Monday, November 5, 2012

Jasper in the Saddle?

The horses had their feet done today by local trainer/farrier Dave. (Sorry about the angle, Dave.) As he was trimming Jasper's feet we got to talking about using the little guy as a saddle horse. I haven't ever tacked up Jasper and rode him, but he was trained to ride and drive before I had him. I like the idea of getting him back in the habit of regular work.

Dave assures me his broad back, strong legs, and sound feet could handle a rider fine. I think it would be wonderful, even if he just ponies along and rides with Merlin and I carrying a friend or a guest on the mountain. Jasper is a 11.2 hands, a small horse for sure, and I have no plans to ride him across the country or even an extended trail ride, but a few outings would be nice. I think might just give it a go!


Blogger Ab said...

Jasper is such a pretty guy!

November 5, 2012 at 12:36 PM  
Blogger Papaw Lynn said...

I thought I would just say that I picked up your barnheart book in the Library yesterday and I must say you truely understand what so many of us enjoy or long for. Fortunately you are only in your 20's and know what you want. There is hope for America!

I really hope you keep writing. I am not much for computers or TV but I would surely ready any books you write.

Papaw Lynn in Indiana

November 5, 2012 at 1:40 PM  
Blogger mdoe37 said...

Love that horse! He will be just proud with a rider!

November 5, 2012 at 1:40 PM  
Blogger Kirsten said...

Listen to the confidence in your voice. Methinks you've learned a lot about horses, riding and yourself this year. Can't wait to read about Jasper's adventures under the saddle. Good luck!

November 5, 2012 at 4:53 PM  
Blogger PansWife said...

Maybe you could use him as a pack horse. He could carry the picnic lunch when you ride out with Merlin.

November 5, 2012 at 6:27 PM  
Blogger PansWife said...

Maybe you could use him as a pack horse. He could carry the picnic lunch when you ride out with Merlin.

November 5, 2012 at 6:27 PM  
Blogger Jimmie said...

Lordy, that Jasper is such a cutie. Bet he'd be fun to ride.

Diane in North Carolina

November 5, 2012 at 6:38 PM  
Blogger beccaWA said...

From the United States Pony Club:

Article 4 – Weight Limitations: The following weight limitations
apply to riders dressed and ready to ride:
• Any rider over 117 pounds in weight may not ride a pony
12.2 hands or under.
• Any rider over 150 pounds in weight may not ride a pony
13.2 hands or under.
• Any rider over 190 pounds in weight may not ride a pony
14.2 hands or under.

Jaspar's too small to ride by anyone but a child, it appears.
There's a US Pony Club? Who knew.

November 5, 2012 at 8:22 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

By those standards, darling, I shouldn't be riding Merlin and his 14 hands! No adult should ride a haflinger then?! Pretty sure Brett's horse is also being mis-used too! And he rode his 14 hand horse 30+ miles a day at times. Thing is, most 14 hand horses aren't drafts. Merlin weighs over half a ton. He's driven me 8+ miles a day and I've ridden him for months without complaint. Well, some complaint but that's him being a pony.

Thanks for looking up online weight limits, but I'm not planning on riding jasper across the wilderness under 200+ pounds of weight every day. Just learning to be comfortable with him, riding him around local trails a half mile or so at a time under a trainers care, and around the farm and seeing if I can trust him in saddle, cart, as well as harness. I don't want a pasture pet. I want another using horse.

November 5, 2012 at 8:38 PM  
Blogger beccaWA said...

Well, obviously Merlin's stocky. I wasn't talking about Merlin, but fine-boned Jaspar. ;-)

November 5, 2012 at 8:58 PM  
Blogger feathers217 said...

If Jasper needs a small rider then it's time for Maria to have another adventure ! She's so tiny but you could duct tape her on ! I bet she would love it after the fear factor disappeared along a beautiful trail.

November 5, 2012 at 10:15 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

He looks like a sweetie.. and that would be GREAT! I'm sure he'd enjoy it. :)

November 5, 2012 at 10:21 PM  
Blogger Ruth Dixon said...

I have ridden Shetland ponies to get them more ride-able for youngsters. Ponies are bred to be an animal that can carry and haul more weight than an animal twice as big. These critters are strong. I rode our Welsh pony who's registered name contained the word "Geode", roughly translated meaning stone. He was just over 12 hands and I was about 130 lbs. We jumped lots of creeks, logs and other obstacles, just for fun. He never showed any sign of discomfort. Wish I lived closer, I haven't gone on a ride in a couple years (sold my Quarter horse cross mare when hay prices got too high).

November 5, 2012 at 10:40 PM  
Blogger Mary Schroeder said...

Ponies are a lot stronger than they look. Although Jasper will probably need some conditioning since he has pretty much been a lawn ornament most of his time with you. I would also suggest lunging or long-lining him while under saddle (drive him with the saddle on - just run the lines through the stirrups. Just to get him back to being used to the feeling of a saddle on his back (tie the stirrups together with a piece of twine so that if he does blow up the stirrups won't flip over his back with the driving lines).
This is all stuff I have done to break in a colt. It works as a refresher too.
Also get him used to you tugging on the stirrups, bouncing next to him etc. Slap the off side of the saddle, shake the stirrups, brush over his rump like your leg might as you get on.
Basically play with him and do as much as you possibly can to get him to blow up. When he does blow up (or if) then you know what you need to work on to get him over that fear.

Or he may be a perfect angel and you ride off into the sunset.

November 6, 2012 at 2:17 AM  
Blogger J.D. Collins said...

I wondered why Jasper hasn't been under saddle. Glad to read he's about to explore the wilds of Washington County. It might be good for him.

Have fun and be safe!

November 6, 2012 at 6:57 AM  
Blogger seagrrlz said...

I agree with Panswife! Using him as a packhorse so he gets to enjoy the fun of a trailride!

November 6, 2012 at 7:24 AM  
Blogger seagoddess said...

I'm scared of horses - even though I think they are such gorgeous creatures. Jasper looks like he would be about my speed to unlock that fear! Maybe one day I could ride with you!

November 6, 2012 at 8:13 AM  
Blogger beccaWA said...

Good idea Pan & sea. I'm sure he'd love to get out on the trails.

November 6, 2012 at 8:27 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I will be working with a trainer and experienced horse folks with Jasper. I won't just slam a saddle on him and ride up the mountain.

I'll document the whole thing here, and I trust my own decisions - and I kindly ask that you guys trust me.

November 6, 2012 at 9:01 AM  
Blogger ladyfarrier said...

11.2 is a *very* small pony. And as pointed out, Jasper is fine boned, whereas Merlin is definitely not. Add in the weight of a saddle and you're asking way too much of Jasper for other than "kiddie pony rides".

The horses back is like a suspension bridge. They can pull much more than they can carry without harming themselves. And as far as "protesting".....unfortunately these wonderful animals don't protest until they are in substantial pain. And then they are chastised for "bad behavior".

It's really kind of unfair to ask a horse to do something he's just not physically built to do. Pick up your saddle, step on the scale, and do the math. How many of your riding friends weigh less than a hundred pounds?

November 6, 2012 at 9:05 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Or, you know, disregard what me and my farrier/trainer think and tell me I'm a dummy....

The internet is fun!

November 6, 2012 at 9:39 AM  
Blogger delpasored said...

Of course, if you listened to all the critics on line, you wouldn't have Jasper or Merlin in the first place. Trust your own judgment and Dave's expertise. So far you have done very well ignoring the peanut gallery.

November 6, 2012 at 10:24 AM  
Blogger Glyndalyn said...

Great idea, Jenna. Give riding him a try.

November 6, 2012 at 10:28 AM  
Blogger rockygrace said...

Well, God forbid your readers try to protect a pony. Jeez ... I'm done reading here.

November 6, 2012 at 10:28 AM  
Blogger high st farm said...

YOU are going to ride Jasper?

Based on the photos you have posted of yourself, that doesn't seem wise.

November 6, 2012 at 10:36 AM  
Blogger high st farm said...

how much does jasper weigh?

how much do you weigh?

November 6, 2012 at 10:37 AM  
Blogger jules said...

Good luck with it Jenna! I'm sure you and your farrier will do your refresher training with wisdom and kindness.

He sure turned out to be a beautiful pony!

November 6, 2012 at 11:28 AM  
Blogger Gayle said...

I bet he is big enough to buck Jenna off.

November 6, 2012 at 11:33 AM  
Blogger Pit Stop Farm said...

I do love reading your blog Jenna and fully respect your courage and determination. I also understand your stubborness, as I too am like a mule. Unfortunately, more often than not when criticism or differing opinions are raised(whether it’s polite or not), you react very emotionally and get defensive. This is a public blog and you’ve got to expect all feedback, be it positive, negative, or neutral. I don’t claim to have any knowledge of horses or ponies, so I can’t chime in. I do believe you care for your animals and wouldn’t just throw a saddle on Jaspers back tomorrow and expect him to be conditioned for such a thing. Others might have mis-read too far into your post.

Like I said, I know nothing about horses so this suggestion on my part might be worthless – perhaps Jasper would be great at pulling carts since you’ve used him before to pull logs and such, and save the saddle for Merlin? Remember, as with soo many other things in life, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. However, maybe he would be just fine for the occasional saddle ride – he might thoroughly enjoy it. I'm not the person to comment on this.

Out of curiosity, how much does Jasper weigh, approximately? I don’t have an understanding of the “hand” measurements.

November 6, 2012 at 11:48 AM  
Blogger Alyssa said...

Ah, nothing like horse posts to get the pot churning :) Keep 'em coming - I think Jasper's adorable, and it's nice to hear bout him!

November 6, 2012 at 12:17 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Dear friends, if you reread what I wrote you can see I have no plans to use him for any extended rides or outings. I would keep Merlin as my riding horse and only use Jasper to pack along guests of proper size and experience, or like some folks suggested, pony along with gear to enjoy the trail and exercise with Merlin and I.

But I am not taking a horse I never rode or trained with out on the trail. I am only considering it because a trusted expert on horses was here, saw and worked with him in person, and suggested it to me.

Sometimes I get defensive here - which I make no apology for. If you're going to accuse me of something without knowing the details, seeing my horse in person, and questioning my care of animals you best be able to handle a terse response in exchange for yours. I'm not running for office, I'm running a blog.

Also, if I decided to get another horse and sell Jasper, i would certainly want to know what I am selling and so would the buyer and parents. Do you think ponies are trained by 10-year-olds? Of course not, adults ride and train them all the time, and that is what I would be doing: short training periods with an expert. on hand. Small ponies were being trained by professionals at Riding Right when I was there, because they want a safe animal for their kids. I would want the same.

November 6, 2012 at 12:44 PM  
Blogger 2 Punk Dogs said...

When we were in Iceland on our honeymoon the trail guides picked out a safe pony for my husband as he doesn't have much riding experience. We call the pictures of him with the pony "a boy and his dog!" He's 6' tall and the pony was fairly small, but it was a great ride, mostly at a walk. Wish I hadn't admitted that I could ride, since my pony was definitely not as well trained!

I'm sure you and Jasper will be fine, especially as the trainer and farrier think he has good legs. Heck, it was the farrier the one who suggested riding him! Have fun!

November 6, 2012 at 12:48 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

Jasper looks so healthy and happy now - you can barely recognize him from the sad little guy who first came to CAF. I hope he works out as a riding horse.

November 6, 2012 at 1:31 PM  
Blogger kaelak said...

Whoa, High St Farm - mean and uncalled-for.

November 6, 2012 at 6:01 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I would just like to make it clear that if I seem bristly in response to you folks, the bristle is only for the few people who where jabbing me about my size and hoping I'd get hurt. Several people emailed me to explain my response wasn't fair because it was defensive. I was being defensive to those people who were out of line. They are who I was refering to in my "running for office" comment.

As for regular reader concern and questions, I welcome them. I apologize if my reponse came across gruff. I wasn't about you. It was me reacting to High Street and Gayle

November 6, 2012 at 6:13 PM  
Blogger KellyV (Kelly the Fifth) said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

November 6, 2012 at 6:20 PM  
Blogger Gayle said...

I am sorry I offended you Jenna. I have been bucked off a 10 hand pony. To me it is just a part of riding. You are so at ease with Merlin. I never had any lessons except from my Grandfather and he always said you aren't a rider until you have been bitten, kicked and bucked off. To me you are a rider and I didn't understand. I am sorry.

November 6, 2012 at 9:53 PM  
Blogger macbew said...

Why are you apologizing? You've nothing to apologize for. beccaWA, high st farm, and Gayle should be the ones apologizing. I agree with Kelly V that if young children can behave, so can adults. If as a child I had said anything like they have the trouble would last until I understood exactly what I did and apologized for it. I'll be 43 in a few months and could not imagine being that person who would be that mean spirited. I don't know a lot about horses but I do know the more you enjoy your horses the more they will enjoy you.

November 7, 2012 at 12:29 AM  
Blogger ladyfarrier said...

Jenna, please understand that my comment about weight + saddle was not a jab at you. There is, if you will, a sort of "formula" for deciding how much weight a horse should be able to safely carry without damaging their back. I was referring to that, and not you personally. I too consider my weight/tack when riding, as a sore-backed horse can be downright dangerous in their pain.

Also consider that a saddle that will properly fit an 11.2 size pony might not fit many adult sized bums .

As a farrier who worked decades sheoing those expensive pony hunters, yes, they are often trained by adults. Pony hunter trainers are usually very petite adults.

But no personal affront was intended.

November 7, 2012 at 9:06 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I wasn't offended by anyone save the people calling me a fatty, and Gayle explained she wasn't hoping I'd get hurt. It's cool. Let's all just move on and I'll be less moody about the internet!

November 7, 2012 at 9:43 AM  
Blogger On Considering Lilies said...

My mother is just about your size from the photos and she would ride my 11.2 trail pony all over the neighborhood when I was a kid. She didn't expect the pony to do long hauls, steep hills or jumps and the pony just loved getting out.

Don't worry about the nay-sayers! You should see what they have to say about non-skinny ladies being pulled in cart by a miniature horse! Or the more common large woman on a delicate arab. Ponies were made for this, and so was your intuition about their behavior and limits :) Tally ho!

November 8, 2012 at 5:27 PM  

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