Sunday, July 8, 2012


Melissa of Melissa Lynn D Art (go check out her stuff - it's neat!) commented a couple of posts ago on how nicely Thunder is coming along.  Thanks, Melissa!  Her compliment actually made me chuckle - given that he's eight, it's only taken me five years to get to a point it would have taken a good trainer about a week to achieve...

(Riding pics from the last day my folks were here.)
Thinking and listening
The short story is, Thunder isn't actually mine.  The long story?  Thunder belongs to the farm owner, (who's also the one who bred Sunny and who I bought him from).  She doesn't ride, and hasn't been very interested in having him started.  She's stopped breeding and he's the last horse of her horses, so she's reluctant to see him go even though she's not really doing the horse thing any longer.

Last year, when we took Amyra for training that left just Sunny and Thunder at the farm. I was doing a lot of trail riding at the time, and not being keen on leaving one frantic horse behind fences that are electric, but wouldn't stop anything really determined to get out, I started hauling Thunder with me to lessons, trail rides, etc.  He'd never really been off the place before, but with big brother - did I mention, he's Sunny's half-brother? - beside him, he took to all the strangeness with only a snort or two.

Since that went so well, and I was ponying him beside Sunny on rides anyway, I figured he might as well go saddled.  We tried that out at home first with no fireworks, and other than some crowhopping the first time he actually loped alongside, he's never show any desire to buck. 

I'm no trainer, but Thunder's been handled lots, it lovely to work with on the ground, and his behavior out in public has been impressive given his previous lack of exposure.  Since I've almost given up on the farm owner providing him with a real trainer, I decided to see how far I can get.  So, we're taking baby steps.

Itchy ears - Darn bugs!

Tonight we practiced steering around trees along the driveway.  It was shady and there was a nice breeze, and after some initial trepidation at passing the camper he was great.  We wove in and out, back and forth through the knee deep grass, stepping over the occasional fallen limb.  

I pushed him a couple of times and managed a few steps of jog.  He's not quite sure what I want yet, but he was willing to listen and try.  That's one of the things I really like about him: he's a thoughtful horse  His ears aren't constantly pointed forward scanning, they're usually tilted back toward me waiting to see what I'm wanting him to do.  He pays no attention to Sunny, who fusses and hollers whenever we move out of sight.  He doesn't get sulky or obstinate.  He's just a nice, nice boy. 

Fingers crossed I can eventually convince the farm owner to part with him...

My other accomplishment tonight - a real braid in Sunny's mane.  You know, I actually think the fact that it grows on the left side of his neck (which is apparently wrong for some strange reason) makes it easier to braid.  

I rode Sunny, too - he was a bit stiff and bracy and it took him a long time to soften at the trot.  I really, really need some arena time with him on good ground with an even surface.  I hate to keep pushing when the ground is hard and the footing is uneven.   I ended up working him along the driveway in the shade as well, and that went better.  Maybe tomorrow we'll try going down the road, just for something different.


Kellie said...

Hopefully Thunder's owner will part with him one day. I think it's fantastic how much work you've done with him.

Great braid too!

SunnySD said...

Thanks, Kellie - I'm really hoping. He's a great horse!

buckpony said...

Hi SunnySD! Thank you for stopping in to say hi! It is great to be back for a while...not sure how long I will be able to keep it up, but I'm hoping for a little while at least. Wow, I didn't realize just how much I missed it! (Love the pun, btw - how appropriate!)

I am amazed at Thunder! You ahve done a great job with him! What a lovely boy! Sunny is looking great, too, and I love the fact that you are taking lessons.

Keep up the awesome work and thanks again for stopping in! (Trial Saddle should arrive tomorrow afternoon, so I will try to post an update on how it goes!)