Sunday, November 27, 2011

Perfect Pony List

In the ten minutes since I posted my last entry I was thinking about my list of what I want in a horse and what would make my pony a perfect pony.  Maybe my problem is I am focusing on all the things I don't want in a horse.  Animals respond to body language and our bodies often correspond with our emotions which come from our thoughts.  For example if I'm thinking about the pony spooking there are a series of things that happen.  I think about spooking, my brain shows me a picture of spooking, I may create a short movie or series of pictures where I see the pony spooking, my body reacts to these by increasing tension, which then turns into fear, which then goes outward in the form of tense muscles, shallow breathing and a change in smell.  I was once in an armed takeover robbery when I worked at the bank and I can tell you for certain that fear has a smell and your body will sweat fear when you are afraid.  Animals have a keener sense of smell and I know they can smell this change.  But back to the spooking.  So if I've spent a lot of time thinking and worrying about spooking, I'm almost guaranteed a spook.

So maybe all my obsessing about what's wrong with my horse is just leading to more wrong-ness.  So now I'm going to make a list of what I want in my perfect horse and maybe if my brain just thinks about that and not about what's wrong, the pony will start to look more and more like this horse.

My Perfect Pony List:

1.  Lovebug on the ground.  Wants to be with you.
2.  Stands quietly in cross ties
3.  Stands quietly when tied overall.
4.  Lets you touch/brush/rub her anywhere without biting or kicking or threatening.
5.  Lets you give her a bath/clip/groom/braid/saddle/bridle without biting, kicking or threating.
6.  Stands quietly in wash stall.
7.  Moves forward off the leg, quietly and without argument
8.  Is curious and confident
9.  Is safe on the ground and under saddle
10.  Is not over reactive under saddle
11.  Is forgiving of my mistakes

And here's what I imagine the Pony's list looks like.   So we can be fair about this, right?

My Perfect Partner List (by Tess)

1. Listens to me when I give small signals
2.  Is clear about she expects
3.  Gives as much as she takes
4.  Allows me to be a horse and be interested in things.  (I imagine her rolling her eyes and saying "I just wanted to see what was happening out there and we were just doing stupid 20 meter circles anyway."
5.  Gives me time to process things
6.  Rewards me when I do something well
7.  Gives me time to quiet down.
8.  Doesn't nag with the leg or seat
9.  Doesn't pull/yank/crank on the reins
10.  Is not over reactive when I am scared
11.  Is forgiving of my mistakes

I think we both want the same things when all is said and done, but can I be that owner for her?  And can she be that pony for me?


  1. Good thoughts and a good list - now, what can she already do well? Work on doing those things with her, rewarding her when she does them well, and expand out from there.

  2. Have you ever read Jane Savoie's "That Winning Feeling?" I got it for xmas last year, and it's got a lot of information about methods to counteract the mind games we play with ourselves when riding.

  3. Excellent lists! I agree with Kate - focus on the things you and her already master and expand from there.

  4. Okay, today's list will be things she can do!
    Steph- I'm ordering that book from the library today. My brain needs all the help it can get.