Working Out the Kinks, Part One

Last Saturday was December 21st — also known as the Winter Solstice — and good lord, it was 60-freaking-degrees in cold as shit Massachusetts.

So, I did what most people with horses did: rode!

Before I even started stalls, I popped into the paddock to say hello to Simba. He greeted me with his usual wiggly nose and bright eyes. It’s been almost a month since he’s been here, and after some discussion with D, I started Simba on a capful of Pony Prozac (aka Omega Alpha’s Chill) to see if that helps his obsessive stall walking. He is one tense, anxious critter. Image was tense and anxious under saddle, but had a pretty good handle on the ground. Simba is constantly “on”. I have a feeling it won’t help the stall walking, but it did seem to help his overall demeanor a bit.

I decided to do a bit of ground work before starting stalls, just to see where his brain was truly at. The last time I worked him on the ground, I began teaching him a couple of simple things: yield the forehand, yield the hindquarters, back up with voice, and walk up with voice. We worked on that today, along with just a little bit of lunging for funsies. He was focused on me and really only got “stuck” when I asked him to move his forehand away from me. He gets worked up and tries to shoot forward. Eventually, with small, baby steps, he got one good turn and I quit there.  He was much more “in tune” and quieter than I’ve seen him since bringing him home, so that was encouraging. He may be blonde, and he might not always have all his “lights” on when working, but he’s not stupid, that’s for sure!

I buzzed through stalls, ran over to L’s to grab her saddle, and zipped back to the barn. I’ve been having some serious issues with my Bob Marshall saddle slipping and being stable in general. It seems that the style I have (square backed, western rigging, longer in general) just does not do well with rounder, mutton withered critters. So, in an attempt to see if it’s just MY Bob Marshall, or ALL Bob Marshalls in general on Simba, I borrowed L’s endurance style model.

I let him warm up the memory foam pad on his back while I groomed him, and it was the first day that I saw him rest a hind leg in relaxation. Simba is a bit odd: he’s rather dominant, but has a tense, anxious streak a mild wide that isn’t conducive to being a dominant lead type. Seeing him chill out enough to cock a hind leg was lovely. It could be that he’s settling in, it could be a result of the little bit of Pony Prozac he’s getting…but it was a good sign!

I finished tacking him up and readjusting the bridle (more bit experimentation; I’m not sure if he’s ever going to really be “happy” with any bit, but I don’t know or trust him enough to try bitless just yet), and mounted with more ease than I have ever in my Bob Marshall. Sigh. There are a few more things I can try, but L’s saddle is shorter and has English style rigging, and I think those are the two major culprits. So, I’ll have to figure out a plan B. I’m already looking into purchasing a lower end but sturdy Abetta endurance saddle from work to tide me over until I can scrape together the money for a new saddle. I cannot bear to part with my current Bob Marshall — it’s a very special saddle to me and next time, I’ll be buying a horse to fit that saddle!

Simba and I set out down the road for a bit of a walk, and he was his usual fire-breathing dragon self for the first five minutes. He’s never done anything bad, ever, but he’s a ball of electric tension under my seat. I kept my hands, seat and energy quiet, and by the time we hit the dirt road, he was a little less frazzled. We kept it at a walk for a bit, and then picked up a slow gait down the straightaway. I noticed that he was travelling cockeyed — his shoulder kept popping out and he seemed resistant to travelling straight. I noted this in the back of my head and we continued on while I kept correcting him and keeping him from popping random body parts out of place.

He showed me what his true “ohmigawd there’s an oogyboogyMONSTER out there!” response is: stop and refuse to go forward. Okay, that’s not a big deal. I can handle that. He tried to spin away from the imagined (or possibly real, but I honestly couldn’t see anything and I’m pretty good at picking out oogyboogies) scary monster of doom. I caught him with a leg and pushed him forward. It took some encouraging, but he finally said “okay, if you say so, but I PROMISE THERE IS SOMETHING REALLY BAD OVER THERE SO IF WE GET EATEN IT’S ALL. YOUR. FAULT.”

Needless to say, we did not get eaten. Hah!

I turned him back towards home and we gaited a bit on the way back. He’s already able to hold his gait for a longer period of time, and seems happy to do so, so I let him gait for a bit. We hit a slight uphill incline, and without actually really thinking about it, I asked for a canter. It’s pretty obvious Simba has not been asked to canter much, because the first few strides were hysterically discombobulating. Once he figured out what, exactly, his legs were supposed to be doing, he gave me a couple of nice canter strides. I sat back and rocked him back into his gait and he came back into my hands with no fuss. Good boy!!

The rest of our ride was mostly uneventful. He gave me one spook that made me go “oof!” right at the end of the ride — his spooks are not explosive, but he throws on the brakes, and hard. I haven’t been unseated by a horse throwing on the brakes in years, but I think there were will be many reminders of “shoulders back, heels down, deep seat” in my future. It’s a bit of a bone jarring experience when you’re walking along at a decent clip, and all of a sudden your insides are rocking around because the critter has decided now is a good time to slam to a stop. Good thing I don’t have ANY plans of jumping him, because I have a feeling he’d be one hell of a dirty stopper!

We got back to the barn and D came out to greet us. I mentioned his inability to travel straight, and she asked me to gait him up and down the driveway…it was pretty obvious that he was popping his shoulder and resistant going AWAY from the barn, and a perfect gentleman going back to the barn.



I corrected him heavily with my leg going away from the barn, and he tucked his shoulder back into place and traveled kind of straight. Straighter, anyway. What was more interesting, was that if I switched what side of the driveway I was on (I had been traveling up the driveway on the right side, closest to the fence…so I switched which side of the driveway I was travelling up. Curiously enough, he barely popped his shoulder.

He’s got a lot of oddities that are taking some time to figure out. He obviously wasn’t EVER treated badly, but he is certainly used to getting his way in a quiet, passive aggressive manner. I wouldn’t classify him as a dangerous horse, but if not given the proper correction, I could see him escalating into being a big butthead.

I have much more to say, but I’m going to separate it into two posts because this one is already long. Here is a zoomy snow pony for your viewing pleasure!

Wait for meeeee!

Maiden Voyage(s)

You guys? Hey, you guys?

I rode my horse. A couple of times now, actually (bad blogger, BAD!). But I rode my horse.

MY horse. MINE. I put MY saddle and MY bridle on him and rode him, without getting bucked off! That, in itself, is worth celebrating 🙂

D and I set off into the woods together on Saturday the 7th. I offered to lead the charge, which may have been a disaster with a horse I’d only known a few days. I’ve managed to turn myself into a relatively confident rider over the years, so I felt okay leading and wanted to see how he did. He was “up” and snorty, but he didn’t offer to spook or do anything naughty while he was so tense. I sat quietly and encouraged forward movement, and he picked a very careful path through the snow dusted trails. While we were winding through the woods, I tested his responsiveness to the bit, and was absolutely THRILLED with how soft and supple he was in my hands. I changed him over to a Myler short shank low port western curb bit, just on a hunch, and I had a much happier critter. I was able to ask him to drop his nose and use his hind end just a little at the walk now that he wasn’t trying to spit the big, fat Herm Sprenger KK Ultra bit out of his mouth! What was also lovely was that even though he was a little insecure about this whole thing, he took direction from me and continued “talking” to me, instead of just tuning me out and reacting to his nervousness. He takes a lot of comfort in the person on his back or on the end of the line, and despite the fact he’s a tenser critter, I haven’t seen him truly hit a point where his brain completely melts out his ears and we’re unable to communicate. Will that happen? Most likely. Will it be fun? Probably not. But, hopefully, at that point, he and I have a good enough relationship that I’m able to talk him down off the proverbial ledge and we’ll be fine.
D and I ran into a few hunters on the way down — both were polite, and one was chatty. Standing still is not one of Simba’s strong points. He’s on a mission, and he wanted to get going on that mission NOW. Tory, who stood quietly while D chatted with the nice hunter man, watched Simba dance around with something like amusement etched into her features. Tory is a few years younger than Simba, but at this stage in the game, she’s probably the more seasoned trail horse!

We continued down the trail and Simba began to relax a bit — enough so that I could look around and remember how many awesome rides D and I had taken together when I was a teenager. It’s been a long time since I was last on these trails, so it was a little bit of a shock to realize I didn’t know where the HELL I was going anymore! Thankfully, D’s been riding these trails for ten years and happily called directions out when I needed them!

D and I switched up who was leading, and it became pretty obvious, pretty quickly, that Simba preferred to lead. He was much more worried and bracy against the bit as I kept a safe distance behind Tory. He kept himself contained until we hit a steep downhill. Tory navigated much faster than we did (mostly because I have a “thing” about going down hills slowly, even with balanced horses!). Simba’s brain began to melt out his ears a bit. Tory and D left our sight (no fault of theirs!) and Simba went “aieeee!” and popped up in front. It was a pathetic baby rear, but it was a rear nonetheless. However, that is a MAJOR no, and we had words. I growled at him, spun him in a few tight donuts, and had him stand for a moment. I got a good five seconds of quiet out of him before asking him to move forward. His brain had reaquainted itself with the inside of his head, so he controlled himself and listened to me as we headed towards D and Tory. He got over it and we continued on our way, but I filed that experience away as something to be aware of during future rides, as it could easily escalate into something bigger if not handled correctly. He responded well to my correction, but that doesn’t mean he won’t ramp it up when he feels the need to test boundaries as time goes on.

Hopefully the first of MANY between the ears shots!

The rest of the ride was fun and uneventful (minus the herd of deer that jumped out in front of us). It was all done at the walk, except for a short but sweet stint at the gait down some new trails I hadn’t seen before. Oh, you guys, can this horse GAIT when he’s set up for it. I must have never ridden a decent Walker, because all the other Walkers I’ve ridden have had a gait that had no “glide” to it. A few times (he can’t hold it super long right now due to lack of muscling) he stepped into the gait, and I about died. We have a long way to go before I can get into really working on his gait, but it’s in there and OH MY GOD IS IT FABULOUS!

I had a pretty tired critter on my hands when we got back, which certainly wasn’t a bad thing. I was very impressed with his first outing on the trails in God only knows how long. He was honestly very good, despite his minor temper tantrum. He responded well to me, and seemed to enjoy being out and about!

He further impressed me the next day, as we went on our first solo outing…down the road…okay, I may have a bit of a death wish, but I honestly enjoy road riding. I like pretending that I’m travelling like people did way back when, and it’s one of my favorite “tests” of just how level headed a horse is. Weird stuff exists out on the roads, like tarps covering wood and dogs bombing out at us and horses galloping up to fences and chainsaws starting and big dump trucks parked on lawns and cars that don’t know how to slow the eff down…and, to be honest, he didn’t spook at ANY of it. He was definitely tense, as I would have expected any horse to be, but he stayed in tune with me. He yelled a bit, which was more funny than anything else, but he got over that eventually as well.

It was really surreal to be putting actual rides on MY horse. It’s still surreal. I never really got to ride Image, so it still feels a bit like a dream. I am, admittedly, waiting for the proverbial other shoe to fall. It’s all too good to be true, and though we have things to work on (which is okay; I think I’d be bored otherwise!)…I don’t have a major project on my hands. I am worried that something is going to take this away from me, because that’s the way my life seems to go. I am trying to keep those thoughts under control, but it’s easier said than done.

I still feel very guarded with him as well. I’m sure it’s simply a product of losing two horses in two years, but I was so enamoured with Image when I brought him home that I am struggling to find a comfy middle ground at this point. I am THRILLED that I can ride this horse, but I think we’ll be spending a ton of time on the ground in upcoming weeks as I firmly believe that’s why the connection I had with Image became so strong, so quickly. I put a lot of time into that horse on the ground, and I will never, ever forget the feeling of him walking up to me and pressing his head into my chest for ear rubs. I don’t think Simba will ever be that demonstrative with affection, but I hope that he and I will develop our own special bond in the years to come. I don’t think it will come as quickly as it did with Image…there was a much different spark there. Don’t get me wrong — I wouldn’t have brought Simba home if there hadn’t been any spark, but it was certainly a different kind this time around. Part of my fears that maybe I’ve hit my quota for heart horses…the other part of me feels that maybe, this time around, it’s just going to take a little more time.

The holidays have been a killer this year, and I am more tired than I’ve been in FOREVER! I have so much more to say, but to avoid boring the masses, I’ll end here and hopefully get another post up before the end of the week (and before I have more adventures to write about!). For now, here’s another image from the little holiday shoot I did with Simba the weekend after bringing him home!

Merry Christmas to meeee!

Getting Checked Out

I knew from the beginning that I really liked this silly little yellow horse. I knew that wasn’t going to be something that would hold us back. However, after the mess I got myself into with Image, I wasn’t planning on plugging my ears and going “la la la la he looks healthy so we’re good to go!” this time around.

Munching with his new buddies last Monday.
So, as a prepurchase exam was non-negotiable this time around, I put a call into my vet shortly after bringing Simba home. Chad called me Wednesday and we promptly set up a time for Thursday for the vet check. I chewed my fingernails off in that short amount of time because I am nothing if not an anxiety attack waiting to happen. I honestly didn’t expect any catastrophic, “oh my god he needs to be sent back right this moment” revelations from Chad, but there was still a small part of me going “oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit”. The last time I didn’t expect any catastrophic revelations, I ended up having to put my horse down. So, I went into this expecting the worst…just in case. 
I showed up to the barn a half hour early to make sure Simba was presentable…and thank God I did because dirty pony was DIRTY. D immediately informed me that he’s incredibly gross in his stall, and then happily remarked that she was glad SHE wasn’t the one grooming him. I can’t say I blame her — he’s going to be a tough one to keep clean and he’s going to drive me a bit batty with his affinity for smooshing his face into his poop. Ew, Simba. Just….ew. 
He has settled down quite a bit since the move. I walked into the paddock and had a soft eyed, curious critter who quietly stuck his nose into his halter. He was still a bit dancey on the cross ties, but he wasn’t calling to his new friends or acting like the world was going to end because omg new place. He enjoyed the currying something fierce, though…which is a good thing because there was lots of currying. 
I had just barely gotten through trying to clean up his belly when Chad pulled in. Simba danced uncertainly for a moment, eyes wide at the noise of Chad’s truck. He chilled out relatively quickly though, which I’m glad to see. He’s settling in more and more, so things aren’t wigging him out quite as much. He’s the type that needs a minute to just check things out before being okay with it. Once he’s wrapped his head around the object, he’s usually able to think things through. 
Chad greeted D and I with a warm hug (d’awww!). Many people in the horse world don’t go “oh yay, I get to see my vet!” Vets usually mean vet bills. Unfortunately, there’s no way of getting around that…but I’m super lucky because holy crap do I love my vet! How many vets greet you with a hug, give your pony mints, call him cute pet names, spend a little time chatting, and then leave with a hug…all while doing a FANTASTIC thorough prepurchase exam? The man has every horsewoman in northern MA charmed to death, that’s for sure. He makes the prospect of handing over a bigass chunk of money a little easier to swallow! 
Chad did all the regular stuff I’d expect at a vet check: checked temperature, heart rate, and breathing. Then, he went over him with the proverbial fine tooth comb. He picked up on a mild tenseness through his mid thoracic area on his back, a mild case of thrush in a front foot and a hind foot, and an old injury that had scarred over on his left hind close to the heel that I had missed entirely. Fortunately, none of that was alarming or deal breaking — just still to keep an eye on and/or treat, especially in the case of the thrush. Chad also noticed that his third eyelid on his left eye was showing, and told me to just be aware of it, as that was a popular place for a scary type of cancer to manifest itself. If caught early, it was no big deal…but if cancer starts there it can easily get into the bone. Lastly, and what concerns me most in the long run, is that Simba has very slight changes in his eye lenses that could be indicative of cataracts as time progresses. Right now, they aren’t inhibiting sight or causing any issues, but it’s something to keep in the back of my mind. That may cause issues down the road.
Chad then did flex tests, which he passed easily (and I nearly passed out because my fat, out of shape ass had to jog back and forth). He also gaited in hand with me a few times (squeeeeeeeee!!), which was lovely to listen to on the pavement. Chad let me catch my breath, before asking me if I was okay with him taking the lead line for a neuro exam. 
I’m not sure if a neuro exam is status quo for most prepurchase exams, but I was really happy Chad did one. It was borderline fascinating to see Simba’s responses, because they were SO different from Image’s responses. I now know just how neuologically unsound Image was in comparison. Thankfully, Simba showed no neurological deficiency and gave all the right answers to Chad’s questions. 
He handed Simba back to me, and then nonchalantly asked if I could put him through his paces under saddle. Oh, was I glad that I had thrown on my breeches and had my boots in the car! I was hoping out maiden ride was going to be a little more trails, a little less going in circles, but OH MY GOD I WAS GONNA RIDE MY PONY! 
Ride I did! I was so proud of that funny little yellow horse. He has settled quite a bit since moving to D’s (though he’s still spinning circles in his stall at night; we’re hoping that settles down eventually as well) and didn’t even flinch when I mounted up. Admittedly, I’m still a little wary of those first thirty seconds in the saddle…I keep waiting for the horse to explode underneath me. I’m hoping I work myself out of that, but it may be something that follows me forever. 
I walked him up and down the driveway, and I had a ball of electricity underneath me. I wouldn’t call him ready to explode, but he was definitely tense. He didn’t offer to spook (though the one corner up by the house was snort-worthy) at anything on the driveway, but his “forward” button was a bit sticky. I was wearing my clunky winter boots that didn’t offer much flexibility, and my stirrups were off kilter, so I was having my own issues too. Regardless, he softened to the bit when I asked and listened to me when I asked firmly for movement.

Fuzzy yellow ears!!
He did do one funny little hop that had me laughing out loud — from the driveway to the backyard there is a small grass path between the horse fence and a rock wall. This was, apparently, TERRIFYING and needed to be jumped through. We walked through it calmly on the way back, but that little hop was amusing! 
We did circles in the backyard and Chad observed his movement. Thankfully, he saw nothing and I felt nothing while having a couple of discussions with him. He is definitely not fond of doing any sort of ringwork. It’s not fun and he has to use his body and pay attention…so he’s a little resistant and a bit defiant. He didn’t pull any jerky moves and didn’t retaliate when I got after him, but I’m going to miss having a ring to use when we need to do some real schooling. Trying to work with him on an almost flat but not quite totally flat area when I’m out of shape and my balance isn’t perfect makes me a little nervous — no need for horse and rider to end up on the ground! 
Chad said that he didn’t see anything troubling, so I hopped off and gave Simba a hug. He didn’t buck me off, and that’s a big reason to celebrate after nearly eating dirt almost every time I rode Image. I think there was only once we were able to walk off without him exploding! Simba looked a bit perplexed at the whole ordeal, but he didn’t put a foot wrong the entire time…being poked and prodded for a full two hours was not his idea of fun, but he tolerated it very well and made me a proud mama.

Chad left shortly after that, and D gave me a hug, congratulating me — this was the final real hurdle before I could really start calling Simba mine. I allowed myself to open my heart just a little bit more once it was clear that he was a happy, healthy pony…and now, it was just time to tackle the very first trail ride to totally seal the deal! Fortunately, I got to do just that this past Saturday, but I feel like this entry is long and boring enough…so stay tuned! 😉

Ready, Set, GO!

I started working with Simba today. No time like the present, right?

Before I get to today’s adventures, it occurred to me last night after putting him away that Things are definitely different this time around. I fell in love with Image almost immediately upon meeting him. Now, don’t get me wrong, my heart goes all fluttery when I see Simba, but I’m feeling juuuust a little guarded right now. There are a lot of things I’m good at, and a lot of things I will be good at, but being careful about just how much of myself I put into my animals will never be one of those things. I’ve come to accept that. However, it does mean that after losing two horses in two years, I’m feeling a little less game about jumping into a horse-human relationship with both feet. I have a feeling that a certain yellow horse is going to win me over sooner rather than later, but I’ve got a proverbial arm out to keep him back a smidge until he clears his vet check, which will hopefully be later this week. It’s mostly self preservation, at this point. My heart simply can’t take another major blow right now.

I may also be feeling a little guilty. It is absolutely irrational, but Image is still very much on my mind. I am so happy and excited to have Simba with me, but I still miss my little black horse. Simba shares a lot of the same qualities, and as time goes on and we work out the kinks, there may be more similar things that pop up, and that hurts a little more than it comforts right now. That will change as time goes on, as he and I forge an entirely new relationship, but I will have to sort things out in my own head.

Today was the beginning of sorting things out and starting our relationship. Last night we left Simba in his stall a little “up” and tense, but really no worse for the wear. He had slid into the herd dynamic almost silently, and was quickly picking up the routine. I was — and am! — very pleased at how he’s settling in.

This morning, after nearly dying on VERY icy roads through northern MA, D and I turned out and did stalls. I slid his halter on, and was both thrilled and annoyed with the poop stains on his FACE. Yay! for being comfortable enough to lie down and get some rest in a new place…but REALLY, Simba? Your FACE? I love, love, love his coloring but oh dear…I may need to start buying coat polish and spot remover in bulk! Good thing he’s cute! He was a little concerned about Flynn leaving before him, and we had a quick lesson on patience regardless of how excited you’re feeling.

D and I peeked out the windows to watch Tory, Flynn and Simba reacquaint themselves after everyone was back in the paddock.  Tory was still protective of her Flynn, but the three of them quietly munched hay together underneath the shelter off the back of the barn. Image was a little on the food aggressive side and was prone to trying to guard as much of the food as possible, so it was nice to see them all sharing space and eating second breakfast (snork!) without pinned ears or flying hooves. Good critters!

We let them finish up before braving the cold and wet. I gave Simba his first spa session before bringing him out to the round pen. D jokingly calls baby Flynn “Pig Pen” and I may have to adopt that nickname for Simba, too. Eeeew! I curried the hell out of him and then spent time picking through his mane and tail. I am, admittedly, VERY vain about my horse’s mane and tail. D saw firsthand today the amount of mane and tail products I have in my grooming box. I like to make my ponies pretty! Thankfully, he tolerated me buffing him very well. He was definitely nervous in the barn and out of eyesight of his new friends, but he wasn’t out of control or overly pushy about anything. I don’t blame him for being nervous and didn’t push the situation to a point where it could have gotten ugly. I did, however, get after him for pawing — THAT is a major no-no, and won’t be tolerated. His wiggly-ness will be worked on when he’s less stressed about moving, but pawing is something I have no patience for.

I switched out his flat halter for his rope one (which he happily stuffed his nose into…silly boy!) and led him to the round pen. I could almost see the energy coursing through him — his head was up, his body was tense, and while he wasn’t spooky, he was a little snorty. I lunged him on the end of the line very briefly before turning him loose.

How can you not love that color on him??



Simba, to his credit, didn’t shut down mentally or go completely spastic. He was spunky, but not insane. It took him some time to focus, but he wasn’t completely tuned out to what I was asking him, either. I also LOVED the fact that he didn’t buck ONCE during his happy fun time in the round pen. I also observed that he was very, very careful about where he put his feet (the round pen is on a bit of a slope in the backyard — D’s property is basically one big hill, which is GREAT for hill work but a little bit tricky for flat work!) and how he balances himself. That may be different when someone is on his back, but it was encouraging to see that he was really thinking about shifting his weight around to minimize the possibility of hitting the ground.

Dolly the Border Collie making sure that pesky horse stays right where he’s supposed to!

He and I fumbled about kind of awkwardly for the first few minutes. I’ve had a lot of influences over the years in regards to groundwork, and finding out what works for which horse is sometimes a challenge. D has been doing this a lot longer than I have, and was REALLY helpful during this first test run. When I round pen, my usual go-to “stop” cue is stepping in front of the drive line. Image had picked up on this quick, both on and off the line, but I always felt a bit like there had to be a better way to communicate what I was looking for. This cue didn’t seem to translate well with Simba, who blew through my command nearly every time. D offered an alternative, and I didn’t hesitate to give it a shot.

Instead of cutting him off by stepping in front of his nose, I asked him to come in to me by backing up. This, essentially, cuts him off a little later and draws his energy towards me, encouraging him to turn, face, and walk up to me. It took us both a few times to get it, but it wasn’t long before he had given me on fairly good turn/face/approach on cue. We quit there, with him standing in front of me, a bit sweaty, but a LOT more level headed. This horse has a lot of energy and a lot of power…with his brain intact, he is going to be a BLAST with all of his gogogogogogo electricity. He needs to put it somewhere productive, and I’m hoping to channel as much of it as possible through groundwork, trick training, and riding.

Love the soft expression here. Good boy!

The other thing I observed is that he is definitely more on the dominant side of things. M and I both have a sneaking suspicion that he may have been gelded a little later than most. He has no true “studdish” tendencies, but he does toss his head much like a stallion would do. He is more likely to challenge than submit, and definitely needs someone who isn’t going to be intimidated by his showy attitude. He hasn’t given me ANY reason to believe his bite is worse than his bark, and he doesn’t strike me as a horse who truly has a mean bone in his body, but it is something I will be paying close attention to. There can only be one royal in this dictatorship, and that’s going to be me, damn it!

Sassy pony is sassy!

I walked him out and was very pleased at his demeanor after getting some of the excess, nervous energy out. I had a much quieter boy with a happier brain and a softer response to me all around. I am thrilled to see that this is his response to just a little bit of work, and hope that we can make this who he is on a regular basis. I’m pretty sure regular work is going to be the key to success here — anything to work his brain, really — and he will be fabulous.

I am excited to see where this goes. Next weekend will be a lot more telling of where he actually is, as he’s had some time to settle in and figure out the routine. Dr. McGee will hopefully be out this week to do a vet check. I’m off to start researching trick training!

Home to Pride Rock

I’m sorry, but the Lion King references are NEVER EVER GOING TO STOP EVER.


So, after a WHIRLWIND of a week that included me panicking because HOLY SHIT WHERE AM I GOING TO PUT MY PONY??, a death plague from hell, having to arrange transport and boarding on short notice, and getting all the details in order…I haz a ponee!


My name is Simba and I am a handsome, handsome pony!

Long story short, M needed the critter moved by Saturday to avoid some strife with her current barn. I, in the most controlled manner possible (because HOLYSHIT PANIC TIME! inside my head), scoped out as many boarding situations at possible, seeing as L’s was full up. I had a lot of kind offers, but the one that made the most sense at the end of the day came from my aunt D. We chatted during the big family Thanksgiving dinner, and agreed that it could be win-win for both of us. Simba needed a place to call home, and D needs a bit of help around the farm. Once we iron out all the details, I’m pretty sure we’re going to have a great time!

So, this morning, I got up, watched an episode of My Little Pony (yes, I am a five year old at heart…), and scurried off to northern MA to meet up with D. She hooked up her trailer, and off we went!

The entire ride to western MA was peppered with conversation, but I was buzzing with electricity I was trying to contain. Unfortunately, I’m not sure I did such a great job of it, but such is life. My GPS did an excellent job of directing us through a quaint college town, full of gorgeous brick buildings and unnmarked speed bumps in the road that sent the entire rig sailing through the air once or twice (oops!). We made excellent time and pulled into Simba’s barn just as M was bringing him back up from the paddock.

I could tell by the shake in her voice that her heart was breaking. Today was very exciting for me, but having just lost a horse, albeit in an entirely different manner, I felt M’s heartache quite a bit. She loaded him on the trailer with no fuss from Simba, and we wandered off to sign paperwork.There were many hugs between us and many promises of pictures and blog posts and Facebook updates before we left.

Loaded up!

Simba was mostly quiet on the ride back — he hollered once or twice, and pawed a few times, but got over that relatively quickly. He didn’t make a peep back there once we got on the road. We made good time getting back to D’s house, and arrived just as the sun was casting a gorgeous golden glow over her paddock. Her Missouri Fox Trotter mare, Tory, and baby pinto gelding, Flynn, followed the trailer eagerly as we headed up the driveway. Surprise, kids! Here’s a new buddy to play with!

Checking out his new surroundings.

Simba was a little sweaty when we backed him off the trailer, and more than a little “wtf”-y about the whole situation. However, he kept himself in check and walked the driveway with me a few times before giving a proverbial shoulder shrug, and settling down to munch some grass. Once he heaved a sigh of contentment, I turned him out into the paddock. We had shifted D’s two horses over to the round pen so Simba could get the lay of the land, and so we could introduce Tory and Flynn one at a time. We spent a little time readying his stall and getting things organized before bringing Tory and Flynn back into the mix.

You always prepare for fireworks when introducing horses to one another, so I think we had both readied ourselves for the introductions to go screwy. We were both pleasantly surprised — there was some posturing, some squealing and striking, but soon enough they looked like a herd of three that had spent quite a long time together. I’m not even sure I really saw anyone pin their ears. The one thing that we both found kind of fascinating to watch was that Tory made sure to keep “her” baby Flynn away from the newbie. Tory has never had a foal, but since D’s eldest horse, Ripley, moved on to a new home, it’s obvious that the dynamic between Tory and Flynn had become protector-protectee. Tory was very much immersed in her role as protector and didn’t hesitate to tell Simba off if he got too close to “her” baby. It’ll be interesting to see how the herd pecking order comes together over the next few weeks, that’s for sure!

Once I was a little more sure there wouldn’t be hooves flying, I ducked into the paddock to snap some pictures. Simba needs a spa day, which he will get tomorrow, before I take any serious pictures, but I couldn’t resist getting some of him in Image’s bright blue halter. It’s his now, of course, but it made me smile to see it on a horse again.

BAH. He’s so stinking cute!

I have much more to say, but no energy to do so. I did want to get it out there that’s he’s here and adorable and I am so, so excited to see what happens next. I’ll have more to say tomorrow, including elaborating on the plethora of mixed emotions running through my ineffectual little brain!

Until tomorrow, ya’ll! 🙂

Flynn and Tory say “good night!”