I don't honestly know how early people start their foals ponying but I assume, with all things (except riding itself), the sooner the better. Sheza halters and leads well, MOST of the time, but she still plants her feet and tries to have a stand off with me once in a while. I really want to get her ponying so that I can start riding Desire out and ponying baby, since I can't physically hand walk them both and the menfolk aren't exactly jumping up and down to help. I longed Desire out this evening with the filly at liberty, then put filly on the lead rope and mounted the mare. No way to find out what would happen without trying it, I reckon. I can see that it would be very nice and convenient to have an assistant for some of the baby training stuff but that is a luxury I don't have so I am muddling through the best I can. Sheza tried to play stand off a couple of times on the first circuits ponying around the arena but since she was essentially just following mom she seemed more willing to follow than when I am leading them both on the ground..though she is following mom in both those cases..well for whatever reason, my leverage being up above, who knows, she was less resistant and I didn't have any big tugs or fits to deal with, which is nice since Desire was in freight train mode, speed walking around the arena. She has a GREAT walk and I am excited about it but the poor baby (already sweaty and having run laps around the arena like a nutter when she loose) was trotting to keep up with mom's walk and was an absolute sweaty mess by the end. Desire had a lot of energy in her so I turned the filly loose again after she ponied nicely for probably ten minutes, and turned my attention to the mare. We worked on walk and a little trot, I definitely have some figuring out to do since I am so used to Blaze and all his cues but the mare and I seem to be on the same general page. She does stick her nose in the air with a stiff neck and try to just trot trot trot which I find unacceptable. She knows how to collect but was pretty rusty on it. I worked on big circles and transitions and direction changes to try to keep her paying attention and she did start to soften. I am really excited about Desire as a trail horse, she seems to really have an engine under her and her trot is SMOOTH. Its really bizarre to be jamming around the arena at speed and not being popped out of the saddle like Blaze. Hooray for that! I rode Desire in my western saddle as my panel saddle doesn't fit her well in her current, shall we say "plump" state.
It was a good session over all and we got done around 9, just as it was getting dark. Its kind of nice that the horses are just out on pasture and not on a hay schedule right now, I feel less guilty pulling them in the evening to ride since they have been eating all day and not just then getting to eat a hay dinner. I hosed Desire off as she was super warm and sweaty where the saddle had been and it was still warm as dark was falling. It was about 90 degrees here today, hence not starting to ride til 8 pm!
Hooray for my horse girls! We'll be ponying on down the trail soon. Oh, and Blaze's deathly slow nag walk will come in handy to pony the baby in the future, she will be able to keep up with him just fine (if not outwalk him)! Haha!