The Tale of Ponying a Smart Horse, in Two Photos

Our horses tend to be like us.  It rains, we want to be in shelter with food handy.

Walking around?  I don’t remember that being a winter requirement.  Don’t touch the blanket. Are  you nuts, it’s cold.  Um, can I have some more hay?

Ponying is a good way to add in extra  movement without adding extra workout.  The first time I ponied Dinero in the arena, I did walk/trot warmup with both horses, before I tied him securely to a post.  Hudson and I went off to do our regular workout.  I noticed Dinero must have an itch.  As we leave, he starts rubbing his head on the post.


He was unbuckling his halter.  Note the “quick release” knot on the post. Why bother untying yourself when you can remove the halter?

Hudson, below, ticked that Dinero gets to eat grass and knock around while he has to work.

You’re toast, Dinero.  I am SO telling…

I get off, retrieve the halter, catch Dinero, walk back to the post, tie him up again, this time with the end of the halter tucked under the buckle, so it can’t be rubbed open.

As we trot off, I look back.  Dinero is quietly tossing his head up and down.  A fly must be bothering him.  He’ll live.

I set Hudson up in a bigger trot rhythm, counting and looking down (I know, I know) to see if I’m keeping the pace.  Which is partly why I don’t notice, until we turn the corner. Dinero has flipped the entire loop of lead up off the post, and is making his way back to that tasty spot of grass, head held high so the lead won’t drag.

Now Hudson is really miffed.

At least I don’t have to get off.  We walk over to Dinero, who looks up with “who, me?” innocence.  I lean over and snag his halter, working my way down to the lead while Hudson feints an air-snap show of annoyance near Dinero’s face.

Dinero looks at him mildly.

You’d do the same thing.  You know you would.

I drop the reins on Hudson’s neck, and cue him to turn around and walk back to the tying spot, using both hands to try and unknot Dinero’s lead.  It’s a puzzle.  How did he make such a glob out of a quick release knot?  Hudson is all over wanting Dinero tied up again, so it’s easy to cue him with my seat.  I’m still teasing out the tangle when I ask Hudson to push Dinero sideways against the rail, so I can tie him again.

This time, I tie him to a rail, not the post. As we trot off, Dinero, defeated, cocks his hoof. He’s completely unperturbed.

I think his eyes are closing.


He sure knows how to irritate Hudson.

They make me laugh. Half the fun of ponying is getting to watch the horses bicker like little kids.    Especially after I switch out.  Then I’m riding the horse that had already been ponied, and leading the horse I’d ridden: Who Doesn’t Have To Work As Hard As YOU, HA Ha…I win!

7 thoughts on “The Tale of Ponying a Smart Horse, in Two Photos

  1. I love it! I miss riding. I brought my helmet and boots to Thailand thinking I’ll find a stable and ride more cheaply. Instead, it is more expensive because everything/one is imported. I’m moving to the UK next. You can bet my boots and helmet are on the shipment bound there, not storage.

  2. Can I just say how freakin’ jealous I am because your arena footing is not a freakin’ swamp!!!! And it doesn’t even have a roof and 8 million yards of French Drains and a barrel every 20 feet struggling to keep up with the sogginess?



    I’m fine now.

    Your story was nice.

    Can I come live with you? Please? I promise not to squelch on the furniture.

    1. Whoops, sorry, these pictures were from July. I was sort of talking about ponying, and free-associated into Dinero’s Grand Escape.

      Currently, our outdoor arena is a horseshoe sucking mud swamp, dotted with pretty glassy pools. And it’s a sand arena on a hill, with good drainage. Go figure.

      But squelch over. Of course you can come live with me! I’ve got hot beverages, donuts, and we can use the indoor. It will stay in good condition until the first sideways rain storm. It has a metal roof, and rain curtains on the worst side. The only time it’s truly unusable is during a hail storm. The noise on tin makes the horses CRAZED. Lightening and thunder? Wind whipping the curtains? Fine. Hail? You’ll be killed.

  3. I *knew* the minute I saw the first photo that he was gonna pop the lead off the top of that post. 😀

    Try OVER the rail on one side, UNDER the rail on the other. Still safely secured to the post, no pop-off trick. 😀

    1. Brilliant. Will do.
      Normally, I would never tie a horse to a pipe rail (so easy for a horse to bend a pipe, then you have to replace the entire panel) but Dinero is so….chill…I let laziness overtake me. I’d have to get off to tie to the post beneath the rail. Hudson’s tall!

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