Training 5yr old filly to pony - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 09-06-2009, 07:32 AM Thread Starter
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Training 5yr old filly to pony


Well today a friend of ours rang me up to ask me if i'd teach her 5yr old unbroke filly to pony off another horse and do some groundwork with her and pony her around the roads cause she's never been led out of the paddock. I said no problem and I'm just curious to how you trained your horses to pony. Please no rude comments about her being 5 and unbroke.. the owner loves her very much she is out of her favourite mare and is the mares one and only foal said mare is well over 25 now so no chance of another baby and the owner wants to make sure this filly stays sound and healthy hence waiting till she is mature phisically and metally

She's about 13.1 purebred QH her sire is Rossmount Quarter Horses and her dam is a un-reg QH.

Pic's of filly(Peppi-Lee)-she was 4 in these lol
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File Type: jpg peppylee.jpg (88.5 KB, 122 views)
File Type: jpg peppylee2.jpg (87.6 KB, 117 views)

"If you can't see a thoroughbred has talent, you're probably too dumb to ride one anyway."
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post #2 of 10 Old 09-06-2009, 08:10 AM
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Yay, someone not in too much of a hurry to break a baby! :) Kudos to them :)

I've never pony'd a horse though, so I will leave that up to someone who has...
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post #3 of 10 Old 09-06-2009, 08:30 AM Thread Starter
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Yes, it's nice to know that there are people out there that have a bit of patience.

"If you can't see a thoroughbred has talent, you're probably too dumb to ride one anyway."
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post #4 of 10 Old 09-06-2009, 08:47 AM
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There is no problem with backing a 5 yo - they are physically and mentally more mature. You can now get a better idea of what sort of pony/horse you
will have in the years to come. Temperament is everything - almost.
From the photo she is saying " You looking at me!"

What exactly do you mean by the expression "pony her" ?
Is that to break her to saddle or to socialise her with traffic?

To share the backing of a horse (be it only of pony size) - if that is what you mean by "pony" - is a very sensitive issue. Who will be head teacher - you or your friend?

Incidentally, that broad forehead leaves a big space for the brain of a horse.

Barry G.

Barry G
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post #5 of 10 Old 09-06-2009, 12:28 PM
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Barry, "ponying" is an expression we use to mean leading a horse behind you as you ride another horse. It is a good way to introduce your unbroke horse to the wide world (has a buddy there to help them keep their head) and also a good way to bring along an extra packer for camping/hunting trips!

And now, if you'd be so kind, please tell me what is meant by "backing" a horse in relation to training. Do you mean quite literally teaching her to back-up?
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post #6 of 10 Old 09-06-2009, 05:32 PM
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When I pony a horse I put on a halter with a ten to twelve foot lead and get on my best broke horse take two dallies and head out. Keep the horse close enough that it won't be able to change sides or rear back and jump on top of you. Make sure that you keep your lead rope straight and don't get tangled in it.
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post #7 of 10 Old 09-06-2009, 05:35 PM
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One language , two dictionaries.
If I had know what "ponying" meant, then I would not have sent the post I did.
I translated "ponying" into "backing"

Backing in 'real' English could be translated as "breaking to ride" including the act of settling the saddle on the horse's back. But to sit on a recently "backed" horse calls for the horse to be schooled well enough for the rider to sit down and not be bucked off. In Britain, you can't simply slap a saddle on a horse's back and then mount up - there's no horn to hang on to.
The word "break" in real English hints at breaking the horse's spirit to resist - rarely is there a need or an inclination to go down that route. One no longer "breaks" a horse, one backs it.
It is a very subtle difference but highlights a small difference in the way a British rider might approach a young horse at the early stage of schooling.

As far as "ponying" is concerned - yes with the limitations imposed by an English cut saddle - which does not have a horn; ride one, lead one is common practice. But without the horn one has to hold the lead rein of the "pony" in one's hand and if the lead horse goes one way and the ridden horse the other, then life gets tricky. The horse being lead is usually fitted with a cavesson not a bridle

I have never seen a pack horse used in Britain, but then on a tiny, wet, windy
crowded island like Gt Britain, there are not that many places to camp out - especially as the rider can easily plan to go from pub to pub where they have beds. Wild camping is not encouraged in Britain.

A pony ( in real English) is a small horse or a 25 bet on a racehorse.

So thank you for putting me straight.

Barry G (from across the pond, that big divide)
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post #8 of 10 Old 09-06-2009, 07:41 PM
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The first thing I always do when teaching a horse to be ponied is to put the two horses in the paddock together. If the horse to be ponied has never done so before, I like to make sure she is comfortable being around the horse that will be ponying her. Make sure the filly is halter broke well because you don't want her to flip out when there is a pull on her head.

I agree with the others, I'm happier that the horse is being started later rather than earlier. Once the filly gets used to being ponied, you can use a dressage whip to touch her. It should never be used to hit her with but you can use it to touch all over her body when she's moving.
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post #9 of 10 Old 09-07-2009, 08:27 AM
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Good advice already posted....we do a lot of ponying of young's a great way to get them out in the world and behaving without having to think about a rider on them or worrying about horse 'monsters'.
I'll reiterate/add:
- Do start in a paddock/ring to her used to being right next to your horse without any fussing. Some youngsters start out being uncomfortable working so close to another horse and/or want to fuss/play.
- Do use your most experienced, sane horse that you feel absolutely comfortable on. Having an experienced horse that is very light, neck reins, and responds effortless to your leg allows you to concentrate on the filly without having to think about your own horse. An experienced pony horse is worth *gold* as a teacher to young ones.
- Do try and keep the ponied horse on a short lead at your hip, and practice on both the left and right. A long lead will allow the horse to cross over in the front, (if too eager) in the back (if lagging), and can easily wind up getting wrapped around your foot/stirrup. Also, you would be surprised at how easy it is to get the lead rope wedged under the tail of of your horse if the ponied horse crosses on the back side. If the ponied horse continues to be too eager or lag, start doing circles to get back to the pace you want.
- Never wrap/loop the lead around your hand...that can be a real 'ouch' at best, or getting dragged off your horse at worst.
- Opinions vary about whether to ever wrap the lead around the horn to keep a horse from getting away from you. Over the years, I've found that in most cases, if you need to let the lead go and you're not in a potentially dangerous place, just let it go...and the ponied horse won't go far. Just circle back, calm the horse, grab the lead, and continue on like nothing happened. On rare occasions, I will wrap the lead around the horn just to calm the ponied horse down for a moment, but make sure you have a very trusted mount and you don't get your hands or legs in the way.
- Do always be extra've got 'twice the horse'.

I'll say it is GREAT training, and with practice, nothing beats being able to train a horse to pony right at your side from a walk to a gallop.

BTW, I agree with others....unbroke at 5 years is not a problem...there is nothing wrong with bringing a horse along 'slow'.

On the sixth day, God created the Quarter Horse.
On the seventh day, he Painted the good ones.
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post #10 of 10 Old 09-07-2009, 05:51 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the great advice everyone! I'm sure it will be extremely helpfull! I'll try and get some pics of the first time we try it in the paddock . I'm probably going to use my 20yr old TB to pony her off.. He's very calm and responsive :]

"If you can't see a thoroughbred has talent, you're probably too dumb to ride one anyway."
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