Have you ever been on the trail while a friend was ponying a young horse? Well I sure have and it does look like a piece of cake, could do that while falling of a log, not a problem, with one hand tied behind my back, what's the big deal anyways?
It was a cool but sunny fall afternoon at Pontiac Lake Recreation Area. Five of us had ridden to the staging area for lunch. As we were ready to leave for our ride back, we noticed that the estimated time of arrival at our barn was going to cause one member of our group to be seriously late for a previous engagement. As we had a truck with a very generous driver available, a plan was offered to drive the member home and I would pony the horse. After all, my horse and Ginger (the horse to be ponied) seemed to be best buds on our morning ride to PLRA. Just because neither horse had ever been the "ponyee" or the "ponyer" shouldn't be of concern, should it!
As the group tighten their saddles and make ready to leave I decide to practice leading and turning both horses. It was not quite as easy to keep the two horses together during the turns but it would be okay. Just as we rode out, there came some useful hints drifting through the air ways. Such as; don't let Ginger get her legs tangled and fall, be sure not to let the lead get caught under your horses tail or you will be skyward bound, make sure that you, your horse and Ginger don't pass on opposite sides of the trees and remember horses under saddle but not under a rider, that normally don't kick, may. Well now, didn't that just start the mind going. What ever happened to positive reinforcement?
So with reins in one hand and a lead in the other we started our two hour journey. The wide and flat sections of the trail went well once I learned not to let Ginger get her nose ahead of my saddle pommel. If she started to ease by me I would rein my horse in front of her which caused Ginger to drop back. Also, I found that I had more control if I kept her on a short lead. When it came to small hills or the horses up front going into a canter, there was a problem. My horse went to the canter, but Ginger liked to walk. You know I have since talked to my tailor and he said not to worry, no ones arms are the same length. As we all know, many parts of our trails are narrow, wooded and twisted but I frankly am pleased to say that I handled those conditions the best. I gave Ginger's lead to Susie.