Pony kicking at sidewalker - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 20 Old 06-03-2012, 11:25 AM
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I agree that the pony is unsuitable for the job.

Ponies are thinkers, more so than horses. She has learned that she can get away with such a mundane boring job and will continue to do so. If you think she will be fooled by a sandbag then think again. she will soon take advantage of whoever is leading her because they do not know what they are doing.

As for pain issues - it could well be, but more likely it is just cunning.

All these ponies would be happier in their work if they were taken out for a good happy ride a couple of times a week ridden by kids that can ride.

As for stopping her I would have a rider on her - one that can ride. They would sit and act like a novice and when she kicked at the side walker she would get a darn good wallop from both the side leader and the rider.

Many will not like this. I do not care kicking is dangerous and unless she gets a short sharp lesson she will continue to do it.
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post #12 of 20 Old 06-03-2012, 11:13 PM Thread Starter
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OwnedByAlli- Haha, that's my thinking. I would love to have my boss sidewalk this pony for five minutes. They would change their minds very quickly. It's a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Endiko- Thank you. Our three other geldings and the other mare are all mellow as can be. It's just this gal. If I cannot convince my bosses to give this mare a better home with a more experienced rider (or even someone who just wants a pasture pet), then I will definitely ask to at least keep her away from rides for a while until/if she comes around. We do have an experienced rider we can use on her, and I can do the backing up. It's just how much do I really want to push her to do something she hates to do?

Saddlebag- Thank you, I will try that. I don't know much of her history, but it may work.

CLaPorte- Thank you. Funnily enough it's not, it's a pretty popular attraction around this area. The farrier has told us before that it could be that she has a disk that has slipped out of place. Our vet is convinced that there's nothing physically wrong. I think it is entirely possible that it's a hidden pain issue.

Foxhunter- Thank you. I will be first to admit that we do not have the skill to work with this pony. We do have an experienced rider that works here that's small enough to ride. If nothing comes of talking with my bosses, then we will try it. But like I said to Endiko, how much do I really want to push the pony to do something she hates?

Thank you again for all the feedback. I'll definitely use this advice when I talk with my bosses. If it eases anyone's mind, last week I've been telling the staff to not put kids on her anymore and to just quietly lead her around to appease the bosses. So at least recently no other kids have been put in harms way.

Last edited by Genome; 06-03-2012 at 11:18 PM. Reason: Bad formatting
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post #13 of 20 Old 06-04-2012, 03:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Genome View Post
Foxhunter- Thank you. I will be first to admit that we do not have the skill to work with this pony. We do have an experienced rider that works here that's small enough to ride. If nothing comes of talking with my bosses, then we will try it. But like I said to Endiko, how much do I really want to push the pony to do something she hates?

As I previously said, ponies are intelligent and will often be as naughty as can be just because they can get away with it. Many the pony I have had that was certainly not child safe just because it had got away with misbehaving and taken it a step or three further.
Everyone of these ponies came right with very firm handling, a larger rider who could sort them out (I am 5'9" and weighed about 140 - 145) and thought nothing of getting on an 11.2 pony that was overstepping the mark with a small child riser. It never did any of them harm - they learned in one, or at the most two lessons that if they messed around with me there then they would have to work hard to redeem themselves.

What would help with all the ponies is if they could be taken for a 'jolly' with children that can ride, play gymkhana games with them, give them a good canter, pop a few poles, anything to break the monotony.
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post #14 of 20 Old 06-04-2012, 04:27 AM
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Get the children off the pony.

Either retire the pony or fix the problem and let the pony have some fun.

When the pony goes to kick out give the pony one good whack with a dressage whip on the bum. Kickin is not acceptable. Both you and the sidewalker need a dressage whip.

When the pony is no longer thinking about kicking out. Put someone on that can ride and repeat. Once the pony is behaving consistently well line up someone to give the pony some fun. Take it on a hack, pop over some jumps, take it for a canter or even gallop. Not just once let her have some fun!

Kickers have no place near children! Only once you've had no aggressive behavior consistently for AT LEAST 2 weeks then look at bringing her back into the program at first with NO rider, then more capable riders.
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post #15 of 20 Old 06-04-2012, 12:12 PM
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I helped run a therapeutic riding program for 3 years. The horses DO get sour sometimes. The BEST mare that we had one day decided she was not going to do this anymore, and we retired her to be a trail horse. It is not safe at all to ask a horse to do something like that when they have a bad attitude. They are not stupid, they KNOW it is harder to discipline them when they have a child on their back. They figure it out quick.

I did have one mare that would occasionally get p*ssy with me. She never acted out though. When she would do this, I would saddle her up after the session and trail ride her for a few hours. She LOVED trail rides and this would put her back into "work" mode. Kept her mind fresh so to speak. She was an Arabian, one of the smartest horses I've ever met, and she knew she could get away with more when she had a disabled kid on her back. But the more she got out and blew off some steam, the better she was when she was working as a therapy horse.

So with this one, either find a way for this horse to be freshened, or retire her. It is part of the business of therapeutic riding to have horses go in and out, and it is up to us as responsible horseman to listen to the horses, let them tell us when they are needing retirement, and then find them proper homes, and find a horse better suited for the job. We now have 2 VERY steady horses that love their job (and it shows), and 2 more that are in training still. The ones that love the job are out there, but it takes some time to find them. It should be expected though in this kind of business.
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post #16 of 20 Old 06-04-2012, 12:29 PM
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Ponies are smart. If it can be thought up the pony will think it up long before the horse. I suspect your pony is trying to get out of being ridden. Resolve the cow-kicking and she may think up another after a while. It might be biting at the handler when cinching up. If she resorts to that just have the handler flap an elbow. Horses dont like to run in to elbows. Or show her the whip and she'll likely change her mind about that little trick.
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post #17 of 20 Old 06-04-2012, 12:33 PM
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I would use Clinton Anderson's method, and make that pony MOVE... I don't know much but it sounds like a sassy pony that is disrespectful and fed up?
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post #18 of 20 Old 06-05-2012, 06:42 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for all the advice everyone. I've read every post. It seems the overall consensus is to give this mare a break from this very boring and annoying work (or just retire her). I like this advice best out of all, but everyone's was very very helpful and I appreciate the time you all took to reply. Everyone is very right that this pony is smart and needs more mental stimulation.

Today we had another talk with the supervisor about the mare's behavior. We told her about letting an experienced rider have some fun on her, about how the pony is bored out of her mind and needs a break. Our opinions were taken negatively, but we will keep on pushing and pushing until she's sick of hearing about this horse and does something. Our farrier is also on board to try and talk some sense into her.

Thank you again. I'll post an update should anything change in case anyone is interested.
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post #19 of 20 Old 06-05-2012, 07:49 PM
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As others have said this could become an issue that comes back on you. I was in a similar situation and it took me to long to quit.

As a handler, as long as you are on their books, you can refuse to handle that particular horse. It is dangerous because not only can a parent sue the company but sue you personally saying it is something you did that caused it, especially if the parent is looking for quick cash. I would tell your boss that they can lead the mare for a couple of days. Also if the mare kicks you or bites hard enough to draw blood you have a full right to sue them. Tell them that if they continue to have you work with this pony and something happens that you will take whatever legal action is necessary. Also have as many people as possible witness you telling your boss this so that if they do end up going to court by a parent or another employee or even yourself that you have multiple witnesses to state that they knew before hand that the mare was acting out.

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post #20 of 20 Old 06-05-2012, 08:24 PM
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You keep saying supervisor.. can you go above their head? I would get together with all your coworkers and get EVERYONE on board about not handling the pony and have them complain about her behavior too! This way you don't look like an insubordinate employee and it will make a clear statement.

Also, not sure just how ethical this would be but why don't you have someone call your supervisor or company and complain about the animal. Have them say they are a horse person and they cannot believe what a danger, liability, etc, etc, this pony is.
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