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Teaching my pony to pony...

This is a discussion on Teaching my pony to pony... within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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        03-29-2012, 11:21 AM
      #11
    Yearling
    It has already been said, but for you and your horses' safety sake never ever tie hard and fast to a saddle horn or even worse to your leading hand on the horse being ponyed. I ponyed my mare's foals when they reached 4-5 months old while riding her and it went very well. A time or two a foal would try to set back, but by keeping my horse moving forward the foal learned that it was getting him no were to resist and since he/she was not tied fast to something stationary it didn't do him/her any harm. This helped so very much when teaching the foals to stand tied at a tie rail later on.

    The POA mare I had I would pony with my mare when I would have a need to do it. Neither mare acted "marish" with one another. The only other horse I ponyed with my mare was the TWH I had. I learned from him to never have a longer than absolutely necessary lead to keep a ponyed horse's head at my knee and most favorably at the left knee. He had obviously never been ponyed before and was not actually certain of what was expected of him, but my level-headed mare handled herself very well in dealing with him. At least my 2 horses and I didn't encounter any serious problems, but I learned to try it at home first then go on a road ride with them.
         
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        03-30-2012, 02:27 AM
      #12
    Weanling
    The first time I ponied, I rode my older, 'bombproof' gelding and was ponying my young, green, icelandic horse. The first incident was the icelandic trying to switch sides and getting the rope under my gelding's tail. The gelding stopped in his tracks, all bunched up underneath of him, with his tail clamped down so tight I couldn't get the rope out and had to get off to fix it. I was really surprised at how well everything went, until the little gaited monster stepped on the gelding..... Poor gelding was bleeding a little and gimpy, so I got off, switched tack and used the green horse to pony the gelding.... Now, let me say that I teach ALL my horses to neck rein as soon as possible (usually on the trail, easiest way I've found), but hot diggity dog, it was just amazing how well they did! The green horse couldn't have cared less that the gelding was pulling on me a bit (he's very cautions about getting kicked by being too close) and didn't care at all about the rope (big thank you to whoever it was so many years ago that insisted I get my horses used to ropes ALL over them!)

    It was sooooo much easier than I had thought it would be....

    **Disclaimer: Gelding was only oozing a little, was not gimpy any more after about 10 minutes, and we were in the woods and had to get out somehow!**
         
        03-30-2012, 03:36 AM
      #13
    Weanling
    My pony is seriously the worst to pony. He is constantly biting my mare or just being obnoxious. I have to jerk on his face to keep him from trying to stuff his nose up her butt. Luckily she's great. When she is under saddle she does not so much as pin her ears at another horse.

    I like to have my ponys head near my stirrup so I can boot him if he's getting nippy. I feel more comfortable using a 10 foot lead than anything longer. Idk if that is dangerous but it is just my personal preference. Starting off in an arena is the best idea, that way you can drop the rope if things get bad.

    Having a reliable horse to ride makes it a million times easier. I sometimes get distracted by my little guy and I put a lot of trust in my mare.
         
        03-30-2012, 07:20 AM
      #14
    Foal
    I like starting a horse that's never ponied in a small area. That way you can ensure the horse you're leading stays on the right side, use the fence line to help regain control if there's a problem and not have to worry about a loose horse. You don't want to get into a tug of war with a panicked horse as some will flip.

    Some quick tips as you get started:
    - Circle toward the horse you're ponying to get them going and keep heels pointing away
    - Make sure you don't T-bone the horses (where the one you're leading is behind and perpendicular to the horse you're on). This is frightening for the lead horse and a good way to get the other one kicked.
    - Be patient and don't force either horse to 'behave' at first - let them get comfortable with what you're asking
    - Pick a pair that are buddies in the pasture. If the horses get along when loose, there's less chance for kicking and biting when you start this training
    - Minimize the severity of the head attachment. Usually just a cotton rope clipped to the bottom of a halter is fine to start. If you add a bit or chain to the mix at first and the horse starts resisting, they tend to fight harder and associate the experience with fear and pain. Once you get the basics understood and venture out of an enclosed, safe area, you can add more control, but I wouldn't recommend starting this way.
    - Have fun.
    MN Tigerstripes likes this.
         
        04-02-2012, 09:36 AM
      #15
    Weanling
    UPDATE!

    I tried it this weekend, and it went much better than I expected... You guys were all so right about everything, thanks so much for all the great advice!!

    Anyway, the mare I was riding, the chestnut Arab, can be a bit of a bi-atch, but, just as you guys said, once I was riding, there was no biting, kicking or mean faces.

    The only time the Arab got close to being rude was when we were trotting and the led mare would come too far forward alongside the Arab, and then she would make a little pissed off face (she is the dominant mare between the two of them, and I guess she liked being in front of the grey), but she never did anything.

    So, in conclusion, I still have both my arms and both my horses, and it was super fun, so I'm definitely doing it again.

    Here is a couple of pictures...
    My view to the front:



    My view to the rear:


    By the way, is it fine/normal for the led horse to walk behind like this, or should I encourage her to come further forward? She mostly walked like this, or a little closer and to the side. When we trotted, she would be right next to us.
         
        04-02-2012, 09:53 AM
      #16
    Trained
    I personally prefer having the ponied horse right at my knee, but I have seen people do it like you did. Glad you had fun and it went well!
    boots likes this.
         
        04-02-2012, 10:16 AM
      #17
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MN Tigerstripes    
    I personally prefer having the ponied horse right at my knee, but I have seen people do it like you did. Glad you had fun and it went well!
    I feel like I would also prefer it that way, and I'm going to try work on getting her closer beside me, and going at a constant and matched pace to my ridden horse. I didnt like having to suddenly reel in the line because she came up beside us, then let it go again, as she started dawdling behind again.

    But for my first time, I was way too relieved that it was working at all, and I didn't want to mess with that! Ha ha!
    boots likes this.
         
        04-02-2012, 11:41 AM
      #18
    Yearling
    While I am happy you had a good first time ponying experience, Please, Please do not use a lunge line to pony any horse. A lead rope no longer than 10ft is a far better and much safer choice. All my concerns are for you and your horses being safe when on ponying outings. Also going at any gait faster than a walk when ponying can quickly become a wreck. A horse's reflexes can change so rapidly that trying to manage two horses even at the walk can challenge even the most experienced of handlers.

    I was actually a bit scared when I saw in your pictures the length of line you had on your horse being lead. I am a strong advocate of carrying a very sharp rope cutting knife all the time when working with horses. We just never know when we may need a rope/line cutting knife in an emergency.

    Please just be safe...
    boots likes this.
         
        04-02-2012, 12:00 PM
      #19
    Weanling
    Shame Candandy, you really don't have to worry that much about me! But thanks...

    It looks in the picture as if the horse is miles behind me, but she is not, she was perhaps no further than a couple feet behind the tail of the mare that I was riding. The angle at which the photo was taken on my crap cellphone makes it look like a lot more space. And it also makes her look tiny. And maybe it was a bit more space, as I was turning around in my saddle to take a picture, so there was more length to the rope for that moment. Mostly she walked to the side of us, (diagonally behind us) but her nose level with the ridden horse's tail. Always on the right hand side, which is the hand I used for the rope, and she never switched sides. Or was allowed to switch sides. But she didn't try.

    The rope was only about 3 meters long, (just checked on a conversion website: that's about 10 feet) Its *not* a lunging rope, although admittedly made of the same ugly type of nylon... However she did have a lot of the length of it at times. That would be between 2 and 3 meters, no more. And I did not wrap or tie any part of it to my hand, horse or saddle. I was neck reining with one hand and holding the rope with the other. My hand wasn't even through the loop.

    But hey if that is dangerous, it's good to know! Like I said, its my first time trying it out, I'm open to suggestions. I can make that rope shorter, and coach the horse to come up closer alongside me. She got the hang of it very well after a bit, and became very responsive to pressure on the rope and my voice.
         
        04-02-2012, 01:47 PM
      #20
    Yearling
    Muumi, I feel no shame what so ever for being concerned for you and your horses being safe.
         

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