I'll give you my Mom's spiel. I went through almost seven ponies in one year when I was five, until she finally
developed a method.
A horse or a pony, DOES NOT MATTER so long as it's gentle, sensible, and SANE! Bring a whip, some of those little white firecracker things, and an airhorn. (Sounds crazy, but trust me.)
1) Fire off all of those things. Maybe the airhorn from a longer distance. Crack the whip, snap off a few firecrackers. This is the redneck way to bombproof, but also to test the stability of the horse. No spookiness.
2) If you have a quad or motorcycle, walk the horse/pony down the driveway and then have someone ride past you and then next to you with it. Works with cars too.
3) Ride away from the herd. Make sure the animal won't freak when his buddies are walking away.
4) Deliberately make mistakes. Pull just a little too hard, give a bit too hard of a kick. Mount awkwardly (accidently kick the rump, toe in the side, etc.) and anything else you can think of. These are all mistakes kids can make.
5) Swing the whip EVERYWHERE. wrap it around the legs and pull it off, swing it over the head, around the rump, etc. Obviously you shouldn't abuse the poor thing but you
need to make sure the horse/pony isn't going to spook at anything in his tail, around his legs, in his ears, etc.
Everyone is going to tell you get a trainer or get them lessons. Please, that is the answer almost everyone can give to almost any question. To me it sounds like a broken record. But if you want a horse you can teach the kids on, you have to do the extreme to make sure the horse/pony is sane, smart, and sensible.
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