Squishing Ponies

Hello friends!

In a happy turn, it looks like some of the garden that we thought was a goner is still with us! Some of our kohlrabi has come back, our potatoes are on their way, and maybe, just maybe the squash is holding its own. Pretty exciting considering the hard battle it had to fight. 

We’ve had a lot of little things to fix and figure out on the farm lately. We have a sticky valve problem in the sprinklers system which means no matter what your intentions are, you are watering the backyard. It’s also a little hectic because the particular zone that wants to always be stuck open waters the garden path and the driveway, which basically means if you are trying to get down to the rest of the farm, ya know, maybe you want to go to the barn, you are going to get wet. Really really wet.

Super fun things happened this week as well! My little cousin is coming out to ride again, and that always brings so much joy to the farm. 

We goofed a little in that we had planned on her riding after I got off work, and the universe planned on that being the first day to climb above 95 degrees. It was unfortunately very very warm, so rider, horse, and yours truly all melted a little. It was not supposed to do that according to the forecast. I broke a couple of my working horses rules to pull that one off, but since it’s not actually terribly difficult work for Ro at this stage we were able to fudge it a little. 

But we had so much fun anyway. Lots of smiles and giggles and high fives. She’s a little taller now, so her cues are starting to be recognized. Ro still ignores them in favor of listening to me, but at least when I say “squish your pony and cluck” we are squishing actual pony, and not just saddle leather. When I help her make the cue with her leg, we can actually feel Ro react, moving gently away, and that was an aha moment for sure. Soon she’ll be able to do it all on her own.

(Squish the pony is a very silly alternative to telling someone to kick, because as my riders get older it’s easier to teach them to escalate their asking methods to meet the pony’s needs, than to deescalate. Squishing the pony requires a constant, firm but not sharp pressure, and when the pony responds, is a very fair, clean cue with a simple end.)

She’s also got a lot more confidence in herself and her actions, which made for a much more interactive ride. She was able to let go of the horn more and use her reins, and she was able to raise her little voice and ask Ro to whoa. She even asked me if I could mark her reins so she could remember where her hands go (little hands have to put down the reins a lot in order to do other things). I was super proud of her for advocating for herself.

I promised her that soon she would be getting her own official, certified riding helmet and a set of safe boots. She’s so so so excited. As she’s working with a new found confidence, I really want her to be safe while riding. Injuries are absolutely inevitable, if she’s lucky she’ll never have more than a bruised ego and some squished toes maybe, but more than likely she will have a fall or two, pull or strain a muscle, scrape a knee, hopefully nothing worse. But a correct helmet and boots will just be one step in the right direction for ensuring she walks away from a dust up with nothing but a good story. So, one Saturday soon, when I can get some time, we will be heading to the tack store, which is just incredibly dangerous for my wallet.

I am also spending some horse focused money on finally getting the trailer up to snuff. It’s been the project that just keeps getting pushed back but the problem now exists that if I want to keep my current farrier, I need to travel to his place for the foreseeable future. He no-showed our last appointment and has been having a generally hard time the last little while, so I don’t mind making his life easier, but it’s also another project I really didn’t need on my plate. It’ll be fine though, realistically it’s the kick in the tail I need, what if I have to trailer to the vet? Or pick up an unexpected animal? Or wanna go trail riding in my childhood happy place? It’s time to get the trailer functional and the girls retrained.

This was simply too cute to not share even though it has nothing to do with the post

There’s always something that needs doing on a farm anyway, might as well be a trailer restore.

Until we chat again my friends.

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