Whoo! I posted! Go me!
Some of you probably know me already from various other LJ communities, but i'm the one with the butterbutt pony (a.k.a Mr Hayflinger a.k.a. the monster pony a.k.a. the Moocher) Mighty Mitch MRH. He's my second horse, my first having been my super wonderful Thoroughbred, Flair, who sadly passed on due to colic in June of 2007. (But I truly believe he's still with me in spirit, and that he picked Mitch out personally for me.)
So Mitch and I are mainly trail moochers. I've aspirations to some day ride in a Competitive Trail Ride or maybe a Limited Distance endurance ride, but I don't have any way to seriously train for anything, much less get to a ride (someday ... a trailer shall be mine, oh yes, someday a trailer shall be mine.) We mainly bum it around our barn, and when we get lucky and catch a ride with barn buddies who do trailer out, we've gone on some 6 hour rides. I haven't been horse camping with the pony yet (I went on a leased mare in 2007 and got stung by 30 yellow jackets ... what fun!) but I'm hoping to make 2009 the year we get out and do things. 2008 was the 'Getting to Know You' year since I got Mitch in late Feb. 2008 and pretty much spent the year riding the trails, and getting to know him. I've got goals for 2009 that include riding in a CTR and a poker ride, and maybe going horse camping as long as we don't run into any more yellow jackets.
Having a Haflinger has been a different experience from a Thoroughbred. He's a bit of a cheeky sod sometimes, and is really really smart. Flair was more apt to fall into line with a 'Yes'm, whatever you say ma'am" attitude, but owning Mitch has meant I've had to think fast and on my feet a lot. Not that I don't like it, of course. He's a wonderful guy, loads of personality, and an in-your-pocket attitude that just makes him fun. But he can be pushy and because he knows exactly how much he weighs, and that I'm an eeny weeny little stick next to him, he can sometimes go into a total state of "Ignoring YOU!" mode and basically do the Haflinger shut down of "got my fingers in my ears and I'm not liiiiiistening, lalalalalala." So he's definitely a horse that's a challenge at times.
I've shyed away from some of the more glitzy aspects of NH (the ones I feel are more about the merchandise than the training) in the past because Flair wasn't the kind of horse who didn't react well to it. But Mitch is the kind of personality that works well with certain aspects of horsemanship and training, and some different styles of NH. I've been doing TTouch with him (Linda rode a friend of mine's horse at a recent clinic) and working on some stuff that Chris Irwin teaches as well as a bit of John Lyons. I'm kind of a 'bits and pieces' person, and I try various things to see what works with Mitch since he's not really into structure and guidelines. And I'm not adverse to giving him a good whack if he barges past me while hand-walking or yanks me off balance when he sees a patch of grass he wants to eat. That's just not done. And he needs that smack.
After a year of riding him in an Abetta endurance saddle, we're planning on finally going treeless. The Abetta didn't fit him right, and he was having some issues. penella22
knows what I've been going through since she's on my friends list, and has been listening to me waffle on and about for the better part of a year. In a way, it was kinda good that I waited because Barefoot came out with the DryTex in October, and that's the saddle that most appeals to me (it's synthethic, which I like because I hate cleaning tack and you can't beat the price.) Our demo/possible keeper saddle is currently sitting at FedEx in NC, but we ought to get it next week. Another goal of 2009 is to ride treeless, barefoot and bitless. Mitch is already barefoot, and if the saddle works we'll be treeless, and it won't be long before he's bitless either, although I'll probably keep him in his snaffle when we trail ride.
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