Having Pony Problems - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 12-11-2010, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Irvington, Alabama
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Having Pony Problems

Well i should say that i have little experience with ponies but i am in the middle of a crash course! We recently accepted a pony that i was told was abused in the past. He is very healthy now. He was given to us because the pony was bought for a child that lost interest and he was left in a pasture alone and had gotten shy. Since i have four boys ages 7-11, getting attention would be the LEAST of his worries. We were told that he was ridden all the time with no problems unless he was kicked because he is sensitive on his sides. He is very hard to catch but that gets better every day. We have had him about 2 weeks now. The other day we decided was the BIG day and i put my 8 year old on him. Now my eight year old is TINY weighs 48 pounds. We had a saddle on him and i lead him around for a while and he was great........until i unhooked the lead rope. My son did make it 8 seconds but the situaton was very scary for everyone involved. The pony, Tebow, took off and then turned sharp and when he did the saddle shifted at which point he started to buck. HARD. My child went flying but luckily landed in freshly plowed dirt. So since then he has tried to take off every time one of them gets on him. I dont know what to do. Should i continue just putting the kids on him? We have sat them on him and praised him while they were on and then taken them off. He doesnt take off as long it only lasts a few seconds but if they dont get on and right off he will try to bolt. Very worried about the situation. Also, how much weight can a shetland type pony carry? Thanks for any input.
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post #2 of 17 Old 12-11-2010, 09:04 PM
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How tall is he?

I would not be putting my child on him until he is safe. Do you have a young adult or small/light rider who can school him for you?

Has his back and teeth been checked? It sounds like the saddle does not fit him well or is not being cinched up correctly if it is sliding. That's a sure way to end up with a rodeo with lots of horses.
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post #3 of 17 Old 12-11-2010, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
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Well, we were told and by my own assessment was seen as safe at the time. My 11 year old who weighs about 100# got on him but got the same result. The person that i got him from is a friend and said that he had been veted recently with no problems. As for the saddle, (embarrassed giggle) that was probably my fault. He is a hairy little bugger and the saddle was not tight as i thought. I really dont know how tall he is, i havent measured and cant really eyball hands for him as i havent been around many ponies. But to give you a very rough guesstimate, I am 5 feet tall and his withers are just above my waist. Thank you for your response i am pretty new to this forum and love all the info!
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post #4 of 17 Old 12-13-2010, 06:46 AM
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So he is fine being led and then throws fits and starts to bolt after the lead rope is off? This was a similar thing to my pony, back when I wasn't in control of him, or higher on the 'totem pole', but my Dad was.
From what I think, when you are leading him around, he is content to do as you ask. If your kids are not higher on the totem pole, in his mind, he can do what he likes, therefore he begins to buck and bolt. If your kids step above him due to groundwork, he most likely will settle down and behave.

Since your kids have ridden him again, and have come off, it has unconsiously reinforced his bad behaviour. He knows he can throw people off, so he has won every ride so far. He will continue to do so untill someone small enough can get on him, hold on and teach him that his behaviour will not be put up with.

It also sounds like he needs lots of ground work so he will stand nicely, ground tie and wait patiently for anything that you ask of him. Working with a trainer would benifit all of your family greatly.

Like Spastic_Dove stated, I would not continue to put your children on him untill you can find a way to have him trained. :)

Best of Luck and I hope that things work out for you quickly!

There is one principle that should never be abandoned, namely, that the rider must first learn to control himself before he can control his horse. This is the basic, most important principle to be preserved in equitation - Alois Podhajsky

Last edited by PumpkinzMyBaby22; 12-13-2010 at 06:50 AM.
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post #5 of 17 Old 12-13-2010, 07:36 AM
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Oh, PLEASE don't keep putting your kids on him! The more practice he has, the better he'll get... but kids are breakable & they won't necessarily get better every time they're thrown. Let alone if you intend for them to learn to enjoy horse riding & him enjoy being ridden.

It's a good start, just getting him comfortable & rewarded with being sat on for short spells, but I still wouldn't do it if it was risking my kids. I'd start teaching him on the ground first, to trust you, your 'toys' & 'games'.

Not assuming, but without further info, perhaps your friend is just as inexperienced as you and didn't know much? &/or perhaps that was why her child 'lost interest'. How do you know he's really well trained as stated? What was 'by your own assessment'? Of course no horse likes being kicked in the ribs, but especially being a kid's horse, I'd look at that lack of desensitising as an indication, along with being 'shy', of lack of training/fear. It's of course possible that he is indeed reasonably well trained but is just still nervous & reactive in his new environment & with his new people.

Especially as you're inexperienced, I'd either send him to a good trainer and give your kids lessons with other horses in the meantime, then get the trainer or a good instructor to work with you & him, or I'd consider finding him an experienced home and finding another tried & tested pony for your family... and also having lessons to learn how to handle/ride him.
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post #6 of 17 Old 12-13-2010, 10:31 AM Thread Starter
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Smile Thanks for Input

well i should clarify that i am not inexperienced with horses or various training methods in general.Imnot familiar with Shetland ponies and personality traits. I would never endanger my children or sour their taste for horses. With that said, after the person i got him from told me his sides were sensitive i spent time every day giving him the oppurtunity to show me he was sensitive and he didnt. i did this by making he was not rope shy at all and then looping the lead rope (not attached to the pony) around his girth area. I snugged it up a bit and he was abso fine with that. while i had the rope around him i would drape my leg over his back and then slide it off over his rump. Still he was calm and relaxed. i stood beside him as if to get on and gently bumped my knee into his side and he gave no reaction. He is very easily handled on a lead by me and all of the boys. They have spent a lot of time doing simple ground work with him under my supervision. The yo yo game, etc. I havent let them get back on him since the first incident and we have been working on reinforcing manners. I would really like to know how much weight a shetland pony can hold. I weigh about 110 and would like to school him my self but am concerned about the weight. I hope giving a little more info helps yall help me. lol. We already love him and he has a great personality. I think it is going to take some time and patience. I completely agree that he had figured out that he can get them off and will continue to do so until he is schooled properly and learns what is work time. If you have any further questions please feel free to message me.
He is a lot easier to catch now and has settled down alot as far as that goes. To fix that i spent a lot of time with him in a pen putting pressure on him by sending him away and only allowing him to rest when he was close to me. He figured out quite quickly that the place to be is by mom. He was rewarded with a piece of apple every time he made the right decision. I have found that is the easiest way to get through to a horse (and Kids) by making the RIGHT decision EASY and the WRONG decision HARD. Works every time.

Last edited by elizbeth; 12-13-2010 at 10:41 AM. Reason: Oh forgot to mention.....
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post #7 of 17 Old 12-13-2010, 11:23 AM
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Hello Elizbeth =]

I saddle train/school shetlands and miniatures regularely (consider it my side job), and I'm hoping I can be of some assistance to you. The average shetland pony is around 40 inches tall, or 8 hh. Based on your description of his withers being about at your waist, I would say he's about average height. Now, if you're experienced with horses- you would know that a pony shouldn't carry a whole lot more than 20-30% of their weight.

Your shetland is most likely 200-225 lbs at most, meaning that really he shouldnt be carrying more than 60 pounds-ish. And to bluntly answer your question- it really wouldn't be a good idea to school the little guy yourself, especially because it most likely means that you would need to ride him more than once for atleast 20 minutes. Now I'm not saying you have to go find yourself a really really really tiny person to school him for you- but you do need someone who is very light. Your best bet is searching a few riding schools near you, or even competition barns- and find a teenager who has been riding for a while. A 70-90 pound person should be alright, as long as sessions with your pony don't last longer than 30 minutes without giving him a break. I weigh in at around 87 and I have been able to sucessfully school quite well without any pain to the ponies. (or so they've told me o.-)

Also, just as idea- have you tried lunging him at all? It might settle him down before working, and once you are alright with your children starting with him again- it would be a nice step towards riding by themselves. That way they can control his pace, but you ultimately have control over him and can pull him up if he tries anything.

Hope I helped atleast a bit? x) and just remember when you're decided what to do, even if he doesnt LOOK uncomfortable doesn't mean he isn't uncomfortable, and he may be trying to tell you something that you're overlooking. (most likely he's just living up to his name of a pony though, shetlands can be very pigheaded and strong willed.)
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post #8 of 17 Old 12-13-2010, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for your reply. Ya i guessed a little high i was estimating around 75 ponds for the rider. Yes we are in the process of learning to lunge and it is going pretty well. Once he gets settled and comfortable with that for a while we are going to revisit the riding. I think having them ride him on the lunge line after some schooling by another light rider is a good idea. I teach beginner riding lessons and have plenty of little people begging to help, but i dont want to make the situation worse. I am sure i will find a confidant, skilled enough rider to be able ride him eventually with out scaring or hurting him mentally or physically. Im hoping that lots of lunging will help. I am going to long line him once the lungeing is accomplished and successful. Thank you for your input and if you think of anything else please let me know.
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post #9 of 17 Old 12-13-2010, 01:31 PM
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if he dosnt take off on the lead then just keep him on a lead for a while
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post #10 of 17 Old 12-13-2010, 01:50 PM
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Well I wouldn't advise on letting any of your riders 'help' if they are beginners, because you're going to want someone who can ride out his little storm. A beginner is most likely not going to be able to do much more than hang on for dear life while he bucks. You're going to need someone who will get up on him- and let him buck. That sounds strange, but its something he needs to work through. Seeing that he can't throw his rider is going to be the key to his healing. Thats when the real work can begin.
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