Friday, July 11, 2014

Zeus goes to boot camp

Pony news.

Zeus has gone for training.

Like many of our ponies, Zeus came to us as the last man standing from a rescue situation. We took him in last fall, pretty much sight unseen. We think he's around 3-to 4-years-old. He's maybe 13 hands tall with a good solid build, but his breeding is anybody's guess. People who've seen him have speculated some mix of quarter horse, draft horse, and/or mustang. In any case, he's cute and he moves with grace.

As far as we can tell, he has zero training, except for the simple handling he gets here on the ground. He's sweet-tempered, but, well, just a weeeeee bit high strung. When agitated, he goes up on his back legs. Sometimes he tries to go over walls and that is his big vice.

We have an arrangement with a trainer across the street who instructs the 13-year-old in riding, but also has agreed to do basic training with any pony I might bring her. It's an informal arrangement, but steady, and it works well for us. Two rescues I brought her are now the regular mounts of riders who use them for jumping and dressage. Another (Annie, the 20-year-old Amish cart horse) is retired and lives with us. A fourth (Josie, the leopard appaloosa ex-broodmare) got some training, but turned out to be 'ill-suited' for it. That's equestrian-speak for she dumped anybody who tried to get her to go faster than a walk. So she's living at home too. I like Josie and we get along on the ground, so it's ok.

I can't afford to board Zeus long-term myself, so we've been waiting for a moment when a stall stands empty anyway, in between real boarders. We want to do some short-term basic evaluation, just to see if he's got any potential as a riding pony.

Yesterday was that day. A boarder left abruptly over the weekend and we got the call on Wednesday. Bring Zeus now.

Because he is very attached to Josie, and can be a bit of a handful when upset, several people came with me to walk him across the street. He handled it alright though and spent the rest of the day cooling his heels in his new stall. I can tell he's upset, but not overly so. I think it helps that he knows he's only a short walk from home - he can see it from his dutch door. On the other hand, he's used to living in a herd where he can come and go in and out of his stall at will and see everything that's going on in the barn. Across the street is more traditional. He's now inside in a separate stall with high walls and bars across the front. He can see the 13-year-old's pony across the aisle and maybe one or two other horses, but that's it.

He did try to go over his dutch door yesterday afternoon, sigh.

The 13-year-old and I went over this morning to check on him. He seemed happy enough to see us. We took him for a peek at the indoor arena. He was cautious, but not too much so. I think once he gets the routine, he'll be fine. Eventually, he'll get to go outside during the day with a couple of the other ponies. And once the trainer starts handling him he'll be even better.

For my part, I'm really looking forward to watching him develop.

1 comment:

  1. He's cute! Hope he comes along quickly. You can make a bit of money with those ponies ;-).