Desperate advice needed for a napping and planting pony - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 06-16-2013, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
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Desperate advice needed for a napping and planting pony

Hi, before I begin, please take the following factors into consideration when replying:
Mischief is a 12 year old, 13.3 new forest pony. He belongs to the stables I work at on the weekends and I ride him most frequently. I've been riding him for the past 7 years and I've ridden for a total of 11 years. Mischief is unshod but occasionally suffers from laminitis, which is carefully controlled and hasn't been a problem since around November. He is ridden in a plain, wide cavesson noseband and a plain eggbutt snaffle, and a Synthetic GP Saddle. He's a little tubby, but not quite 'show condition'. I also ride him with a long dressage whip to encourage forwards movement.

The problem with Mischief is that he plants / naps. He will, although grudgingly, walk and trot if he's following another pony within about 4 metres maximum. He doesn't move when in open order, maybe as he is used to the riding-school kids-lessons routine? He will willingly jump and canter without a leader. He will also walk when in closed order by himself.

When he naps / plants, he stops and when kicked moves backwards and spins. He is short necked so keeping a really good contact when he moves back is difficult. Then, when tapped with the whip he will kick out backwards or sideways or buck. If he's chased by the instructor with a whip then he sometimes suddenly lurches and 'broncs' up in the air. He also shakes his head to try and resist contact. He is an angel on hacks, but will not walk by himself through a gate. However he will shut gates happily.

I'd like someone to tell me which it is, or a mixture of both, and also if anyone has advice on how to ride him through it? Thanks
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post #2 of 7 Old 06-16-2013, 09:40 PM
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If his feet are hurting that could be causing the problem.

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post #3 of 7 Old 06-17-2013, 03:35 AM Thread Starter
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He regularly sees a carrier and is fine on hacks and jumping so at the moment I don't think they are the problem, but what could be done if they are?
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post #4 of 7 Old 06-17-2013, 09:13 AM
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If he is jumping willingly, I think you are correct in thinking that it is not likely that his feet are the issue.

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post #5 of 7 Old 06-17-2013, 12:03 PM
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If feet were hurting pads will help.

So when he plants (i.e. stops going forward) use spurs and get him to move his hind legs. Do NOT use spurs for forward, rather ask him to work harder and do things like turn on the forehand, turn on the haunches, leg yields - i.e. you get him crossing his front and/or hind legs - so when he stops all of a sudden he has to work harder by doing lateral work.

It's hard for a horse to rear, stand still, buck, etc... when they are 'crossing their legs' - so when he tries to take a break by stopping, instead make him work MUCH harder by incorporating lateral work.

My one mare decided to be silly one day - she didn't want to walk past a gallon milk jug on the ground. So we backed past it - several times in both firections. Pretty soon she volunteered to walk past it normally, as that was much less work than backing past it.
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post #6 of 7 Old 06-17-2013, 01:14 PM
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A little barn sour is he? How do you like being outsmarted by a pony? It always made me want to figure out something to give me the edge on smarts.
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post #7 of 7 Old 06-17-2013, 02:27 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, he is quite good at turns on the forehand etc. and I hadn't thought of that! Also, basically the yard may be closing in 6 months, and if it does then I'm going to take him as my own horse so could do more of that sort of thing! It's really irritating when he gets away with things. I went through a period of riding him with spurs over winter, however he then went through a phase of bucking going into canter, so I assumed they were the problem, but perhaps not :)
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