Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › The Front Porch › Member Diaries › My First Horse (or pony if you prefer)
- September 15, 2016 at 11:16 pm #89416
This past winter a member here on the forum posted about Harness Equipment for sale, below that information there was also a Guernsey heifer and a “5yr old percheron /morgan cross filly dapple grey started” for sale. After looking for a stallion to breed to for the past year, I had seen a lot of neat horses for sale, but this one commanded me to call about it that same day, and I wasn’t really looking for a horse. Looking back, with the oxen gone, I felt like a teamless teamster, I wanted a project, and here she was.
I was working in Florida to earn some extra pocket money, thankfully Bill was nice enough to hold the filly for me until I returned. She was small, but stout, a bit sassy and floated down the muddy VT driveway at a trot, sold! Wonderful Jen Judkins helped me get her to Neal and Bekah’s new place for a month of training. Though I have been using Sam’s horses for years, it had been a long time since I last started a horse under saddle so I was happy that they were willing to take her for a bit. Meanwhile I had a greenhouse to startup and a vegetable business to tend to. The adult me was excited to have her in very capable hands, but my inner 8 year old child could not wait to get that filly home.
Reva Seybolt, Emily Langer and a third party, that owned the 2 horse trailer, enabled me to travel in style all the way up to Neal and Bekah’s to pick up the filly. Thanks to everyone for your support, it is about time I finally have a horse of my own.
We have been working together now for over 4 months. The filly, now know as Little Bit (compared to the others, she is just a little bit of a thing), has become more aware of personal space, relaxes ground tied in the middle of the isle for a multitude of activities, rides, drives and most importantly can do all of this without separation anxiety. The last one is a big problem that the other horses suffer from, thankfully not Little Bit. I can ride all over til my heart is content, and when we arrive back home, she doesn’t head for the barn, she has to go visit the heifers and the hogs. Coming from a dairy farm, I am certain that she was quite relieved to see all the cattle here when she first arrived. She has little fear and when uncertain, her head comes up, she stands and watches until the situation presents itself as nothing to worry about. I have started learning a new skill because of her, doing my own feet. A neighbor has been mentoring me, but just last night I flew solo and reset her fronts all on my own.
Riding came easier to the filly than driving. We spent 2 months just trail riding at a walk to build muscles for her and me. We started to add trotting the day we had to help find some loose beef heifers, there is nothing like real work to develop good skills. We worked hard at relaxing in harness, and trying not to trigger her inner Morgan demons. In the last month, things have started to click and she has pulled small logs and even placed at our fair in the team log skid. Tonight we made it to a new chapter, hitching to a vehicle with a pole. Sam was going to help me but we had to wait for him a while. After some ground driving I drove her and her teammate (the huge grey gelding) into position for hitching. She was patient and content to wait and stand well. I banged the forecart around, and tried to make as much noise as I could, no problem. I ended up hitching them by myself, no one moved a muscle, Little Bit paid no attention to the weight of the back pad or the restraint of the now taught harness. Sam came, he said the rigging looked good enough, and we struck off down the drive way. Sam followed for 150′ and turned us loose. She keeps right up with the big horse and pays no mind to the new situation. We had some starts, stops and turns that lacked finished grace, but she just needs some miles and sweat under the collar. My goal for the summer was to cultivate with this pair. She was slow to start, but by gosh summer is not over and I have some storage crops that need thinning, we might just make it.
I want to again thank everyone that directly helped me with this chapter of “my first horse adventure.” I would also like to thank the forum family for being such a great influence, for the many detailed discussions, stories, pictures and support, it has been a wonderful almost 9 years with you all. Life is better when you have like minded people to share your interests with. To Bill who sold me this rather fancy little mare, on concrete with a level and carpenter square, she measures 14.1 hands, a pony in some circles, but with size #2 feet, a 76″ cooler, a 5.25″ bit, and a heart to match, she is all horse to me, just a little easier to mount from the ground 😉 Thanks for holding her for me, she has been a joy to work with.September 15, 2016 at 11:23 pm #89419September 16, 2016 at 7:38 am #89425Livewater FarmParticipant
Erica thanks for the kind words glad she has turned out to be the little horse I thought she could be
BillSeptember 16, 2016 at 10:23 am #89426
I wanted to get over a few hurdles before I celebrated, I had to be rather persistant and adjust my mindset to her Morganness. Bill, a few folks have asked who the stallion was, is he still around?September 16, 2016 at 1:01 pm #89427Livewater FarmParticipant
Erica Steve Morse Whitingham Vt 802 368 7763 ownes the stud
BillSeptember 17, 2016 at 10:52 am #89428
Great to see, I wanted to buy her a while back I just couldnt justify it. I love the morgan crosses.December 11, 2016 at 10:08 pm #89759
Our first day in the woods together. Photos for BillDecember 17, 2016 at 11:27 am #89821CanoeTomahParticipant
I like her. Nice horse was her sire a Morgan?December 17, 2016 at 3:52 pm #89822
Thanks, Yes a Lippit Morgan stud and a Percheron mare.December 18, 2016 at 10:34 am #89823
What is the collar behind the bridle for?December 18, 2016 at 1:32 pm #89824
We use neck straps instead of halters when we harness up or tie while harnessed. They can stay on all day and never interfere/rub under bridles. and the collar slips right over them while harnessing/unharnesssing. No need for fancy moves while bridling to make sure they are secure. We use the same collars for horses and oxen. The one on my pony is more of a heifer sized collar, from when my steers were smaller. She still has a tendency to drop her head and try to eat while tied up with the collar, so I brought a rope halter that day, i could have left the collar at home, but it is habit to leave them on for work.
December 18, 2016 at 8:42 pm #89826
- This reply was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by dominiquer60.
Seems like a good idea, what are the downsides?December 19, 2016 at 9:34 pm #89828
They can put their heads down more than I like so tying up with out temptation around helps. This one caught her lead rope on something low when I was harnessing up. She fought it rather hard at first because there was no release the more she struggled. Once she stopped I talked her into lowering her head further, and I was able to get her freed up in no time. It was a good opportunity to show her that I can help her out of a tight spot.
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