Tuning Up the Poet Pony
Poet has officially been my horse for almost two weeks, and I’m pretty sure he thinks this is the strangest summer camp ever. Early on in this adventure, I told my trainer that he was going to hate me before he loves me. While hate is probably too strong of a word, he’s given me the side eye more than once like, Hey lady are you sure about this? I just keep telling him that if he’s a brave boy who listens, he’ll have the best forever home an OTTB could ask for.
Early last week, the vet came out for vaccinations and worming. During that visit, he took a look at Poet’s teeth and determined they should be done sooner than we thought. So we had the dentist out the next day, and discovered that surprise! He still had his wolf teeth.
The dentist got those out, although had to dig for them a bit versus a super simple extraction. Poet got to rest for a few days, and having just had my wisdom teeth out as I type this (I am so unhappy. This is terrible), I can certainly empathize with poor baby horse’s mouth.
While he recovered, we’ve been resuming work slowly. Right now it’s all about groundwork. No biting, no pawing, no running people over when you want to look at someone. The name of the game is teaching him to respect our personal space. Of course he’s not perfect, but he’s getting a lot better. Every time I go out, I see improvement. Baby dinosaur is not dumb.
In the round pen he’s learning voice commands with lunging and that shuffling around is not acceptable. Currently, his two favorite speeds are extremely slow or bucking/galloping. So he’s learning that yes, there is an in-between. With my trainer, he’s starting to listen like a champ. I don’t get the results she does (that’s why I pay her the big bucks), but I’m getting there.
My goal right now in the early stages is to be consistent yet kind in my boundaries with him, and remove any physical reasons why he might say “no” to our work requests. The teeth will help for sure, but I’m also getting him scheduled for the chiropractor, looking into joint support and made an appointment with a saddle fitter. I want him to love his new job and find it easy peasy, but know he won’t if something is off.
If I’m being honest, and y’all know I typically am, I vacillate between being over the moon excited and extremely anxious. The first two weeks have revealed the reality of buying a baby Thoroughbred. It’s one thing to logically understand, Okay yes here goes a grand adventure that will have some low moments but hopefully work out okay! It’s another thing to physically start that adventure.
The adjustment from Simon to a baby dragon isn’t easy. Even though Simon wasn’t perfect, I could predict his every move. Poet is a whole new ball game. In some ways, it’s way better. I pulled his entire mane after I lunged him the other day, and he stood there quieter than Simon ever would have. Other days, I’m dodging him trying to bite my arm.
I do love being a horse owner again. Something deep inside me feels fulfilled again. I don’t know why I can’t satisfy that feeling with lessons or leasing, but it doesn’t feel the same. Going out to the barn to care for my creature, brush out his tail and work on our agenda for the day feels right. Even though he’s a baby dragon at times, I feel complete again.