Horse Play

All about the care of horses and ponies. Including training, grooming, health, showing, trail riding and more.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Let's tame those ponies!

The pony farm that I got my start at had Welsh ponies. They were the A size Welsh ponies so were pretty small but that was a perfect size for young girls to start with.

All summer long the mares lived in the field with their foals and didn't have much contact with humans. Then in fall the herd would be brought into the barns and the mares seperated from their foals.

What a noisy time that was! After a few days they settled down and we could get to work. They were quite scared of us so the first thing we had to do was tame them. We spent a lot of time sitting quietly in their stall letting them get accustomed to us. After awhile they would get curious and come to take a sniff and see if they could figure out what we were doing. Slowly we would get them used to us touching them.

Next we had to get halters on them. We would let them sniff the halters to see that they weren't going to hurt them and then slowly ease the halters up over their nose and fasten the strap around their head. There was some head shaking and tossing for awhile as they got used to the weight. After a couple of days we hooked a rope lead to the halter and just left it hang to the ground.

This was the beginning of the lessons they would learn that winter. The next spring out to the field they would go again but for now they needed to have a little training.

Would you like to know more about a Welsh pony. Go here to find some information at this site I found.

If you only have a couple mares and they foal indoors you can tame them pretty fast. When we had this opportunity we would go in the stall and groom the mares so the foal would get used to us. They usually would come over after awhile to check us out. When they got a little used to us we could rub their necks and backs. They always liked to get scratched on the shoulders too. Within the first week we wanted to be able to put our arms around their chest and buttocks. They weren't so strong yet that we couldn't hold them. They would mostly struggle but we held on and when they stopped we would let them go. This gave them the idea that we were the boss without them getting hurt and scared.

Those were some of our early lessons and we will get to some more later on. If you have a young pony or foal you are working with remember to keep the lessons simple and short at first and keep repeating everyday. That is how they learn the best.


Thursday, December 08, 2005

It just fell into my lap!

It seems that a frequent dream of little girls is to ride or own a horse one day. The opportunity just fell into my lap.

I told you about my Uncle Frank and his mule "Billy". It was well known around town of his abilities with horses and his love for them. A local businessman happened to own a farm and was starting to raise ponies which needed trained. He called upon my uncle for his assistance. This in turn led to the opportunity for numerous nephews and nieces to join in the fun. It was a large group at first but ended up with five nieces sticking with it, I being one. And so started my joyful journey down the road of life filled with learning all I could from the master horseman.

As I continue to post I hope to reveal some of the lessons taught to me in the hopes that you will glean some use from them. I will also pass on any items I feel you may like.


Saturday, December 03, 2005


Welcome to my horse barn. Pull up a bale of hay and sit a spell. Join me for a discussion about ponies and horses and see what it takes to have a healthy and happy relationship with one of these four legged creatures.

My first encounter with horses was with a mule named "Billy". Billy lived next door at my grandparents and he had a loving caretaker that was my Uncle Frank. Besides knowing everything there was to know about horses, Uncle Frank knew how to keep kids entertained. He never married but that didn't stop him from having a herd of kids surrounding him. All the houses around the farm had nieces and nephews that waited and watched for him to open the door.

Billy was one vehicle Frank used to entertain. He was used for farm chores such as pulling the plow through the garden, the mower through the fields, and the wagon to pick up the hay when dried. We would each get turns riding and learning to say "Gee" and "Haw" to steer Billy the mule in the right direction.

That was the beginning of my education in the horse field. Stop back later to see what else I learned.