Training Our Ponies Part 1

Hi and thanks for reading, so since the last time I blogged, I have been busy continuing with the ponies training.

I’ve been working on the following areas to improve their suitability their new jobs in China & also to help them cope with the long journey.

Today we will look at the first three areas.

  1. Fitness
  2. Condition
  3. Handling
  4. Ride-ability
  5. Health & medical
  6. Desensitization

FITNESS

The ponies had mixed low levels of fitness when they arrived. Many ponies are just ridden at weekends here.

Over the last three weeks I have been building fitness by gradually increasing their work. At first their ridden work was very light & only walk & trot. I am also increasing the level of schooling movements and have started to introduce bend and contact with the greener or unschooled pony’s.

Once a pony is able to maintain canter for a few minutes on the lunge or loose & working for longer periods in trot under saddle, then I add the ridden canter work.

Over the next few weeks I will continue to build on that until they are easily managing an active 30 min schooling session with me riding & without showing signs of fatigue.

In China they will need to do a 45 min lesson with a child. This will include warming up etc. Because I am heavier than the children I will not expect them to work hard with me on for more than 30 min.

I have also been gradually increasing their time & pace on the horse walker. This is a great way to keep them moving and build stamina.

CONDITION

Alongside their increased workload I have also monitored their feed. If a pony is tired or loosing condition we increase the hay & feed a little. If they are too excited I cut the hard feed and if they are too fat I decrease hay/feed. Depending on their energy levels. At this stage we have just 11 days until the journey to China.

I want the ponies to be in slightly plump condition. They are building muscle and looking stronger but I want a little extra fat on them so as the stress of the journey & the acclimatization in China does not break down the muscle that they have built.

HANDLING

The pony’s will be more easily reassured on the flight and cope with the journey well if they are well handled and trust me. Grooming, picking up their feet, leading them and spending time putting tack & equipment on and off all helps to build up a trusting relationship with them.

I also use ground work to build trust and to increase discipline and safety. They need to move where I want them and be respectful of my space. They need to follow me and back up if I ask them to. I will continue with this work as some of the ponies are easier to train in this way than others.

Look out for part two of this blog and don’t forget to like us on FB Instagram & freefilly.blog sign up by email you will only receive an email to say i have blogged we promise!

Thanks for reading

Best Wishes

Row 🙏🐎

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