How can I keep the ride enjoyable for my daughter? - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 26 Old 04-09-2011, 04:55 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, I agree. That's pretty much where we are at. Would hate to part with him now, but it's a matter of ability. It is becoming more and more clear that he may not have the ability to go through the levels with my daughter, but I would rather have him restarted, and schooled properly, than just give up on him. I don't know.
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post #22 of 26 Old 04-12-2011, 06:37 PM
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Wow, do you have a tough decision. It seems like it might be a quit while you're ahead scenario. There's always the danger that if you send him away for retraining he will still not respect your daughter when he comes back. And you are afraid he can't go up the levels with her, which means you'll probably be selling him in the future anyway. Perhaps it's better to sell now and start over with a better match.

I will say though, that it took a full year for me to fully understand and appreciate my horse and be able to canter correctly on him. He was a better horse than my riding level at first, and so it was a hard year. I had to soften my hands. I also found out that the French link snaffle, which I thought was as kind as I could get, was driving him crazy. Went to a rubber snaffle and he was so much happier. Now I can ride him in a big fat eggbutt snaffle and that is OK with him, but only becuase I've been learning a lot. I was definitely ready to give up with this horse, but I am happy that I did not. I did the ground work, earned his respect, fixed the tack, changed his supplements, and ultimately am in love with my horse. But I am an adult and was commited to doing all that.

If you want her to really have fun, and not be frustrated and anxious, it's probably better to get an older well schooled horse (or pony) and just enjoy him/her and learn the basics.

The other thing to consider is that unless you can bring pony and kid to your new trainer weekly, your daughter may learn a lot of bad habits trying to control this pony, which she will then eventually have to unlearn.

Good luck. Tough decision.
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post #23 of 26 Old 04-13-2011, 10:28 AM
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After reading through this, I'm not surprised at the advice you got from the trainer, because I too was thinking that it sounds like for all intents and purposes the horse isn't broke. By that I mean that he doesn't know what basic aids are and to the extent that he may know them, he doesn't know he needs to listen unless he wants to.

Believe it or not, this isn't difficult to fix, but it won’t happen overnight. Basically, your daughter (with the help of a good trainer) needs to install the breaks, the power steering and the clutch. The horse needs to learn what a direct rein means, indirect rein, leg pressure (go vs laterals, etc). It sounds like that lesson she had was a good start!

If he is clever and Mattie is diligent and doesn’t get impatient or rush you’ll start to see results in a matter of weeks. Does that mean you’ll have a made pony at that point – no – but you should at least have basic (direct rein and leg) steering, a whoa, a working half-halt and the fundamentals of light contact in a training level frame a at a walk. From there, you can start to add some laterals as a way of teach in indirect, inside leg/outside rein, light contact at a trot and a stretch at the walk. The training will progress from there, probably at a pretty fast rate, once the horse has figured out the basics. You can probably be where she wants to be in a matter of 3-6 months. It’s amazing what having a common language can do to aid in the training of a horse. J

Mattie will need an instructor to help her with this, but if she is interested and willing, she’ll finish by having a great bond with a horse that she made herself and she’ll be able to do this with any horse she gets moving forward. If she doesn’t want to do it, you can send it for retraining, but Mattie will still have to learn all the cues the trainer teaches the horse, so don’t expect a fast fix. Unless all Mattie wants is a made pony she can play around with, or the pony has shown signs that it is dangerous, getting rid of the pony would seem unnecessary, especially if, as you say, you both love the pony. Far better to put time and effort into training - then at the very least, if the pony doesn’t work out long term, you can sell it for a decent price and buy something more in line with what Mattie wants – and hopefully this time, with the help of a trainer who can point you in a better direction.

P.S. I just realized that Mattie is 9 when I was thinking she was about 12 or so! That could make a big difference both in ability and patience! In that case, you might need a trainer to do this for you or have someone who can give your daughter a lesson, then supplement with one or two training rides a week if you don't want to send the horse off for training.

Last edited by PoohLP; 04-13-2011 at 10:38 AM.
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post #24 of 26 Old 04-13-2011, 10:32 AM
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As for bits, once the teeth are done, I agree you should play around with different snaffles. My boy hates egg butts and hunter dees, but loves his western dee. Even the mouth material can make a difference. I tried a hunter dee that was sweet iron with copper inlay and he hated it, but the one that is just sweet iron he loves. And of course, I can't find another like it to save my life, so my trainer may never get her bit back . Bleh!! :p
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post #25 of 26 Old 04-13-2011, 03:52 PM
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Interesting situtation, & thoughtful posts. I vote to get the kid something more "made", because she's only 9 years old, unless your kid is super mature, super passionate about training her own horse already, & believes that no other horse can replace this one in her heart. I'd ask her these questions, for big help with your final decision.

Wonderful that you got the lowdown plus a very fruitful lesson from a nhs trainer!

I'm sure that if you decide to sell him, that you'll find the best forever home for him; as you've said that you hate horses being turned over like used cars, so we can all feel good should you decide to let him go.

Let us know what you decide!
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post #26 of 26 Old 04-13-2011, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks again to everyone for their wonderful advice and insight. Boy am I on learning curve this month! It's been great, though, because I had really hit rock bottom, thinking we had a lemon and it was all going to be a disaster. After last night's ride, I'm starting to see what PoohLP was talking about. Both horse (Mattie, 12yrs ;) ) and rider (Mikayla, 9) communicated brilliantly. He did try his usual evasive tactics, but she sat her bum in the saddle and held him in place, and he gave up very soon and didn't try again all evening.
The others were doing a jumping competition, but she decided to just work him in the warm up ring as he refuses jumps. We had some NHS guidance from another rider and she learnt how to give him a command, rather than make a request - BIIIIG difference :)
* no inappropriate grazing or evading direction - one reign stops and insistent pressure worked brilliantly
* Mikayla kept a soft, quiet reign and a firm leg with no kicking
* walking quietly over a teeny jump without even looking at it (our friend had him popping over a bigger one nicely, too, just to get him going)
* trotting around without heading for 'homebase' at the car - even trotting toward the car, turning at the trot and going back the other way without a fuss! wahoo!

Northern - your questions about love and commitment to training have been at the center of all my dilemmas with this pony and we talk about where we are at with each step, be it forward or backward. She is only nine, but she's more than that in many ways and has what it takes to stick with it, but only if she wants it. Last night pretty much sealed it for her. If she can get him moving forward like that, then each ride is an improvement and she has more and more confidence that she can lead him through these issues. Of course she just loves him so much more after each successful ride, that the more success we have, the harder it will be to part them. Not a bad thing, but it's a commitment for the long haul, I realise that.

Oh, and she had misplaced her new bridle last night, so she rode in the bitless!

We have contacted the dealers and let them know our issues. I am hoping they will step up and take him back for some more schooling, since I wasn't given his full history in racing and restarting when I asked. But my husband is taking care of all that.
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bitless riding , natural horsemanship , respect

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