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Standards Equine

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If you follow along over in the driving-time thread, you might recall me reporting about driving time that didn't count because it wasn't with a mini. Well, I'm going to have plenty more driving time that doesn't count in the future because I brought home a not-mini. Unless 44" counts... I brought home the Hackney pony I drove with my friend.
Phillippe my mini donkey and Jasmine my mini horse now have a new BIG brother. His name is The Speculator LF, he's a retired pleasure driving gelding and is a breed-circuit veteran. My friend has done loads with him after his breed-show career to help him relax and decompress. We plan to continue that path and help him gain confidence in a world that's about to get a whole lot bigger! This fancy boy is destined to be my new CDE pony and hopefully pull double duty as a kids' pony. We tried him out with a small rider last weekend. Although not technically broke to ride, he took a rider with a bit of support and no blinders just fine.
I see a lot of clinics and tagging along with the littles in his near future. I'm looking forward to him coming out of the "fire-breathing dragon" mind set into "Puff the magic dragon" mind set. Adventures with kids, and lots of fun to be had!
We took Jasmine with us to pick him up so they'd get to know each other in the trailer. upon arriving home, she promptly presented in heat and decided she had a new boyfriend. Phillippe's nose was out of joint but he's not very brave. He followed from a distance while the new guy investigated the paddock, but would run and hide behind his buddy Toast if he felt challenged. Toast is like a tiny appaloosa, he's a boarder, doesn't belong to us, but currently he has the biggest attitude about having competition for Jasmine's affections.

Anyways, I'd kind of like to change his name. Not his registered name, but his stable name and show name. He's gone by "Spec". It's ok, it just doesn't feel like the right name. I'm also thinking about a show name. Maybe "Falcor" (the luck dragon!) and "My Never-Ending Story"... seems to be the truth!

I'd love your thoughts!
Spec.jpg

Spec et al.jpg
Spec and Ali.jpg
 
Thanks my friends. We're really happy to have him and looking forward to time slowing down so we can get to know each other better. This weekend is our first CDE with the littles. I'm thinking about taking him along to experience the environment, but that might be too much. I'm not sure, and I don't know him well enough to gauge yet. Maybe Sunday.

I think we're naming official. I'll show him under My Never-Ending Story and at home he'll be Falcor. That kind of brave, gentle partnership is what we're after. No more fire-breathing dragon show pony. Now we get to have a relaxed adventure partner for the kids (and me, the big kid...)
 
Well, Falcor (aka Lucky) has settled in very nicely. He's top dog in the mini pen, which maybe isn't saying much, but he gets sufficient feed while keeping the less needy (I'm looking at Phillippe!) out.
Yesterday he had his feet trimmed and we measured him up for his harness. I'm ordering through Harnaise Du Quebec this time. I've seen a lot of their work up here and really like it. The pricing is comparable to what I would be spending with the same manufacturer that I used for Phillippe's set up. We're doing an emerald green highlight, brow and nose band, on black. Very excited to be receiving it so we can properly start back in driving. Our old tire and single tree is waiting for him!
I felt his tail yesterday. Not sure why I didn't before, but I did yesterday during measuring. Guys, THEY BROKE HIS TAIL!!! He can flick it, but it feels totally dead and way too flexible. Such a weird thing. I can't believe that barbaric practice is still done. I'm just sick that he was damaged like that and then expected to "show". No more of that.
I've got him booked for May to go to my favorite trainers to start for real under saddle. Although he's tolerated a young rider, and we expect he will not have any issues being a riding pony, it's only fair to him to have a professional explain what we're wanting from him. Afterall, what's leg pressure???! I expect he's going to enjoy the adventure.

We love him.
 
That is absolutely awful and should be a crime.

Falcor is so fortunate, and so are you! 😊

The new harness sounds beautiful and a lovely contrast to Phillipe’s!
 
I'm not surprised, since he was a show pony, that his tail was "broke". The tail bone isn't actually broken, they cut the tendons on each side in order to create two "breaks" to enable then to wear a tail brace for show. It has to be done young, so there are a lot of pleasure horses out there with cut tails. If the cuts aren't even, the tail will pull to one side or another, or worse if the cuts are too deep. It's not the most awful thing I've heard of being done to show horses, but awful just the same. When I was young I was friends with an older gentleman who had experience with many breeds of horses, and he told me about this practice, and many other things. It just makes me sad.
 
Thank you @Dragon Hill! I'm not exactly sure where/how their tails are damaged, all I understand is it's for fashion, not function. It's unnatural and uncomfortable and completely unnecessary!!! I did find some pictures though... Imagine having your spine pulled 90 degrees backwards from how it wants to lay. This makes gingering look mild!

Thankfully, we will be able to keep him barefoot. I've got a set of Cavellos that will hopefully work well for him out on gravel. He's very low in the heel, long in the toe currently - makes a bigger step... We'll work on putting a foot back underneath him again. I took him out for a half hour of ground drive on Saturday, in the field. He's actually very reasonable and cooperative. I long lined him in lunging circles to see how he'd figure changing directions. Needs work, but he gave it a shot. That's all that matters. I asked to see if I could get a canter in the long reins. Nope, just BIGGER TROT!!!! lol Legs all over the place. Like he thought "I can trot faster with my knees REALLY HIGH!!!" Not what I was wanting, but I recognized his effort to give me something he knew.


Hackney Tail.jpg
 

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This little fella creaks and cracks so much. I'm not sure if he's an average representation of the breed, but I've never felt an animals that's just so flexible! I like to do leg stretches and maneuver their limbs to find out if there's any instability or stiffness anywhere that could need attention. He's very equal on all limbs, but it's amazing just HOW MUCH movement he has! Front and back, those legs and swing inside, out, waaay out front and behind. His lower cervical vertebral bodies are very palpable in the lower third of his neck and he often cracks and clicks in the upper vertebrae when he turns his head. His back is dropped from years of being tied back and run forward.

I've started doing a lot of belly lift exercises, with quick rewards so he doesn't sour from the effort. Hopefully strengthening his abdominal muscles will help his back. It does come up quite a ways when we do our exercises.

I've also gone ahead and bought him a Back On Track head cap. I would imagine that he could have arthritis or tendonitis in his head and C1-2 from his prior life. I popped it on him last night and he seemed to like it.

The harness is ordered. I'm excited for it to arrive. I've ordered this time through a company in Quebec, Canada. I've seen their harnesses on several horses locally in the CDE circuit and quite like their design and composition. We're doing a black granite with emerald green accents on the bridle.

Next up, shopping for a vehicle... He's 11 hh and just a smidge too big to go in my current vehicles.
 
Oooooooh you guys!!!!!!!
I just got the harness in!!!!
It's the NICEST thing I've ever had (for driving for sure!!)

It's absolutely beautiful, so strongly made and the details are marvelous! I've never had quick-release shaft loops before, or trace carriers. I cannot wait til tomorrow when I can put it on the pony. I just won't have time today.

This comes from Equin-Star in Quebec - Harnais de sport - Harnais - Attelage Équin-Star

Next up, the vehicle. It's coming part of a shipment in November. I'm actually fortunate to be getting a consignment cart with skis included. I was hoping to keep with the black and emerald gold colour theme (dragons and all...) but the upholstery on the cart is kind of a creamy grey colour. Not ugly, just not ideal. So I asked if they could possibly swap it out for me as they have about a zillion colours. And they are!!!! I'm buying from Voiture B.P. Carriages in Quebec. It is the Chicoine model. Models Sainte-Cécile-de-Lévrard, Quebec | Voiture B.P. Carriage
But if you're looking for a dedicated sleigh - they're super cool! I've test driven the cart and sat in the sleigh at a friend's place. Really cool stuff.

I can't wait!
Falcor Harness.jpg
 
I didn't have much time last night, but I couldn't resist putting it all on him. Loads of adjustment room for when we put to, but I'm really happy with how it fits him! The tree is fixed but has loads of spring to it. The traces are biothane (granite I think!) over a nylon web core.

@Marsha Cassada Maybe the pictures below will show better. There is a tab on the outside that runs through a loop that holds the loop closed. Pull the tab back out of the loop, the shafts are free to come away. And yes! It's really cool to be able to just pull straps out and set everything together properly!

Falcor moved very well in it. Seemed a little happy, if not saucy, to be in harness thinking about work. Maaaaybe this weekend I'll put him to again. But the tire first!

Falcor Harness 1.jpg
Falcor Harness 2.jpg
 
My old friend the tire and I had a go down the road with Falcor last night. I expected him to have an opinion about the noise of the chain and tire, but he had none. He just went straight to pulling and was quite relaxed and confident. Up on the road we went, down to the neighbor's place. He was a less confident with vehicles passing him, but everyone was very slow and careful, thank goodness. He had a moment when 2 doe appeared on the road (waaaay down the road...) that he thought maybe he should get hot and silly, but came back to business quickly when I took up contact and spoke to him. Deer aren't new, he sees them daily. Just deer when driving are different.
We dragged the tire around the field for a while and practiced halts. Halt is fine as long as it's short lived. The whole idea of standing still seems really pointless to him. Isn't that what a header is for???
This is why we do the tire before the vehicle, despite the fact he has LOADS more driving experience than I do. I want to know all his feelings, thoughts and opinions BEFORE I jump into a vehicle with him.
He's a good little boy and he's learning, despite thinking I'm absolutely out to lunch sometimes!
Falcor Tire.jpg
 

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