Advice for a total horse novice! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 65 Old 09-18-2011, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
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Advice for a total horse novice!

We have recently taken on a 15 month old shetland x 'gypsy cob', piebald pony.

He is entire and we have been told to get him gelded.

First question - if this pony is to be a lead rein pony for my 4 year old to plod along on, will he definitely need to be gelded?
There are NO other horses around him at all and he appears to have a steady temperament.

We have only had him a week and at first he had a biting problem in that he tried to nip quite a lot.

We have started to break him of this habit but still have a long way to go I think.

Other than that he is pretty **** good at doing what we ask him.

He can walk on, trot on, lunge a bit, stand and pick up so we can work on his hooves. NOTHING spooks him. He is very confident around kids, dogs, traffic, everything.

If we can cure his biting habit do you guys think he sounds as if he could be ok left entire?

I have some videos of him here:

and ... I am really sorry to go on as I know I have a lot to say and ask.. but any advice would be really really appreciated.

We want to do the right thing and land up with a happy, well behaved pony.

He eats hay and has 1 hour grazing per day.
We groom him twice a day.
For 1 hour we try to train him by way of trotting him up and down, walking him on 2 leads and sometimes try lunging with him.
If he goes to bite we say 'shhhh!' loudly and make him do something like 'walk back', take a step back and/ or walk him in a circle.
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post #2 of 65 Old 09-18-2011, 11:40 AM
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You should definitely have him gelded, sorry.

If he is not breeding quality and you don't have plans and the facility to breed him, he should not be left intact.

And stallions are not suitable children's mounts, period. At some point sexual instincts and behavior will override training;no matter how good and thorough, and you do not want a child in the way when that happens.

At 15 months, this colt is not sexually mature, so you really haven't seen any indication of what his stallion behavior will be.

I'm afraid I have some additional advice that you're not going to much care for, sorry, but please do understand that I have your and your child's best interests at heart.

This pony is not going to be a suitable child's pony for *years*, and also not without some professional training or very experienced handling. I wouldn't put a beginner child on a pony less than 7 or 8 years old and that had had several years of solid undersaddle training. I know you're talking about leading the child on the pony, but the pony can still buck, rear, spook, scoot and bolt on the leading rein with exactly the same dire consequences as if he/she were riding solo.

If you're very attached to this pony and don't want to give it up, go ahead and geld it, and at 3 or so, send it away to be professionally trained. Perhaps lease it to a riding school afterwards to have some mileage put on it.

Then find an older, well broken child safe pony for your child.

ETA: After watching the videos, I am even more concerned. The pony seems to be quite bold, and not very respectful of its handlers. The handlers don't seem to be terribly experienced or have a clear goal or program in mind.

WARNING TO OTHER POSTERS: I suspect this thread is going to provoke some passionate responses among our membership. Please remember the OP came here for help and advice. If you can't give constructive advice in a civil manner, please refrain from posting.
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Last edited by maura; 09-18-2011 at 11:55 AM.
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post #3 of 65 Old 09-18-2011, 11:45 AM
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I agree with maura. What you need is a pony that is around the 17 or older age. Older ponies work great as child mounts.

" Horses are a humans wings."
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post #4 of 65 Old 09-18-2011, 12:05 PM
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Very sound advice from Maura, I very much agree.

Stallions aren't for beginner owners, let alone children. Get him cut sooner than later. Not trying to be harsh but I am also a mom who happens to own 2 breeding stallions. One will be 30 and has had 25+ years of training & miles put on him. My daughter does ride him but only in the confines of the indoor arena and with no other horses present. He's never done anything untrustworthy in his life but the drive of a stallion is always there and they have minds of their own. With proper training and handling by someone experienced they can be great. I prefer stallions myself but would never reccomend a novice owner having a stallion.

If you have hopes of him becoming a mount for your children he will need a lot of training and miles put on him by a knowledgable horse person. This would mean years down the road before he would be suitable.

I'd strongly consider finding a been there, done that pony more suitable to what your needs are.
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post #5 of 65 Old 09-18-2011, 12:15 PM
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I'll agree with everyone else, he needs to be gelded ASAP.

I also kind of agree with everyone about an older been there done that pony for a kiddies first pony, but what matter more than actual age is the mental age.

I have come across a few ponies who where just born laid back and you could trust them as soon as they were broke, but they are few and far between.

Where your children are concerned there should be no question marks
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post #6 of 65 Old 09-18-2011, 12:34 PM
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Agree with others. Also, with such a young horse it would be a good idea to exercise him in an enclosed area away from cars. If he escapes (very easy on a lunge line) he can easily get his legs tangled or otherwise get very injured. Also when doing activities like that always wear gloves, boots and a helmet. Even though he is small if you get your hand tangled in that rope and he takes of he could still drag someone.

I don't know what the two rope running is supposed to achieve but I don't think its a good thing to do in these circumstances. At his age I wouldn't really be doing lunging and stuff like that, just regular handling, while just leaving him in a paddock to grow up with other horses. Then when he is three I'd send him off to be started and trained - but as others have mentioned it is unlikely he would be suitable as a child's pony for a while.

Also, is it legal to do things with a horse so close to houses on public land?
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post #7 of 65 Old 09-18-2011, 01:32 PM Thread Starter
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I can appreciate your concern and posted the videos of Ike being handled by older children because the truth is, this is what we have been doing with him during his first week here.

He is allowed on the common which you can see in the one video and 'the green' where you can see the houses.
There is no problem with him being there.

Spook wise - as I said, he does not react to anything. Very steady in that respect. I accept that this is still something I should pay attention to but horses have been grazed on that green for some time.

My thinking behind trotting him up and down was simply to allow him some exercise and he does not have a private paddock to run around in, and also for a bit of enrichment as I was concerned that he might get very bored without plenty of interaction.

I have felt very nervous about letting the children handle him but he appeared to tolerate it very well. I have however stopped anyone other than myself and my husband from having control of Ike because it stands to common sense, even to a complete novice such as myself, that this horse is not only powerful (however small) but he clearly knows that the youngsters are not 100% confident.
I understand that I am responsible for the welfare of Ike and the children so therefore they will be allowed to help grooming but will not be allowed to walk him without myself or hubby.

Can anyone suggest what we 'should' be doing to keep Ike amused and does he 'need' any form of exercise?

We were told that he would be suitable for riding with our 4 year old son when he was about 2 and he would be able to learn to pull a cart at aged 3.

Glad we asked questions on this forum and thank you for your tolerance
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post #8 of 65 Old 09-18-2011, 04:40 PM
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Luce, the horse should be gelded, asap no question.
When the spring returns next year, your fella will be full of the joys of spring even if his bits have been removed.

Secondly a small horse is no large dog. If you are to keep this animal for the longer term then each of you must start to learn about what it means to control a horse. So you need some professional advice on a regular basis.

As for pulling a cart - if you live in Gt Britain - as the photos suggest then the horse must be 100% under control and that doesnt come naturally it comes through training.
You'd better get a move on with the training , the little chap has already got the idea that he is the boss and he is probably right.
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post #9 of 65 Old 09-18-2011, 05:09 PM Thread Starter
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hi - to be fair you have not seen any footage of me or my husband with the pony.

Now that I am getting an albeit crash course in horse behaviour, I will no longer be allowing the kids to handle Ike whether they are experienced and have their own horses or not.

I believe a better tack will be for us adults to handle him until he is much better trained.

We are by no means new to animal keeping and are very, very experienced with a wider range of species than you could imagine .. BUT, we are new to horses.

Having kept one for just a week we need all the help and advice re training a young horse as you can give.

I appreciate it must seem frustrating to you experienced folk but we all have to start somewhere and as for the welfare of the pony, he is certainly better off than where he was before.

If I have to forget him becoming a lead rein pony for my 4 year old then so be it. We are commited to doing what is best for Ike and first and foremost, would like to know that we are going in the right direction to training and keeping him happy and content.
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post #10 of 65 Old 09-18-2011, 05:25 PM
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I agree with the others, he will not be a leadline pony for your 4 yo and time soon. You should definitely invest in a trainer and start doing ground work with him as he seems to already be pushy. Also the gelding thing do it right away. next order, spooking, no matter how 'unreactive' he seems there is absolutely no garuntee that something won't scare him and make him take off resulting in someone or himself being hurt so I wouldn't take him anywhere till you have full control of him, just my two cents.
Good luck.

just a small town girl with a big town dream :]
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