Louie got to experience a new activity today- ponying. I had been wanting to pony him a few months ago, because it is a good way to get a young horse used to things and a good skill to have in our back pocket incase we need it! So I brushed Louie and let him loose with just his halter on in the outdoor ring to graze until I was ready for him. Then I saddled up our walking horse Cash, and headed out to the outdoor arena. Just to see how the two horses would react, I walked Cash around the ring once or twice with Louie just hanging out free in the arena- niether of them cared. Then I grabbed Louie's leadrope and without even dismounting, walked over to him, got his attention, and hooked the leadrope on. Then we walked off.
I just held the leadrope instead of tying it to anything as I think it's a little safter that way. I tried to keep Louie's head by my leg, but he wanted to slack off at first and lag behind Cash and me. We walked around the rail, keeping Louie to the inside, and Cash was just a champ about it- he couldn't have cared less. Louie thought this was a little interesting and at first tried to bite Cash, but I was able to use my arms and legs to ward him off. After a few trips around, Louie had settled into the idea nicely, turning both ways with us, stopping, and starting when asked. We mostly just walked.
We did do a little bit of trot- at first Louie did not keep up with Cash when we started to pick up our speed. This was not so fun for the middle man- me. But after some coaxing, I got Louie to jog beside us as Cash picked it up to a nice flat walk. By the end, we even practiced a little turkey cutting- there was a giant herd of turkeys in and near the arena during our ride, and at the end, we thought it might be fun to try to separate one from the rest of the flock. It was really easy, we just stayed on the rail and kept walking- we left one turkey in the middle of the arena and the other 10 on the outside of the arena fence- fun! Niether horse did anything more than prick their ears up to look at the turkeys waving their wings and showing off.
The hardest part of the whole ponying thing was getting Louie to trot when I wanted to go faster. I'll have to remember to cue Louie in advance of cueing Cash so that I keep both of my arms attached to my body in the future, lol. All in all, it went really well, very smoothly, and both horses took to it really easily. It's a great way for me to work Cash, yet still get Louie out of his stall a little bit in the evenings to stretch his legs without really "working."