A friend sent me this video “Meet America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred”.

It was so refreshing to see someone doing the things we do with our horses!

The video of the winner’s freestyle appears way down on the page in the link below. The competition’s winner, Lindsey Partridge, lives in Pontypool, Ontario which isn’t all that far from here.

The video shows Lindsey riding through a child’s wading pool. We used wading pools as puppy boxes. After our last litter I gave ours to Cassie who lives on our farm. She used it as a splash pool for her Border Collie. I asked if I could borrow it for the horses and she laughed. Turns out her dog dragged it around the backyard and there are many tiny holes in it. So, it’s time for it to find a new job. And, you guessed it, the child’s wading pool is now in the arena. It’s our newest TOY!!!

This morning I introduced Spring Song to it. I walked through it (she was at liberty) and tried to get it to make as many obnoxious noises as it was capable of. Spring Song stayed close by. I dragged the pool around and she followed me. I put some treats in the pool and she ate them AND placed one hoof in the pool. She did retract it. In doing so the pool made NEW noises and she didn’t shy away.

Later in the morning I introduced Zelador my thoroughbred horse to it. I walked through it, placed treats in it and pushed it around. He had no problems with this new toy. He walked into it at liberty, then decided to leave it moving sideways. Tons of noise, no problem for Zelador and a lovely cross-over of his front and hind legs. I then called to him and asked him to walk through it. He loved it. My next request was for him to put his front feet in the pool and leave his hind feet out. From this position I asked him to move his hind legs to the side, resembling a turn on the forehand. His first response when I turned towards his hind legs was to offer the piaffe. Hmm…hadn’t thought of that! I asked for the lateral movement and he politely moved sideways with his hind legs. Our instructor, Alex Reinfels, was with me and we agreed that Zelador could probably stand with all four feet in the pool and piaffe.

One thing I really enjoyed in Lindsey Partridge’s freestyle video is how she used a piece of equipment many different ways. I’ve always figured: since I’ve brought the toy into the arena I might as well get as much out of it as I can. Lindsey’s approach to the two parallel poles produced four variations.

With the winter months looming ahead I’m really looking forward to playing with the horses at liberty. We’ll try spelling, painting, learning words, playing with the pool, continuing the piano lessons AND, when the weather permits, we’ll even ride the sweeties!