Teaching a horse how to pony
 
 

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Teaching a horse how to pony

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  • Train horse to pony another
  • Pony horse

 
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    04-19-2011, 10:58 AM
  #1
Foal
Teaching a horse how to pony

I would really like to learn how to pony. Of my herd of five, three are youngsters who are basically unstarted: we've got a 5-year-old Canadian mare who was backed but then we stopped working with her after an injury, a 2-year-old Canadian/Hanoverian cross gelding, and an 8-month-old Percheron/Oldenburg.

I have tried my hand at it sporadically, and have ponied a 16.3 hand draft cross, and both our Canadian mares, on more than one occasion. My 15-year-old Percheron cross gelding (15.2) is a -great- ponying horse: very steady, solid, does not kick and can take some abuse from a youngster without getting too phased.

Yesterday I took out the 5 year old Canadian and she was very good! I put her in a rope halter and we did our one-mile private road/laneway. However, she leans quite heavily into my gelding, and while she wasn't out of control by any means, she pulled quite a bit (my arm was dead after).

The young colt and gelding I foresee being the opposite -- they will probably be on the slow side to begin with and lag behind.

Does anyone have basic steps they take to teach a young horse to pony properly and well? How young would you start ponying? Any tips for me while riding? I find I twist my upper body when I'm trying to fight with either a dragging or a pulling horse...
     
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    04-19-2011, 11:11 AM
  #2
Yearling
Not sure. I am just now starting to work my yearling off of my other mare. I am starting first by moving her around the pasture and starting next month I am going to try ponying for the first time.
     
    04-19-2011, 12:28 PM
  #3
Yearling
I like to have a few go rounds in the arena first just so they used to the whole idea.

Other then that I just get on and go. When my filly leans on my boy I just put my toe on her and nudge till she gets off ;)
     
    04-19-2011, 01:15 PM
  #4
Banned
What kind of saddle are you using?

I was taught to wrap the ponied horse's leadrope just one around the Western horn. It's safe--if you let go, the rope will come free immediately without getting hung up. But it gives you leverage to hold a strong horse, too.
     
    04-19-2011, 05:00 PM
  #5
Foal
I've ponied in both a dressage and a western saddle. My western saddle is very uncomfortable and cheap so I prefer the dressage. I bet an aussie outback saddle would be perfect!
     
    04-19-2011, 05:27 PM
  #6
Started
You may have already done this, but I like to make sure that the horse has superb ground manners when you're just handling them one on one before starting to do very much ponying.
     
    04-19-2011, 06:56 PM
  #7
Foal
That makes sense, Eolith. Our 5 year old has great ground manners and we have done a lot of work with her on the ground since she was born (she's from our mare). However, she also has a testy personality so it's not unusual for her to push boundaries every now and then...
     
    04-20-2011, 10:29 AM
  #8
Green Broke
If this is where you ride one horse and lead the other at the same time? (sorry never heard the term ponying) then normaly I start in the field with a horse who has excellent ground manners and leads properly and an older horse who is used to being led from.

Normaly I start by having a helper lead youngster besides the older horse whilst I have the reins of youngsters bridle in my hand (and I'm on the older pony). Once we have established the fact that neither pony is going to kick the other and neither is going to have a freak out then my person on the ground will walk with us, when she is sure the youngster has got the idea she will unclip the rope and step away. We do some walking round he field like that ensuring that we can stop, start and turn and then I take them out on the roads with someone walking with me incase of emergancy.

Normaly it only takes 2 or 3 sessions for the youngster to completly understand.
I have done this bareback, in a show saddle and in a GP saddle.

If the horse is strong then you should go back to basic ground manners before you ever even try to lead it from anouther horse.
     
    04-21-2011, 12:20 AM
  #9
Yearling
If she's leaning into you, you may have the line too short causing her to bend into you. You want her to travel straight, not bent towards you. You could also be leaning causing the riding horse to drift into or away from her. Make sure you aren't bracing with your legs. If she's not wanting to stay in position and creep/go too far ahead, stick your arm out and up and if she goes beyond it, give the line a sharp jerk downward and don't speed your riding horse up to accommodate her - she can learn to stay where she's supposed to. After a time or two all you have to do is raise your arm and she'll pay attention and not go beyond it. If she's lagging behind or sucking back, bump the line to get her to come forward - make sure you slow the riding horse down till she gets it. If you find yourself constantly bumping, then dally the line, bump and let the saddle/riding horse take the drag, it won't be long before she'll come along. Try to keep a stead slow walk till she understands where she's supposed to be - you can always add a bit of speed later. Be sure you don't have a fast stepping riding horse and a hand horse who has to trot just to keep up. I pony with about an arm's length of line and fold the excess line in my gloved hand, (never coiled or looped) and I use a western saddle and breast collar, just in case. Make sure that your riding horse has a VERY good handle on it and is comfortable with ropes touching all parts of its body, including around the butt, flanks and under the tail. Oh, and make sure that your riding horse will WALK over all obstacles and through water! It's always a good idea that the riding horse be familiar with the terrain before you add the hand horse. Turning to the left takes a bit of time for the hand horse to learn, as does speeding up and slowing down. And as was said above, practice in an arena first - it's not fair to take either horse out without preparing them beforehand. That's all I can think of right now...

Good luck!
     
    04-21-2011, 12:31 AM
  #10
Green Broke
I've recently begun teaching my Paint to pony. We've had issues because although we've corrected her manners on the ground, it really doesn't always translate into other areas. She knows better then to lag or haul on me on the ground, but for ponying it's like she "knows" I can't do boo about it and she'll walk like a mule, dragging her feet, and drifting behind my pony horse if I'm not HAULING on her face.

I finally got fed up, so working in an arena and with a dependable pony horse (LOL, my Arab, she's actually good when I need to depend on her) I dallied the rope to my horn (don't tie, it was firmly wrapped but could easily come loose in an emergency) and carried a Dressage whip (your pony horse has to be ace with whips) and tapped her on the butt any time I gave her a command that she chose to ignore. In no time flat, she was keeping that head right at my knee where I wanted it. We worked on sharp turns in both directions, much like on the ground, to teach her I ALWAYS want that nose at my knee (shoulder on the ground). She learned to pay attention, and also to trot to catch up when making a wide circle.

Also, because I am brilliant, (LOL!!!) Jynx has different voice commands then Zierra. So my verbal cue for Jynx to trot is different then any cue that Zierra knows and thus makes it easier to handle Jynx and make her speed up without Zierra thinking she should break a walk. However, ideally Zierra shouldn't know ANY verbal cues, but I was a dumb teenager so I have to live with that mistake!

Best of luck!
     

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