This weekend has flown by and Pony Club Camp has been very successful for me. Just the one fall, which wasn’t really a fall as the boys were high fiving and one leant so far over he slid off!
I think a lot of the success was down to the ponies, who have been saints.
My pathfinder, the biggest and steadiest of the ponies who became my lead file instantly, was a 14hh Irish cob. He’s only seven but incredibly sensible. Goes into trot when asked, maintains the trot, goes approximately around the outside – doesn’t fall in or try to cut corners, but could get deeper into the corners. He just jumped the jumps with minimal effort, went straight over them, and was great cross country. The only flaw with this sedate pony was that as he got tired he got a bit nappy and just trotted back to the others. As soon as his rider learns to be bossy and not passively sit on his hands as they returned to the ride the cob would oblige and stay on course.
One of the two mares on my ride was a grey mare who was pretty quick off the leg and had a good jump. She was the only one I had to watch as she could kick out if other horses got too close. She was a bit fresh on the first day and headed rather quickly towards the jump, but she was soon tired and I couldn’t fault her behaviour. She jumped everything asked of her, cantered on command, was great cross country and in handy pony. Her rider wasn’t the most confident and, although she was quick, she looked after him very well.
Pony number three was a grey gelding with a large Irish head and an equally large beer belly. His rider tended to have long reins, but the pony seemed to understand the vague directives. He was steady enough that he wouldn’t catch up with the grumpy mare, but he wasn’t a kick-kick-kick pony. He was a bit quicker going towards home, and often reluctant to leave the pack, but very amicable and jumped 65cms in the Chase Me Charlie very willingly.
This next pony is a saint. He had been borrowed for his rider as his rider had only had a couple of lessons and wanted to go to camp like his big sister. This boy is deaf, has a myriad of health problems, and an almost total beginner. But this pony followed the tail in front, kept a steady speed, suffered long reins and a few bounces in canter, trotted away from the others willingly cross country, and put in the smoothest of skips over the tiny fences so that his rider stayed safe. Over the three days his rider had his first canter, first jump, learnt his diagonals, learnt sitting trot and went without stirrups for the first time. If I were the boy’s parents I would be making an offer on that pony!
My final pony was a little section A dun mare, ridden by a gutsy six year old. The pony went on command, jumped everything asked, didn’t get any faster, kept its head up after jumps to push her rider back into the saddle, and was just faultless. They jumped 65cm too in the Chase Me Charlie.
I’m sure you would agree that these ponies sound brilliant, and whilst I don’t often complain about ponies and their behaviour, sometimes teaching such a good set of ponies makes you realise how you quite often adapt your lessons to accommodate a quirk or two.