ring when you can do lateral work out hacking?

I think that with the extreme heat of the past couple of days and the back-to-back rides Monday night and Tues morning, he may have just been out of gas.  In any case, more of the same kind of work seems to be what the doctor is ordering.  If it’s still difficult and not very enjoyable…that means we need to do more of it. 

Yes, I do this for fun…



  1. I gave up on the nonsense idle chatter. My new phone plays music (!) so I just strap it on my arm and blare the music the entire ride. I have to admit that I LOVE it. Not that Buck ever cared about my idle chatter, but I was more worried that we’d come across a moose or something….At least the music will warn them that we’re coming and *hopefully* they’ll leave before we’re in the vicinity!

    But seriously. I had a crappy ride on Tuesday, too. It was in the air!

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