It's time for Cowboy to get some exposure to life off the ranch. Otherwise he'll end up being another uncivilized young horse that is ill-equipped to deal with the Real World. The easiest way to introduce a young horse to the various stimuli found out on the trail is to pony them alongside a trustworthy, seasoned horse. My problem? I'm currently lacking a suitable lead pony. I first attempted to pony Cowboy off of Wally. That ended up being a fascinating study in equine behavior. Wally was giving off definite vibes that HE DID NOT WANT TO BE A LEAD PONY. And Cowboy was reading Wally's body language. Then I had the inspiration to pony Cowboy off of Topper, my sister's sweet but sometimes silly Thoroughbred. As you can see by this photo, things started out well. After all, Cowboy lives in a paddock next to Topper. He perceives Topper as his uncle.
Topper says, "Huh. Last time I was anywhere near a lead pony situation, I was the creature being ponied. Somehow, I suddenly find myself in a freakish alternate universe."
Naturally, I had to experiment a little. So I asked Topper to jog, which prompted Cowboy to trot. And then Cowboy began bucking and playing, which incited Topper to join in on the festivities. There I was, leading a rambunctious colt while sitting astride a free wheelin' 16.2-hand Thoroughbred. Rodeo Queen I am not. I pulled Topper back to a walk, settled down Cowboy and rode straight back to the barn. Strike Two in the Search for an Appropriate Lead Pony.
I then began hunting around town for a suitable horse. As I've related before, there are plenty of horses that are being sold cheaply in my area. Some are even free to good homes, simply because the economy is so bad. But unfortunately, as much as I'd love to give a needy horse a good home, I really didn't find any horse that would work for Cowboy. And then I mentioned to Sue (my trainer friend, at whose place I give lessons) that I was in desperate need of a lead pony. That's when she offered up Ringo, her husband's semi-retired mounted patrol police horse. He's been a lead pony before, and is quite the Steady Eddie on the trails. Ringo can even come live at Cowboy's house, so they can get acquainted before they go out on the town together. Stay tuned. I'll let you know how that goes!
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