Welcome to Pony Heaven: Daystar Farm is a 500-acre enterprise: 250 acres in hay and 250 amazing acres of grazing including rich river bottom, timber stands, rolling hills, and watered meadows with creeks and ponds. Our Connemaras think nothing of deer, wild turkeys, fox, even the occasional bear. They are visited by tractors, four wheelers, riders, kids and grandkids. Can you think of a better start for your trail or cross country partner?
Our ponies grow in a natural herd setting, exposed to weather and becoming hardy and healthy. After all, geographically speaking, Connemara is on the western Atlantic coastline of Ireland, and this is the breed that thrives there! We give them time and a proper setting in which to mature. Did you know that the last joints in your horse's body to finish developing are those in the spine? It can be hard to resist getting on them as youngsters because, well, we all want to! But our ponies are allowed more time to really build and strengthen their bodies. They are ready to be saddled, ridden, trained and campaigned by you. They are set up for longevity and soundness by virtue of their upbringing.
Our method is to bring two to four ponies up from pasture. They are tucked in up by the house, handled every day, and learn at their own speeds. Our training goals are organized into 30, 60 and 90 day objectives, with plenty of leeway for weather, staffing, offsite opportunities and pony preferences. We are preparing the most important equine partner you may ever have in your life, and that is an honor as well as a responsibility. We want our ponies individually placed in a healthy setting with the right person. They are prospects, ready for more intense training in the discipline of your choice.
We use a John Lyons-based round pen method for starting our horses and ponies. They learn respect for personal space, moving off of pressure, trailer loading, standing tied, and all the other baby basics with this method which allows them to think and choose. They become more reliable, calmer and more willing partners in our opinion. We help this happen by making the right thing easy, and the wrong thing hard. They learn to stand quietly at a mounting block. It seems so simple, but a horse without this skill can be a trial! They accept a surcingle and saddle pad, and will therefore be simple to start under saddle. They learn in-hand manners, yielding both fore and hind quarters, backing, and standing square. They learn to march purposefully in hand, in a relaxed manner swinging through the back and reaching under without tugging by the handler. Lastly, we introduce them to the long lines, both in the round pen and around the farm a bit, providing a chance to learn good brakes and steering before a rider ever mounts. They are true green prospects, ready to fulfill their potential!
When they are ready, and when we have a rider on staff, our ponies hack the farm alone and in company. We trailer out to local schooling shows, hunter paces, and judged trail rides, and try to expose them to a variety of riders. We support our community by including charitable causes in these venues whenever possible. To date, for 2021, we do not have a rider on staff, and are focusing on the ground work preparation stage.
Our ponies are registered with the American Connemara Pony Society. They have been microchipped, DNA and hoof wall tested, vaccinated, wormed, and received dental and hoof care. Their pedigrees can be found on www.allbreedpedigreequery.com In many cases, their parents are on the premises as well! These are our family members and we find it hard to sell them.... We want them as well prepared as possible to establish their value and place in your family, and to stay healthy and sound as you enjoy them.
In the roundpen with Dan Duis today is Daystars Silver Shadow, aka "Clapton". He's learning to turn and face Dan when he's invited; to stay away when he is not invited, and to stand still when he is approached. Notice how many opportunities he is given to think, to choose, and to try again! This method is a slow start, but in the long run is actually faster and produces a better result. (Video coming soon)
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2Pet1:19...the morning star rises in your hearts”