We made the decision to buy one of the pony school horse's for my daughter a few days ago. He went up for sale and I just could not pass up buying him. This means I need to sell Maiden which makes me very sad, but I think it's for the best. Geir, the horse we bought, has an extremely safe temperament and is very sweet and is a horse both me, my daughter and my husband can safely ride.
Our first ride with him was Monday after school. He was definitely a little "beginner lesson sour" and has learned to ignore aids for his own sanity (imagine trying to figure out what someone was saying if they just kept making garbling gibberish noises to you while making it clear they expected you to follow their specific instructions. You would eventually stop listening to keep yourself sane. Because he's wide and sweet and bigger than the ponies he's been used for the bigger kids who have horrible balance and thus it's been easier for him just to follow the other horses and ignore the rider.
But he wants to do what's right so after awhile he and I started to form some communication and he started to listen to me. I had to pull out the dressage whip and after two whacks each time the minute he spun to go the other direction to follow a horse, he stopped trying to spin and go a different way or run off to talk to a horse standing on the other side of the arena fence, and he actually relaxed and started listening to me. My daughter had a difficult time getting him to listen to her but she says she still wants him and still really likes him. Since the school is closed this week some of the other instructors were there exercising horses and one of them worked with my daughter (after assessing the situation and correctly assuming kids listen to other instructors better than their parents) and she told her the same thing I just explained, that Geir just needs to be reminded to listen to his rider and have some positive rides where he sees it is ok to listen to your rider and it will be easier.
I didn't ride him yesterday as planned because I was getting over an acute RA flare-up that apparently came on when I overdid it riding one of the other instructor's horses. He's a big guy and a very big mover and has a very bouncy trot and like a dork I wanted to experience his canter too, which was better but also pretty bouncy compared to what I'm used to. Apparently, I need to be careful not to bounce like that because it messed me up for a day. Ooops. He was such a fun horse though I didn't use good judgement and wanted to keep riding him.
So, today I went back to see Geir and went a little early compared to the other instructors so we could have some time doing some ground work together. First he impressed me by coming right up to me in the field even though he had only been turned out about ten minutes previously and was happily eating grass. Then he impressed me by trying to do everything I asked him to on the lunge line. He had been trained to turn and walk in toward his person I think because he kept doing that with every "Whoa" but after I showed him how I wanted him to stop without turning in, he got it quickly and then was thrilled when I told him what a good boy he was.
Our ride was much better today although I was concerned about his back and whether or not it was sore so I was riding him at a trot in my two-point (which I'm out of practice) and having another instructor watch him trot for me when he decided to pull one of his "spin around to follow the other horse" moves and I'm a little shocked I didn't go flying off of him! But I didn't so yay me. After our ride I gave him a hug around his neck and he reciprocated by nuzzling his head on my shoulder and chest. I think he's going to enjoy being someone's special family pony!