Posted by: shannonc | November 21, 2009

And a hearty hi-ho

They look so innocent when they’re standing in the paddock.

So my friend Vicki and her horse Torrey (recently off 6 weeks of stall rest), and my friend Jen and her homebred Beckett, decided to get together at Delaney, local conservation land, to ride on the trails.

A nice walk with a little bit of trot.

“Nice, walking hack” = at least several kinds of oxymoron.

After this week’s diagnosis of weak stifle, I thought about taking Blue.  He’s the one who needs the hill work.  But the pony also needs to gain confidence out hacking, it was his turn for a ride, and Blue can really feed off any excess energy in a group, so I picked the pony instead.  This turned out to be a very good thing.  I think.

I left home about a half hour before we were supposed to meet, because I had to hack over.  The pony was a good boy on the road.  He was good past the pony-eating trash barrels, recycling bins, and mailboxes.  He didn’t mind when the cars passed him at 25mph over the speed limit, even though I did.

We got to the Delaney entrance and walked quietly through the first fifty yards.  Then.

Episode 1.  Unknown weed or noise spooks the pony.  He does a scoot – head way up, back way down.  But he doesn’t go far.  I ignore it and we keep walking along.  Past the mini-brook, up the hill to the first big field.  Then.

Episode 2.  Loose and animated Weimaraner careens around the corner from the woods (Delaney has a leash law, but it’s not often observed) and begins to lap the pony.  I halt him and initiate a chorus of “whoa, ho, whoa, you’re fine” and the pony actually does stand still.  Head up, ears pricked, but standing still.  Dog owner catches up, shoos dog past the pony, says “sorry, sorry, can I just give him a little pat to say sorry?”  I say sure, because it seems like a good thing, but when the dog owner reaches out to the pony’s neck he abandons standing still and jumps to the left, leaving his skin behind.  I abandon the dog owner (hearing “sorry, sorry” behind me) and trot on in the interest of keeping pony as sane as possible.  Pony apparently thought dog owner vibes approximated the vet’s.

We make it, walking quietly, if not really in a relaxed way, to the top of the hill before the brook – where we come across another horse, and make a new friend.  Kate and her Oldenburg, whose name I forget.  But he was a nice calm boy and I could tell the pony was relieved to meet him.  We walk together, chatting, back to the main field where we see Torrey and Beckett crossing the reservoir.  We come across another loose dog or two, but the pony seems to take a page from his new buddy and isn’t bothered.

Right away, it’s apparent that Torrey and Beckett are raring to go.  As we all know, these sorts of horsey feelings are contagious.  Soon the pony is dancing.

Episode 3.  Pony bolts and has to be one-rein-stopped.  We all walk forward, praying to get out of the open field before our horses explode.  The bigger horses are covering much more ground, so the pony is flipping his head and jonesing to gallop up.

We reach a trail on which we can trot with some security and go along, hoping to diffuse some of the collective horsey energy.  The pony is last in line, and flips his head in my face incessantly, but more or less controls himself.  I just have to keep an eye out for my nose to stay in one piece.  I occupy myself with thoughts of the running martingale I will choose for the pony very soon.

From there it’s more or less uneventful – it really is true that letting them go forward helps them so often when they’re wanting to be naughty, even though it’s among the last things we want to do some of the time.  There are some blips, but no major events until I get another scoot spook (Episode 4) when we are on our way back to the parking lot. 

Vicki gives me and the pony a ride back and I realize when we land that we’ve been out a good two hours. 

Just another enjoyable, mostly walking hack, with a sensible, sane pony. 

I’m not even going to count the oxymorons.  The muscles in my butt I didn’t know I had are screaming out for a nice hot bath.






  1. Hehe….little stinker boy ;)

  2. sounds like the last time I took mine for a hack. of course, it was mostly my fault as she hadn’t been ridden for a week so, I’ll have to keep that in mind, I guess. I hear you about the lingering soreness after riding through the spooks & bolts though. I seem to mess my back or my hip or something up every, single time.

  3. Your perseverance is paying off. I am sure Spring will be a rewarding period for both you and Kisses . I am cerainly getting an equine education, thank you.

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