We got to the arena!
Last night my friend and pony photographer extraordinaire Jenn met me up at the barn for a photo shoot of Smokey’s progress. If you ever need a horse event photographed, this is your girl. Not only does she love horses, but she’s got great timing! All of the pictures in this post should link to her album on Picasa – hopefully. Also at the barn were a few of my fellow boarders, my parents and my very patient boyfriend who decided to come along for the ride and then go to my parents for the evening (he’s a keeper, right?).
After putting a halter on and walking him around his pen a little, we rearranged some of Smokey’s round pen panels so that he could be moved form the pen into the small arena for some maneuvering. While the panels were being moved, he was a little spooked so I kept him on the opposite side of the pen while we got situated. Very shortly after deciding that nothing was going to hurt him, he wanted to go see what was going on. We walked over, stopping a few times to snort and look worriedly at the panels, and then proceeded.
We got to the gate to the walkway that leads to the arena and I guess I asked a bit too much from him. He spooked (not badly, really) and backed directly into the edge of one of the panels and scared himself. I managed to hold on to the lead rope and followed him back into the pen. He stopped and stood holding his leg up. I was mortified that I might have to call a vet to come look at my wild horse who may or may not be willing to stand for him.
Thankfully, Smokey is apparently a drama queen. After I walked over and scratched his neck, he walked off without so much as a little stiffness. The second time approaching the gate, we went much slower. This time we also moved the panel so he couldn’t hit it from any way other than the flat side. Hindsight is 20/20.
With some snorting and resistance on the halter at times, we walked slowly down the walkway (gravel) and into the arena.
This is one of my favorite pictures. Thanks, Jenn!
One of my super helpful assistants closed the gates and I let Smokey take it all in. We spent a lot of time just walking around. He still isn’t leading like I want him to, but I think once we start lunging, that will come with it.
This horse is a pro at backing up. I think that’s actually his favorite method of moving around. Like I’ve mentioned before, I think these wild mustangs have some kind of horse zen that allows them to move better than domestic horses. His backward motion is just as easy as moving forward and he manages steps about the same size in both directions. He is much easier to get to back up straight on the halter than move forward right now, but again, I think the lunging will help that.
I tried to get Smokey to trot on the lead rope, but he wasn’t having it. I’m sure everyone but me enjoyed the spectacle. I think Smokey was basically just laughing at me the whole time.
I think I got a dud.
So, we left the arena after smelling all the smells and only spooking slightly at a few plants and noises. He was very snorty on the way back up the walkway to the pen area, but led back into his pen with little fuss. I walked him back to the far corner and the panels were moved back into place.
After I took his halter off, he wandered over to the panels where they had been opened and nosed around. What a smart boy. Mom brought my other four legged kids over to say hi to Smokey and they poked their noses through and smelled him. Once again, he was far more curious about them than they were of him.