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Posts Tagged ‘bitless bridle’

chesapeake boomerang

Last weekend the ponies and Ammo the Dachshund went on a very special trip. We rounded everyone up and made the 4 hour trek down to Assateague Island, Virginia to ride on the beach with our friends from the Chincoteague Pony Centre.

blitz

I’ve been waiting my whole life to make this trip and ride on the beach with my ponies, and I was thrilled to be able to share this trip with Minnow, Blitz, Boomerang, Ammo and my mom.

blitz and boomer

We left behind a freak October snowstorm in PA on Saturday to head to the rainy (but atleast not snowy) island. We were fortunate to have a place for the ponies to stay at a friends farm and on Sunday morning we drove the ponies out to the island for their very first beach ride.

chincoteague Minnow

Chincoteague Minnow

For Minnow it was a sort of homecoming as he was born on the island 18 years ago, but for Blitz and Boomerang it was a completely new experience.

I’ve been to the Assateague beach before, but riding across the dunes on horseback was an entirely new and amazing experience. I can’t even begin to describe how beautiful it was, the sun glistening off the ocean as the huge waves came crashing down all around us. We even witnessed two bald eagles taking flight off the beach.

bald eagle

All the ponies dipped their feet into the ocean and seemed utterly at home on the island, a special place that they are all tied to. My mom and I vowed that this would not be the last time we galloped along the beach with our boys.

chesapeake boomerang

Chesapeake Boomerang

After our 2 hour ride I took the opportunity to take as many pictures as possible of the ponies as the waves crashed down behind them. I even broke out their painting easel and Minnow’s super hero ensemble.

Chincoteague Minnow

Chincoteague Minnow

Chincoteague Minnow

Chincoteague Minnow

As Minnow began to enthusiastically pose along the beach he started to draw a small crowd. People began asking questions until someone in the crowd recognized who he was. I felt like we were being followed by the paparazzi as cameras flashed around us and people exclaimed that they were meeting a celebrity. I’m sure Minnow was feeling very important.

Chincoteague Minnow

Chincoteague Minnow

Boomerang also got his turn to shine as I asked him to laydown on the beach – and he happily obliged even as the ocean waves rolled towards him. I even got him to sit, a trick we have only just begun working on. Boomer really is an amazing pony and so willing to do almost anything I ask of him.

Chesapeake Boomerang

Chesapeake Boomerang

Chesapeake Boomerang

Chesapeake Boomerang

Blitz took his turn in front of the camera and showed off what a super model he is. I’ve always said he’s the most gorgeous of our ponies and he definitely did not disappoint. Blitz also had a very special experience as we were down visiting, because his mom was on the island (and also Blitz & Boomer’s sire).

Chesapeake Lightning

Chesapeake Lightning

Chesapeake Lightning

Chesapeake Lightning

We got to meet Tidewater Fable aka L’Eggs, Blitz’s beautiful solid bay dam. We instantly realized where Blitz got his looks from, and also his timid tenancies. I dreamed of L’Eggs nickering and Blitz calling back with an enthusiastic “MOM!” – although of course none of that happened and I’m pretty sure neither even knew the other was there. I can dream though!

Tidewater Fable

Tidewater Fable - Blitz's Dam

 

Tidewater Fable

Tidewater Fable - Blitz's Dam

Chesapeake Powhattan's Promise

Chesapeake Powhattan's Promise - Blitz and Boomer's Sire

After our beach ride we trailered the ponies over to Pony Pines for their end of the year fun show. By this point the ponies were getting very good at loading and unloading on our new 3 horse step-up trailer. It was great practice for them and by the end of the trip they were pros at trailer loading.

At the fun show my mom and I entered in a handful of the fun classes. We won the ribbon race as well as the hilarious wheelbarrow race (where one rider pushed the other in a wheelbarrow while leading a pony). I also took Boomerang in their version of the Extreme Cowboy Race. Boomer impressed me by doing a water ditch jump, mastering a massive bridge, navigating through brush and even jumping a scary black plastic tube. I was very proud of him as he galloped across the hilly terrain course they had created behind the farm.

Ironically immediately following we entered into the Chincotaegue Pony Pleasure Class – I should have foreseen how amped up Boomer would be after racing through the hills. Lets just say we were done for as soon as they asked us to canter and Boomer went bronco bucking around the arena. I had to laugh.

At the end of the evening Minnow got a chance to shine as he dressed up in his Super Hero Costume with best pal Ammo (aka Rocket Dog) for the costume class. They came home with a blue for the most unique costume and I think both of them were very pleased with themselves.

minnow and ammo

Before we headed home on Sunday we took one last trip out to Assateague to get some more pictures and enjoy the view. It was such an amazing trip and I hope it won’t be our last!

the painting ponies

A special thanks to all of our friends who made it possible for us to visit!

You can check out more photos from our trip on our facebook page. I should be back soon with some more photos and videos to share too!

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It’s been a little while since I’ve posted something, but that doesn’t mean the ponies haven’t been BUSY! We’ve held a few events at the farm, and all the ponies have been getting exercised regularly in preparation for a very special trip we’re taking this weekend.

We’re loading up the trailer and taking all three ponies down to Chincoteague Island, Virginia to participate in a beach ride on Assateague Island with our friends from the Chincoteague Pony Centre! I’m so excited to ride MY ponies on the beach for the very first time ever – and to also bring Minnow back to the island where he was born 18 years ago.

I’ve had this trip on my bucket list for a long time now and even though the weather this weekend is looking not so great – I’m still excited to go on this adventure.

Part of the adventure is being able to ride on the beach, and considering Minnow has been in retirement since 2008 due to his ringbone, I figured it was time for him to be saddled up. Minnow hasn’t had a saddle on in about 2 years and although I do exercise him to keep his weight down and occasionally hop on him bareback I needed to make sure he remembered what a girth felt like before our beach ride. Mostly likely Minnow will just do some light walking on the beach and Boomerang will take me on the 2 hour ride, but it was still important to get a practice saddling in before the trip.

minnow spanish walk

Minnow practicing his Spanish Walk

So after one of our shows at the farm we decided to run all three ponies through the obstacle course we had set up (none of the ponies had done this specific course before). Below are videos of all three ponies completing the course. Minnow did exceptionally well considering he hasn’t really been ridden in 2 years (he does get exercised regularly in the ring by allowing him to free-lounge himself) – it’s such a testament to how much he really trusts me.

Minnow:

Blitz:

Boomerang:

So if you were our judge who would have won? We typically judge on accuracy, how relaxed & willing the horse is, and how the rider executes the tasks (speed is not a factor) – this would of been a tough one to judge between our 3 ponies – just goes to show what a great attitude these Chincoteague Ponies have.

Anyone else ever ridden their horse on the beach? Did you know that Assateague Island allows beach rides in the fall season, and you can even camp on the island with your horse. So if it’s your dream too – it is possible!

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On Sunday I took Boomerang to his very first mounted shooting clinic. My mom and Blitz tagged along too – although they had been to one other shooting session before.

cowboy mounted shooting

The clinic was held in NJ by the Jersey Devils Mounted Shooters. We started off with a bit of gun safety and practiced firing from the ground at our balloon targets.

cowboy mounted shooting

Surprisingly I was a better shot from my pony than I was from the ground, ha!

cowboy mounted shooting

The guns we fired were fairly loud, so I wasn’t sure how Boomer would react. He’s pretty brave, but any horse would be scared if you fire a pistol from their back.

cowboy mounted shooting

To introduce our horses to the gunfire we rode around as a group while riders routinely shot off rounds into the air. The first few shots startled Boomer as I’m sure he wasn’t expecting it, but being in a group with the other horses that had all done this before – he was quickly put at ease. After a few laps around, and a few clicks and rewards from me, he seemed to hardly notice the gunfire anymore.

cowboy mounted shooting

Next we each took turns running through a pattern and firing at the balloons. In competition you are scored on speed and accuracy, and in my first run through I shot 8 out of the 10 balloons. I was really surprised Boomer hardly jumped at all – shooting next to the horse is much different than shooting into the air, because the sound is louder and they can see the gun out of the corner of their eye.

Below are two videos I put together of Boomer and Blitz running through the patterns:

Blitz is a little bit more of a nervous horse, but he improved greatly with each time he went.

It ended up being a really fun day and a great experience for both ponies. I don’t have plans to join the mounted shooting club (although I was really fun) but I did it as a way to introduce my pony (and myself) to something entirely new. All of the different things I do with my ponies are helping to make them better mounts. I think if the club wasn’t a two hour drive for me I might have considered joining, because it was fun to wield a pistol!

cowboy mounted shooting

And Boomerang was pretty proud of himself in the end, evident by his beaming smile!

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On Sunday I took Boomerang to a Judged Trail Competition at the Bucks County Horse Park. I’ve never been to one of these before but it sounded like fun. You ride a 4 mile long trail through the park and at certain check points you have to complete an obstacle. You are judged on your performance (and sometimes timed). Boomer was great, completing every one of the obstacles to the best of his ability. We encountered several obstacles that Boomer had never seen before, like a teeter-totter, dragging a boogie board through water, walking across a carpet in the grass, opening trash cans, playing mini golf, and a few others. I was able to film some of the obstacles – but I wish I had remembered to film all of them, I got caught up in all the fun we were having!

Here’s a short compilation of some of the stuff we encountered throughout the day:

We’re still waiting to hear the results, so hopefully we did well enough to place. But either way it was a fun experience and I hope we can make it out to another one soon.

Here’s a video of my mom and my sister’s mare, Jet, doing some of the obstacles:

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Last weekend we took the ponies to a mounted games competition in New Jersey. This is one of my favorite competitions of the year, because not only is it a short distance from our home base in PA, but it’s also an event that most of the riders camp at. I love camping, especially when I get to bring along the ponies AND the dog.

camping with ponies

We arrived just as it was getting dark and dropped two of the ponies (Blitz – who came along for the experience and more training, and Jet – my sister’s mare that my mom would be riding for the weekend) at the stables. We bedded their stalls and tucked them in for the night, all while Boomerang waited patiently on the trailer.

Then we drove Boomer up to the campsites where we set up his portable corral from Travel n’ Corrals. This was the first time I got a chance to use the corral at an overnight competition – and also the first time he had ever seen it. And did I mention it was dark by this point?

boomerang travel n corrals

We unloaded Boomer and put him in the corral while we set up the tent. He looked around for a second and went straight to eating his hay. I was pretty amazed at how he acted like everything was no big deal. His friends (who rode in the trailer with him) got dropped off somewhere else and now here he was up on the top of a hill next to a campsite, in a corral he had never seen, with not a single horse in sight…..just quietly munching his hay. Pretty cool pony.

boomerang travel n corrals

Well, he was pretty cool until about 1am when he ran out of hay. Ha. Should have known it would be too good to be true.

With his hay gone I think he looked around and realized “what the heck, where am I and what happened to my friends?” His ear piercing whinny woke me instantly. I think he would have eventually stopped calling too – had his big brother Blitz not heard him a mile away in the stables and called back. And yes, it was DEFINITELY Blitz – he has a VERY distinct whinny. Every hour or so they would call back and forth to each other – if I only knew what they were saying! At one point I even heard Boomerang lay down in his corral – yet continue to return Blitz’s calls. He wasn’t frantic, he didn’t try to escape (not that he could – these things are really well built) or do anything horrible – he was simply having a late night conversation with his big brother….on the other side of the facility!

boomerang travel n corrals

Hindsight, I probably should have set the corral up closer to the barns so that he could at least see another horse. But regardless of the fact that he stayed up all night talking I was still proud of how he handled the situation I put him in.

Not only was the corral a new thing for us at this competition, but it was also the first time I got to compete with my treeless saddle. I wish I had some pictures to share, but since my mom and I were both riding together we had no one with us to take pictures. If only somehow I could train the Dachshund to do it! Hummm. But, the saddle was awesome! No slipping, and both Boomerang and I were SUPER comfy in it. I even got to do some full out vaulting into it without any problems. I really wish I had gone treeless years sooner – I’ll never go back!

In between competition sessions my mom worked on training Blitz to tie (without his friends around). Blitz has progressed in leaps and bounds with all the training my mom has put into him, but he still has one major issue they are working on. His separation anxiety. He has a real problem leaving his friends and being alone.

This is what well behaved horses look like when they tie:

ponies tied to trailer

And this is what naughty Blitz looks like when he ties without his friends around:

ponies tied to trailer

Blitz spent a lot of time working on tieing in the woods by our campsite. It was very tough for him not to have his friends around – but my mom thinks she hopefully made some breakthroughs with him.

tieing ponies

With high-hopes of working even further on Blitz’s training on Day 2, we were instead hit with a nasty Thunderstorm on Saturday night. Camping proved to get a little wet – but atleast we were nice and toasty in the tent with our little heater named Ammo the Dachshund. Ammo is such a trooper, he’ll put up with pretty much anything – and any situation. Thunder & Lightning is no problem for this guy – I think he might sleep through a tornado if no one woke him!

ammo the dachshund

Sadly when we woke up the next day the competition had to be canceled. With no end in sight for the storms, they were forced to pin the divisions based on standings from the previous day. But we still came home with a second place finish!

ammo the dachshund second place

We packed up and headed home – only to be hit with one last road block just minutes from the farm. Luckily Peco was nearby and able to help us out before the ponies got too hot in the trailer. And next time I’m going to REALLY try to remember my rubber boots so I’m not stuck wearing soggy sneakers all weekend!

fallen tree

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Last weekend we took Boomer and Blitz to an Extreme Cowboy Challenge about an hour from us at JC Cutting Horses. We had never been there before – and this is a different type event, not to be confused with Craig Cameron’s Extreme Cowboy RACE.

The Extreme Cowboy RACE is more a RACE, with emphasis on speed AND the horse’s willingness to maneuver obstacles. Extra points are given for above and beyond as well. The event we attended was a series put on by JC Cutting Horses, where they actually prefer you to do most obstacles very slowly. Scores are given based on the horse’s performance only – and how versatile they appear. You could also earn extra points for showing off extra maneuvers your horse might be able to do.

I had a little bit of a tough time remembering it wasn’t a race. Boomer is a RACING pony, so naturally our canter gaits are much faster than they probably should have been for this type of event. I also kept forgetting that unlike the Craig Cameron EXCR, you did not have a time limit to perform an obstacle.

I entered Boomer into the intermediate division and was looking forward to trying the open division and even the ranch riding division – which boasted roping a mechanical bull as well as more advanced maneuvers. Unfortunately we didn’t realize they didn’t have a food booth at this event, and by 2pm my mom and I were starving. So we opted to head home early – so we could get something to eat.

It ended up being a really fun day, and we met lots of nice people. I’m very much looking forward to coming back to their next one – and I’m dying to give the mechanical bull a try, I’ve even been practicing my roping.

I’m not sure what we ended up placing – as they only announce 1st & 2nd (the jackpot winners) – but we more went for the experience anyway. Even Blitz participated in the schooling session with my mom – I’m going to work on a short video of him soon, showing just how much progress he’s made in the past few months. His transformation is amazing and my mom has put so much effort into making him a nice pony.

Here’s a short video of the highlights of my ride with Boomer.

We’re hoping to pick some dates for the farm to have a gymkhana/extreme cowboy type event soon. We’ve been gathering some ideas with all the places we’ve been going to lately and can’t wait to host our own show at the farm!

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On Sunday after the boy’s first Gymkhana Event we stopped at Marsh Creek State Park. The objective, take the ponies swimming (and have a father’s day picnic)!

My sister’s mare, Jet (the black horse), has been swimming several times – as has Minnow. So this time it was Blitz & Boomer’s turn to test out the water.

Both were a little skeptical at first, but on a nice hot day, it didn’t take them long to get in the water.

But after a few minutes and a little gentle coaxing, Boomer was swimming!

Even my parent’s dog, Trooper, joined in on the swimming fun.

The ponies were even introduced to their first kayaks. No one freaked out – even when it drifted awfully close to them. You have to love the mindset of a Chincoteague Pony.

Blitz never did actually swim, but he’s a bit more cautious than Boomer is. And my mom wanted to make it a pleasant experience for him so she opted not ask too much of him.

Little Ammo the Dachshund had to watch from the sidelines. But he is just too little to swim with the big boys. Sorry fella.

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