Originally Posted by mbender
How long can we go for a walk, being ponied? Just worried about her knees/legs.
As usual, agree with Luvs2. So long as you build up to it, some trotting & cantering is fine & as for walking, the more the better. Young horses are prococial species and have evolved to be able to keep up with the herd from the first day. Wild horses do an average of 20-40km per day, so chances are, you're not going to be able to over do it!
The more exercise, the stronger she will become in legs, knees & elsewhere.
how do you guys ride your babies off the property without your baby having to follow another horse. I figured ponying her for awhile will help her but she needs to build her own self confidence too.
I've often not had help available when training. Yes, ponying & going for walks with her is a good start for that too, as she will feel more secure with another horse or yourself(if she trusts you) while she's getting used to all the unfamiliar stuff 'out there'. When it comes to actual riding, getting her going well on home ground first is important, and then just taking it slowly, going out for short walks in familiar settings first, keeping each 'session' short & easy for her until her confidence has built, making things as positive as possible for her... I use a lot of positive reinforcement training(rewards), but also when I'm out, I will make a point of riding the horse to a good patch of grazing or such, so they look forward to my asking them to go somewhere. Use 'approach & retreat' tactics & don't attempt to force her to go near/past/get over 'scaries'. Oh, and as horses tend to be more confident when someone trustworthy goes first, or in between a 'scary', don't be afraid to jump off when & wherever needed & lead her.
ONE MORE question? Sorry, When I feed my yearling grain ( the only time she does it), she paws. Wears her right foot down. Is there a way to stop her from pawing? I just know that when the farrier comes, she wont have to really trim that hoof. Thanks for your answers.
Don't be sorry about asking questions! For starters, I would definitely not be feeding her grain. Yes, I know it's traditional, but horse's systems aren't built to deal with high sugar/starch diets and it's effectively 'junk food' and can cause a range of health issues.
To stop her pawing, you can use her food to positively reinforce her whenever she's standing still, and ensure you never reinforce her for pawing. Horses learn to do what works for them & quit doing what doesn't. Unfortunately as she's obviously had a lot of practice at this behaviour working for her in the past, it's likely to take a bit of time to eliminate, and get worse before it goes away, as she will 'try harder' at the behaviour to try to get it to work as before. You just have to be attentive and instantly reinforce what may be momentary breaks in the pawing to begin with. Teaching her a 'bridging signal' to catch the instances effectively, as with 'Clicker Training' is very helpful for this sort of thing.
As for her hooves, she may be wearing down the toe wall, but she will still require the rest of the hoof to be trimmed. If you're worried about wear & tear on joints, have her on rubber matting or soft ground at these times until you teach her not to do it.