Training to respond to a small child?

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Training to respond to a small child?

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  • Training a pony for a child

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    05-08-2013, 08:26 AM
Training to respond to a small child?

How do I train my guy to respond to a small child like this? Any ideas?

I attached the photo-cannot figure out another way. Hope it works!

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    05-08-2013, 08:48 AM
Green Broke
We have several children that ride at our barn that are tiny like that. They ride, leg on seat engaged hands smart or the horse doesn't go correctly, period. They are on schooling horses, but our schoolers can be a bit challenging sometimes.
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franknbeans likes this.
    05-08-2013, 08:58 AM
Mine can be a bit challenging as well, even with my long legs. So perhaps I need to start reinforcing more voice type training? I have a couple of years before my granson will be riding alone anyway, so want to try and get started if possible.
    05-08-2013, 09:09 AM
I can send you my peanut over summer break, she's 45 lbs dripping wet & knows how a reiner handles. JK, I would miss her too much.

I've found it to be much the same as already mentioned. In my experience, savvy little riders do well, less confident children (or adults for that matter), not so much. DD can get more out of a horse than my green hubby. She even rides my very forward 16.3 Hano mare regularly, they are a Mutt & Jeff pair for sure.

Try him on a line with a kid & see how he responds and make a game plan from there. My old reining mare is uber responsive but when DD started on her she got very little response from her simply because she couldn't feel her. She was 3 when she started riding on her own off the line & was an itty bitty thing. The quick solution at that point, silly as it may be, was tapaderos. She couldn't feel DD's legs but the added "touch" & noise from the taps works with my old mare. These days DD can get anything she wants out of her.
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franknbeans and Wallaby like this.
    05-08-2013, 09:13 AM
Oh haha! I've put my 7yr old daughter (who is still wearing size 5 clothes!) on my guy and led her around quite a bit and the times I've turned her loose on him he's just stood there looking back at her feverishly kicking the top part of the fenders with a look on his face like 'good grief that's a big mosquito up there!'.

Sooooo the other day he was good and tired and I put her on, again 'cluck and kick' no response, so I said 'hold the horn, rein hand forward, cluck then kick' he didn't move, so I spanked his rump with my hand......and off we go at a walk (my horse is pretty laid back, I wouldn't just slap any old horse on the rump - he was hot and sweaty counter canter tired!) He was good after that, he was walking around neck reining for her and even if she held her rein on his neck he'd do a slow turn (although I discourage that for now!!) and he would back up when she put her feet forward (I also discourage that for now!) anyway it was a break through!

He's only six, so he hasn't had much kid time and he can still be snappy. I was pleased though. She can come cool him down for me!
    05-08-2013, 09:30 AM
Super Moderator
Horses can be astounding at times!

I had a big heavyweight hunter at livery with me. This horse was, to put it kindly, a challenge!
He knew his own strength and had, for several years, got away with being nappy. (Barn sour)
I had many hours of challenges with him and truth be known, we came to an agreement but although he never won any argument, he never ceased to challenge me.

That horse would buck for the fun of it yet when ridden by a 10 year old spinabifida girl he was an angel. No buck, he jumped fences including show jumps when I could hardly get him to walk over a coloured pole!
The cross country jumps he would mess around with, taking off to soon or getting in to short, always clearing them by at least two feet, yet with this child he was as smooth and comfortable as he could be.

This is not the only horse I have had this sort of experience with, I caught a friends three year old standing with a foot on each hock of a TB brood hanging onto her tail saying 'Ride now!'

Horses know when they have to be a caretaker. A lot will do it and do it well but others never will.
    05-08-2013, 09:35 AM
Your daughter sounds like mine Muppet. She'll be 8 at the end of the month and if it weren't for the length she could still wear a 3 or 4T lol. Totally have to love having a cool down rider! Mine does that for me quite often. She's been on every horse I've got aside from my yearling filly and if it were up to her, she'd have been on that one too.

A crop can be a helpful tool with little ones too (if they are confident enough to 'spank' a horse anyway). My old WP mare is one that will test, big time. Go to the gate, stop and refuse to move, etc. (She's the typical older lesson horse these days) Gave DD a crop, she gets a spanking once and since then she hasn't given her even the tiniest bit of grief.

ETA - Foxhunter, I've met my share that are/were like that too. It's funny how they differentiate who is on their back. Smrobs also has one that is the same, Buck (I think?) that was deemed a killer and quite the handful for an adult but is a great babysitter.
franknbeans and Muppetgirl like this.
    05-08-2013, 09:40 AM
Super Moderator
Lots of horses seem to know when they have a child on board and take care of them but as for really riding a horse this size - her legs can't get down low enough to actually mean anything to the horse by way of cues that he's probably used too so the horse has to re-learn what to respond too and be more responsive to just shifting body weight movement for cues
Its why my kids all had small ponies that were designed for little people with short legs!!!
    05-08-2013, 10:37 AM
Super Moderator
When I forst saw small children tiding big (ish) horses in the USA it worried me and, truth be told, it is not something I like to see.

Anyone getting on a horse can expect to fall and a small child falling from a horse has a greater chance of being injured seriously. After all, you would not expect a child of the size of the one in the picture to jump off a 5 feet wall.

In the UK we are lucky to have such a wide diversity of ponies to start children on. I cannot understand why there are not a lot more ponies in the USA
jaydee likes this.
    05-08-2013, 11:16 AM
I wish we had ponies like your native breeds! We have one pony here that DD rides, a 13.2 quarter pony, so he's not really a pony just a really short quarter horse. The ponies I've come across in my area are typically very small and ill mannered & poorly trained, somewhat to be expected when they are small enough that they can't be started by adult riders and it shows. Do see quite a few pony height Haflingers but when you show breed shows that doesn't work. If we were hunter/jumper riders instead of western performance riders, I'd have a pasture full of ponies!

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