Friday, June 17, 2011

Jumping For Joy

Yesterday was "well drilling day" at the barn
(our old pump destroyed by lightening,
the old well walls collapsed).

Because of the noise, the horses spent the day out in the pasture...
a little longer than usual.

I had been wanting to work with my tiny mini, Ollie, in the arena.
With jumps set up, I thought it a perfect time for his
first lessons.

Ollie is my 2 year old orphan mini.  We have had him since he was 3 weeks old.
By the time he was a month old, he had jumped a bale of hay to escape his stall,
so I had an idea he might make a great jumper.

Upon arriving at the arena, we surveyed the jumps....

I took Ollie by the lead rope and led him around to look at all the scary things.
Then I took off his lead and let him kick up his heels a bit.
Round and round he ran, avoiding all of the jumps.

After he got that out of his system it was time to work.
Back on the lead, I led him to the cavaletti poles on the ground.
At a slow jog, I jumped over the poles and Ollie followed behind me.
"Jump", I said, and as Ollie neared each pole, he jumped to avoid them.
Each time he jumped the little poles, he received a treat.

Now it was time to try a real jump.
We have a chute set up on one side of the arena with cavaletti poles in an X formation. 
Ollie stared down the chute at those poles.
I could almost hear the wheels turning in his head!

With Ollie on lead, I took off running.... him following on my heels.
Over the poles I jumped.
"Jump!" I said.
Ollie put on the breaks.
We tried it again.
Again he stopped at the poles as I jumped over.
Finally, I showed him a treat from the other side of the poles.
From a dead standstill he jumped...and cleared the poles.
"Good boy!" I sang...and handed him the treat.

"Aha!"....he understood.

Next time down the chute, he hesitated, but jumped.
The third hesitation.
Each jump was rewarded with treats.

Now it was time to try it without the lead rope.
Together we ran down the chute, me jumping first,

Ollie following close hesitation.
"Good boy!"......Treat!!

Ollie was so proud, he was beaming!

Over and over we practiced.
Over and over Ollie jumped...
following me over the poles and around the arena.

Well, almost every time.
At one point he figured out that there was an easier way! treat!

Sam was our audience...
but too tired to try jumping.

"OK, I get it....if I jump, I get the treat!"

I am sure that Ollie had just as much fun as I had!
What an amazing time we had.
For that short lesson period I felt like we were on the same page.
This little mini who misses no opportunity to nip or kick at me
may just end up being my best buddy.

(Orphans have a tendancy towards bad behavior because they have 
no mother
discipline them.)


  1. He is just beautiful, love his color and blue eyes!... I have never jumped my minis, but I have driven them through wooden trails for hours on end, so fun. Have you ever tried driving? I had a very light easy-entry cart until recently.

  2. Ollie is a dear sweet boy. How lucky is he to land at your farm.

  3. Oh how fun for both of you!! We have mini donkeys and never considered mini horses, but they also look like delightful pasture pets.

  4. Bev this is an AWESOME post! What a great job you did of showing him what to do...I can just picture you running and jumping in front of this little guy LOL! Now this is something I'd do if I had a little fellow like this. He's smart and what's even better is that he's willing to do what you ask him! GOOD JOB! I hope you got a treat after all that effort ;) Thanks for sharing this with you had to work fast to get some of those pictures :) Have a wonderful day and weekend!
    Maura :)

  5. What great photos of Ollie jumping! It was neat to see the process of teaching him to jump.

  6. Wow, I love how you captured the lesson of jumping. He is one fast learner and such a smart boy! Good Job Ollie!

  7. That is just incredible...he is just so cute and so that picture of his shortcut!

    I think Ollie needed love and he definately found the right place. I love what you did for him!

  8. I can't believe you were able to take pictures and get him to jump. So cute! We've just started our horses walking and trotting over a pole on the ground. It's fun! Seeing that little guy jump that high makes me think we are being too easy on ours.

  9. That is so great!! Good boy Ollie..and you got a workout too..(a if you need one) What a team you are...
    PS...I don't see a lot of discipline there..looks more like the reward system :)

  10. Smart boy, figuring out how to get on the other side by crawling through. Even smarter, to decide that treats were worth jumping for.
    I'm glad you got something accomplished while waiting for water!!

  11. Love your post today. Ollie looked like he was having so much fun. You've got great "horse sense" helping Ollie learn a new game. I'm sure Sam will want to get in on the fun soon.

  12. Bev I forgot to tell you how sorry I was that your well broke down! Ouch...that's not a minor expense having do put one of those in. At least it will be a new well and a new pump and it should last your lifetime on the farm. I bet you're glad the noise is over! Take care.
    Maura :)

  13. Kids need discipline no matter what species! I'm glad things went well with the training. Maybe Ollie's found his niche!

  14. I'm totally smitten with Ollie, what a quick learner! Love this story and pictures.

  15. Ollie is so adorable! I'm in love! He's a quick learner! Great pics!

    Oh, and glad that the well was being drilled!

  16. Looks like Ollie got the hang of it. Hopefully, he will remember. He's a cutie. Debi

  17. Bev, life on the farm is never dull!
    We just had our own 'event' happen thanx to the diggings of gophers...simply said, big time power issues thanx to the little buggers and their diggings...but thank goodness they did the damage on the Electric Compnay's side of the power box so the Electricity Company did the repair. Whew!
    Sweet Olie,, I remember when he 1st came into your life and you & Jack were talking daily, keeping on top of his progress.....early in his life.
    And now your little guy is getting to be a big boy....
    One of these days I'll be out your way to visit him & the rest of the "gang".


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