The disrespectful pony who wouldn't ): - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 06-06-2011, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
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The disrespectful pony who wouldn't ):

My trainer says ponies are naturally mischievous little creatures. As much as I would love to own my horse someday, right now it is not an option because I am saving up for college. After this summer I will be a senior, and I am really interested in going to one of the more expensive schools.

Currently, I lease a chestnut 18 year old arabian named Batman, one of the best show horses of his age. Not officially :) but in my mind he is. However, the other leaser is making a scene with my trainer (who is his owner) and is demanding she ride him all the time. Now, poor Batman is in his prime, and even if he is quite a hardy horse, he can't be ridden all the time. So, that means because I am not paying a half lease (i have a quarter) i don't get to ride him as much, and i am stuck with the stable's pony, apache, who has some MAJOR, MAJOR disrespect issues. well, maybe i'm over-playing it, as he is quite a small horse (not sure how tall, but his head meets mine, and i'm five foot three)

I'm going to have to give up my lease and find another horse to lease, since the situation is becoming ridiculous.

Anyway, i've been thrown from this little pony three times. he was the first horse i ever fell off of (and i've been riding on and off for nine years) so it wasn't very dangerous. The first time, as you can imagine, i was in tears. But the second and third were easier, and I just grabbed him and got on. I've become more patient with him, but i am still nervous around him, and he KNOWS that! which is the biggest issue. because i am afraid of him, he takes advantage of me, and because i know he could buck me off his back at any time without me being prepared, it makes me even more scared. However, i'm not afraid to fall off anymore (i just didn't want to get wet, because the rain was a mudpuddle), but i need to find some way to be rougher with him.

Batman is the sweetest horse in the world. You can do anything to him and he won't object or give you trouble. I've never dealt with a horse that is such a handful. It's my first experience doing hacks, and we're out there twenty minutes and the pony decides it wants to go home. He hears other horses in the distance and stops, looks around, and tries to go to them. The other day it was raining, and the ring was covered in puddles. Apache kept giving threats every time i tried to go for a puddle, and so i gave up, which wasn't a good idea, but I didn't know how to control the behavior. When we talk down to the ring (there's a trail) he tries to shove me to the side so he can go back up to the barn. He's very powerful for a small horse, and it's quite intimidating. and we're going downhill, and so i end up walking him up and down almost five times before i'm able to struggle my way down to the ring. But when he decides he's done, he starts swerving and backing up, and tossing his head as he moves sideways with his ears back. I am at a loss how to fix this. He's reared and bucked in front of me when i lunge him, but his legs are so short it isn't threatening. What i thought were "hello" nudges are angry, violent thrashes to make me move so he can go to the gate. He's even tried to slam me into the railing of the ring.

I have to ride him until i can find another horse to lease, and because I'm the smallest in my barn, we're stuck together. he really is a charming horse, and i'd love to befriend him, because if we aren't riding and we're alone together, he's fine. i love him very much, but i'm afraid of him, if that makes any sense. it's improved, but if i'm riding him by myself in the rain, he flips out and wants to leave because he's scared. I talk to him, pet him, and tell him he's safe, but we don't have a strong bond.

ANY tips would be encouraged. Thanks!
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post #2 of 6 Old 06-06-2011, 05:52 PM
Green Broke
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I am very sorry you are going through this, it's never fun when a horse is testing us at every corner and making the entire experience unfun. However, it sounds like it's a good time for you to learn about handling these types of horses, especially with you being small and him being small. It can be a lot more intimidating if you encounter a big 16hh horse doing this in the future and have no idea how to correct it!

Be as firm as possible. I am a huge fan of rope halter or a chain under the chin for horses who have ZERO halter respect. I would do some sessions with only ground work - making him walk at your shoulder, halt, back up, and turn away from you. I often will carry a Dressage whip as well to tap the front leg for backing up or turning if they're wanting to bowl you over. The key is being FIRM - don't be afraid of hurting him, nobody is saying you have to beat him, but don't be afraid to give him 2-3 good shanks with the lead if he's refusing to get out of your space and trying to drag you.

In saddle, it sounds like a bit of a confidence issue. It sounds like he's doing some pretty typical horse behavior in refusing to cross puddles or trying to head for home - it's just a matter of again, getting firm. If you absolutely do NOT feel comfortable driving him forward (seat deep, leg on, KICK if you have to or even a crop), then I would dismount and work from the ground so he absolutely does not win.

It doesn't sound like this pony is overly dangerous, but ponies ARE extremely smart and mischievous. They don't tend to be as "honest" and if they can take advantage they WILL. We own the world's most brilliant pony, she's a complete doll, and if a kid starts handling her and doesn't know what they're doing, all her manners go right out a window and she'll drag you all over the place.

You just have to be firm ALL the time about what YOU want to do.

I hope God tells her to smash her computer with a sledgehammer.

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post #3 of 6 Old 06-07-2011, 01:33 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you Macabre! I was hoping someone would teach me how to handle disobedient horses!
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post #4 of 6 Old 06-07-2011, 11:10 PM
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yeah, MM has it right. ONce you have worked with him on the ground, both how he sees you and how you see him will change.
Is there anyone at the barn to whom the pony shows good respect? If so, watch how they intereact with jApache. It may be that they do very little and Apache already behaves. But that is because the relationship was established somewhere earlier and the pone knows it.

If there is a round pen, that would be ideal, but if not, just as MM said, work with leading A and getting him to stay behind you. Make him back up, come forward, step over left and rigth, move hind over left and rigtht.

When you liunge him, if he bucks out at you , just drive him a little harder. Or, ignore it. Do not back away worrying that he is upset so you have to stop. Who cares if he is upset? he will be upset because you will be changing the order of things, and he may not like it at first. let him have his opinion and keep insisting that he do as you ask.
If he barged into me on the trails I would lay the whip between his fron legs , on his chest, so fast and so hard that he would be VERY upset. You cannot afford to be sentimental with an animal that can pin you against the arena wall. Hug and love on him later, but no more letting him rub on you.
If you want to , bring a towel and YOU rub his face, at your choosing and if he steps into you , then drop the towel and stop the nice rubbing.
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post #5 of 6 Old 06-08-2011, 10:46 AM
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From reading your post I gather pony does NOT respect you. Quit trying to be a "buddy" and instead be the "boss mare".

Start on this from the ground. When you lunge him do so with lunge line in left hand and whip in right hand and in a confined area so he can't easily run away. Lunge him with a bit in his mouth and lunge line attached to the bit so YOU have maximum control.

As soon as you ask him to move forward use whip where riders leg would go to push him away from you to end of lunge line. Once he's there point whip towards his butt and open hand holding lunge line in opposite direction - so pony is positioned BETWEEN the hand holding the lunge line and the hand holding the whip. (Always - as you are using your arms to "contain" him). If you are properly lunging him he can't rear since to do that he has to stop, and as soon as he starts to slow you use the whip to push him forward. He also can't buck very well cause if he does you are to use the whip to push him forward faster so it's harder to buck.)

You need to have him lunging correctly AND leading correctly. As soon as you snap on the lead line you hold the lead line with your right hand near the snap (under his chin) with your right hand, and the non-snap end of the lead line with your left hand. You also carry a LONG whip in your left hand. You use the whip to reinforce when you ask him to move forward. Standing at pony's left shoulder you step forward as your right hand move forward. If pony doesn't step forward with you use the whip on his butt (without turning around, hence why whip needs to be long - like a lunge or driving whip).

If at any time during leading the pony he tries to get in front of him you halt, yank down on lead line near snap, then turn (in front of pony to force him to stop) and make him back up 2 steps. One step is NEVER enough - remember YOU are the boss. If he's bad about this then make certain the lead line has a chain and you put chain thru halter loop on left side, over nose, and attach to halter loop on right side. NEVER tie an animal with a chain over (or under) the nose. This (2 steps back when he's not paying attention to you or not behaving properly) is used to get his sttention on YOU - where it belongs. It also establishes your dominance.

OK - say you now have him under control when you lead and lunge him. Now we can (better) move on to the riding part because you have established dominance.

For the "he goes sideways" issue - forward (just like on the lunge line) is your best bet. Don't forget he can't rear if he's going forward so say he swings his head to the right, he most likely is also swinging his butt to the left. The riders left leg BLOCKS the butt swinging. Your legs control his butt, your reins control his head and neck.

So when riding as soon as he "calls" or tries to look at other horses your answer is FORWARD (trot or canter if walking) and add in some circles. What's happening is pony is getting bored so you need to get his mind (like in the back up 2 steps exercise above) on YOU. Say he's walking and sees horses - head goes up. You counter by asking for trot then shortening reins and making certain your hands are out by his shoulders (for more control). No trot? Whip and KICK with legs. Bolts forward when you do that? Great - he listened - allow him to continue (canter, trot whatever) say good boy and after about 6 strides in canter ask for trot/walk transition.

If he's now trying to run (and not listen to you) then make a circle. If you know how use leg yield to make circle smaller, if not use inside rein to make it smaller but do NOT "give" with outside rein. Essentially this means the reins will be shorter since you are keeping the outside rein the same length yet "shortening" the inside rein by "opening" it over your knee (NOT back).

And lastly - refuses to walk forward, instead backs up (to avoid puddle or something else)? If forward not working then turn him around and ask him to BACK through the puddle/past the bogey man. Idea is YOU control the situation, so if one thing doesn't work try something else.

Dressage is for Trainers!
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post #6 of 6 Old 06-08-2011, 11:05 AM
Green Broke
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All great advice. I own a smart, mischevious pony (almost horse YAY). I was having some of the same issues and was at one point actually afraid of him (he would charge at me while lunging). It took all the courage I could muster but I had to get tough with him and not allow him to get away with anything. Groundwork groundwork groundwork. Once I stepped in HIS face and didn't back down he had a whole new respect for me - not that he doesn't try things now and then (he is still a pony and now even 4 yet).
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