Our friend Kyley DiLuigi from the Painting Pony blog shares the story of how she spent a recent snow day with her three Chincoteague ponies.
From Kyley via the Painting Pony blog:
Finally this past weekend I got a chance to do something I’ve been waiting to do for a while now! With some snow that stuck around long enough for me to enjoy it I lugged one of my snow tubes to the farm to go sledding with the ponies!
We rigged up a makeshift harness with an old breastplate and an elastic wrap to keep it tied around their middle. Now if your horse is already accustomed to pulling a cart then pulling a sled isn’t much different, however none of our ponies have ever pulled a cart.
Having already exposed all three of our Chincoteagues to dragging objects behind them (old grain bags, tarps, etc.) we figured they’d probably take to pulling a sled too. Boomerang was the first pony we brought out because he’s probably the most laid back and willing.
All it took were a few clicks and rewards to reinforce him for pulling the sled (which I did by walking on the ground with him first) and he pretty much knew the drill.
Eventually I hopped on him bareback and asked him for more. Pretty soon he was cantering around happily–in fact he was so OK with it that we eventually broke out the snowboard, too!
I love how the clicker training I use with my ponies has prepared Boomer so well to try anything. When I reward him for his efforts he’s so willing to give me all he can–positive reinforcement goes a long way!
Minnow was next and despite being a little cautious about the sled at first he was very willing to pull along a passenger. Minnow will always try his heart out for me, and I had no doubt he’d be willing to pull the sled if I asked him.
Blitz took a turn with the sled too, and my mom even hopped on him bareback (something she hadn’t done since she had her accident while riding bareback with him several years ago).
We had so much fun that now we have something to look forward to the next time it snows!
Have you ever been sledding with your horses?
Thanks for sharing, Kyley! Check out the Painting Pony blog to keep up with all of her latest adventures with Boomerang, Minnow and Blitz.
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