Pony kicking at sidewalker
   

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Pony kicking at sidewalker

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  • Pony that refues to work
  • Pony kicking with mounting

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    06-02-2012, 08:38 PM
  #1
Foal
Pony kicking at sidewalker

Hi there everyone. I have a bit of a dilemma that a long internet search could not answer. I work for a place that offers pony rides to children. There's always two people per pony, one to lead and one to help the kid mount and to hold the kid while the horse is walked around a track.

The problem: We have one mare that finds this work boring and will refuse to walk or will stop at the same part of the track with the kid on her and start kicking at the sidewalker. She's learned now that this will get the kid off of her if she puts up enough of a fight. This was due to staff becoming scared and putting her away instead of working her through (Or parents yelling to get their child off the demon pony). This continued for a while with the sidewalker just dodging the kicks while the walker tried to get her to continue.

However now she's taken to kicking while at the mounting block, presumably at the sidewalker, but the child is now inadvertently put in harms way when she does this. If we do get the child on her when she's in that state of refusal, she will violently back her butt up into the perimeter fence. Any of the forms of correction we use on her are met with resistance. Being yelled at, or tugged sharply, or tapped, she will still refuse. She hates to be bullied into obeying.

A little history: She is a Palomino mare about 23 years old. We got her about two years ago when I first started working for this facility. The only history I know of her is that she was in a trailer accident before we got her and she used to be used for breeding/riding. She's always had a problem since day one with us, but we've slowly worked through some of them (kicking while picking hooves, kicking while putting a saddle on). On the track she would rarely kick at first, but exhibited that same stalling out behavior at the same part of the track. At the time a light pat on the butt got her to continue the ride. At the time we also had a more expirenced person to work with her, but she has since left. When we first introduced her to our herd, she quickly took the lead. A year ago we acquired an Arabian mare who usurped her and dropped her to the bottom of the herd. Outside of having to do work, she leads very nicely. Although she can be pushy and sometimes bitey. We've had our vet look at her multiple times for pain or back issues, but the result is always negative.

Most of the people we have working on the rides do not have previous horse experience. Even I have learned everything I know about horses in the two years I have been working here. Usually this is not an issue. We have three geldings and the Arabian mare who behave very well for newbies to work with them. Our supervisors are well aware of this pony's issues, but we are simply told to continue working with her. Hiring an experienced trainer is not an option due to money, even though that's the option I would prefer. So I have taken to researching everything I can on training techniques, watching videos, and the like. I'm basically taking this mare back to stage one to build her back up.

Solution?: I've watched many videos on pressure and release training methods. As in, put pressure on the horse until you get the result then release. I put her on the track and began walking her around with no sidewalker and no child. She put up some resistance of course, so I asked her twice to do what I asked, then made her do tight turns while going
After her butt with the lead rope (no hitting) or backing up until we peacefully walked down the track with no pressure. Basically, "I will make you do more work and make you feel uncomfortable until you do the easier thing I asked." One of the sidewalkers walked by too closely while I was working with her and the pony kicked out. I quickly turned her in circles, then released and we walked quietly down the track with no other words. When I ask her to stop, if she continues too far past me, I ask her to back up by placing my arm against her nose and pushing slightly for a step or two. When I ask her to stop at the mounting block I hold the rope out in front of her and wiggle it slightly. During the tight circles, I hold out the rope and point in the direction while I spin the rope behind her if she doesn't move right away. I'm trying to be as consistence as possible.

The next step I wanted to do was try with a sidewalker. I can do these circle corrections when she kicks again. After she relaxes with the walker, I wanted to then have the walker place a light sandbag on her. Again I can correct easily. I figure if she can peacefully walk with a sandbag, she will walk with a child.

So finally the question: Am I going about this the right way? Is this a feasible training solution? Are there any other better ways? Thanks for the help and sorry for the length! With only two years under my belt working alongside with easy ponies, I'm definitely no expert. Any advice is appreciated, especially if I have analyzed anything incorrectly. Thank you again!
     
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    06-03-2012, 02:10 AM
  #2
Yearling
1. Why would you put a horse with known issues in a child's pony riding business.
?

2. What are you doing continuing using this horse around children with these known issues.?

Sorry, this just doesn't make cense to me.

I would find a new job before someone gets hurt if these people are going to continue to pur the horse and children in this situation.
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    06-03-2012, 06:40 AM
  #3
Yearling
Well with no money for a trainer and a pony that's being too dangerous for her job guess you tell, whoever you need to tell that you aren't working with that pony anymore because it might hurt someone.
Going to have fun w/ money when someones kid gets hurt.

Horse is probably sick of annoying little children, I don't blame it one bit.
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    06-03-2012, 08:12 AM
  #4
Foal
Honestly I completely agree about not using her anymore, but my supervisors are so hard headed they won't see the issue until someone gets hurt. Thank you for the input. I'll try to get through to them again about this horse needing a better home away from stupid kids. Not all horses can tolerate this sort of work.
     
    06-03-2012, 08:23 AM
  #5
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Genome    
but my supervisors are so hard headed they won't see the issue until someone gets hurt.
This scares me. No way could I still be working for someone that ignores an issue until someone gets hurt.
     
    06-03-2012, 08:50 AM
  #6
Weanling
Get the supervisor to be the target of the kicks and Im pretty sure theyll realise the problem... A kicked child is way too much paperwork for most bosses to risk putting themselves through haha

Where my friend works they send the horses on 'hoilday' for a month or so to let the horse freshen up and get the crankiness out. Perhaps the old gal wants a break!
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    06-03-2012, 09:03 AM
  #7
Teen Forum Moderator
Absolutely talk to that boss. I run a pony therapy program and have a string of small horses and ponies- about 9 to be exact- and I would NEVER EVER put up with this kind of behavior, much less allow the animal to work with the children unless it is anything but mellow, submissive, and obedient. Take her out of the program atleast for a few weeks if you guys are so set on keeping her- and do excessive ground work with her. Perhaps have someone who knows how to ride well ride her, and do all of the things that a normal kid would do like scream 'YEEHAW' and flap around like an idiot. If you want her to have this job you have to teach her to ignore everything but the person at the end of her leadline, including the sidewalker. My ponies could have someone shoot a gun past their ears and still stand stock still for a child to mount. Its just how things have to be.

When she tries to kick, stop and make her back up. FAST. Make yourself look big and scary. You have about three seconds to convince her that you're going to KILL HER. As soon as she submits, continue on. Rinse, wash, repeat. She'll eventually get it. Making a horse move is key.
     
    06-03-2012, 09:20 AM
  #8
Showing
When a boarders mare started doing this I took a dressage whip, since it's shorter than a lunge whip, and rubbed it up and down her kicking leg. By the time a horse is 23 it's likely received more than one good smack so she knows what the whip could do. As the child is mounting have the sidewalker rub the kicking leg with the whip and see if this doesn't curb the action. She may have to carry the whip for a while.
     
    06-03-2012, 10:24 AM
  #9
Trained
Wow, is this some backyard pony ride facility? Gosh, no sane person would put an innocent child on a kicking horse!

Here's the thing, this pony does not like her job. She is 23 years old. Maybe she is in pain? Anyone ever think of that? She doesn't want to go round and round in circles. Retire the poor animal and find a replacement.
     
    06-03-2012, 10:36 AM
  #10
Started
I agree, time to put her out to live her days and get the kids off her back.
If the bosses don't think its an issue, wait until she kicks a small child in the head, then they will be screaming at you because you let it go on.
Just quit using her. Find a replacement, there are hundreds of good older gentle horses to use with kids.
themacpack likes this.
     

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