Training Small Ponies as childrens mounts
   

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Training Small Ponies as childrens mounts

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  • Starting kids on naughty ponies
  • How to train a great kids horse

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    03-01-2013, 11:05 AM
  #1
Weanling
Training Small Ponies as childrens mounts

I don't plan on getting a small pony anytime soon, but eventually, I would like my future kid to have one (again, this is 5-10 years in the future).

My plan is to get it as a companion for my horse (because I only want one myself, and I'd rather have a smaller belly to feed as its companion) and train it to be a childrens mount. When the kid is responsible enough, I will teach him/her to ride. When the kid outgrows the horse, I will teach it to drive because 'm not the type of person to get rid of an animal just because its not good for the reason I bought it anymore.

Anyways, my question is how do you train a small horse/pony? I am 5'5", medium build and have trouble sitting on anything smaller that 15hh. I obviously can't let a kid train it as a mount, but I won't even try to sit on the small pony. Training it to drive won't be an issue, just training it as a mount.

Thanks
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    03-01-2013, 11:18 AM
  #2
Showing
IMHO, that's the biggest problem when it comes to having ponies as kid horses. So many times they lack any sort of decent training because most adults who know how to train are just too big to ride them.

I really don't know how you'd go about training them for riding without actually riding, but have you considered maybe getting a small horse/large pony (around 13 hands) instead of a really small pony? That way, the kid would have more time to ride them before they outgrew them and they would still be big enough for an adult to train and tune them up. I mean, sure, a pony would require less feed (though they do seem more prone to founder), but if your child outgrows them in just a few years, then you're still stuck needing another horse that is the right size for them.

Just as an example, this is a 3 year old Shetland/QH cross that I broke a while back. He ate significantly less than my full sized horses, but he was still big enough that I could ride him and feel comfortable about not hurting him (I am about your size, 5'5 and medium build). His temperament was just so that he would have made an excellent kid horse with some years and miles on him.
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    03-01-2013, 11:33 AM
  #3
Started
I really like smrobs way of thinking, why buy a very small pony when something around 13hh or so (especially the build of the one smrobs posted) would do, for many years to come. Heck I am 5'4 and I ride a 14hh horse. I don't know why you don't feel comfortable on anything less than 15hh. Sometimes I think people look better on a short stocky horse rather than a tall gangly one (not saying tall horses can't be stocky and vice versa)

I do like how you are willing to keep the horse and train him for other things as well instead of just getting rid of it
     
    03-01-2013, 11:40 AM
  #4
Weanling
Good point. A larger pony may be a good idea. I don't know why I had my mind set on a smaller pony. Now that I see there really is no way to train it, I'll probably get a larger one. That's why I'm asking way in advance though haha. I'm still trying to figure out how to incorporate horses into my life. Ten months without horses and I'm going crazy. I can't imagine not having at least one :P
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    03-01-2013, 11:57 AM
  #5
Showing
I always made sure the pony could carry my weight of 122 lbs. Even the shetland was ok with it bareback but it was hard work staying on her. I enjoyed riding her as she would march right along at the walk. If I'd allowed her to trot I'm sure I'd have bounced off by the third stride. Canter-forget it.
     
    03-01-2013, 12:17 PM
  #6
Showing
There are ways to train it, I'm just not sure how to go about it since I've never had to do it. The only tiny critter I ever really trained...I did so when I was small enough to ride him (I stopped riding him completely by the time I was 7). I could ride him pretty much anywhere (only got bucked off once :LOL:), but it was frustrating more often than not just because the quality training wasn't there. I had a much better relationship with the 16hh horse I started riding after him.
     
    03-01-2013, 12:38 PM
  #7
Super Moderator
In the Uk we have a diverse selection of ponies and most will carry a lightweight adult. Heck many will carry a heavier adult for a while!

Welsh ponies (Section A& Bs) use to be used by farmers on the Welsh hills to carry not only the farmer but also a couple of bales of hay (one on the farmers back and the other balanced across the ponies neck) Ditto with the Dartmoor's and Exmoor's and Shetlands.
All the 'natives were work horses, Fells, Dales, Highlands, New Forest and Connemara's had a purpose in life.

It is easier to start a small pony with a rider as they very rarely ever object (I always say it is not the weight but the shadow they see above them that causes problems) Ponies are use to people being above them.
I start them the same as I would a horse, then I will use a better child rider to start riding them and I am never 'nice' to ponies in that I will have kids vault onto them, do round the world, leap frog onto them and generally get them use to all sorts of silly things a child will do with them.

Many times I have had 'problem' ponies sent to me to 'sort out'. They are only problematic because they have learned what to do to either ditch a rider or avoid work.
One such pony I bought for 50. He was fantastic looking, bred for showing, moved like a horse and was obviously as sharp as a razor.
The problem lay with the canter. One stride and his head went down and he would send a rider flying. Brother could that little beggar buck!
My niece rode him, she was good for her age but, he would send her flying every time he cantered. One day he broke into a canter on the road and she was pretty shaken. I was so mad I got off my horse, stuck niece on him and got on the pony (13.1) I bear him straight into a canter. He found it hard to buck with my weight, cantered him up the hill. Along the road, past the stables and up a very steep hill and then continued to the top of the hill - a distance of about a mile. He lost all thought of bucking by the time he got to the top,
I actually rode him for about four days, my feet were below his knees and he felt my weight but, I really didn't care. He was no good as a child's pony if he thought it good sport to drop them every time they cantered.
I rode him up a very steep hill - he wanted to stop half way up but I kept him going. I rode him down the hill and then put my niece on him. He never ever bucked with her or anyone again.
At 5'9" and 140 lbs (a long time ago) I would get on an 11.2 that was being naughty with a child rider. They soon learned that bad behaviour meant work and hard work at that.

As long as they respect the adult they will behave with the children!
Naughty ponies usually go very well when the child has outgrown them and has the strength to make them behave!
     
    03-01-2013, 05:53 PM
  #8
Weanling
My friend has a 13hh Pony that she rides, she is 5'10 and a bit stocky built. I am 5'7 but really light and I have jumped on the shetlands bareback for a few minutes before I would put little kids on. It might be possible if there are some riding groups around or 4h, you could find a kid who is light enough and who knows how to ride and put them on for a few rides. I know around here there are little kids who will go run the big horses (16hh+) in barrel racing full out. And a pony would be a much shorter fall than a full size horse. You could always go for a bigger pony like suggested above, or try to find a little cowboy/cowgirl to put a few rides on. :)
     
    03-02-2013, 02:31 PM
  #9
Green Broke
1) find a small trainer who specializes in ponies. I'm 5"2 on a good day and I think the smallest pony someone brought me was about 10 hands? Yes that sucker bucked me off the first time we cantered bc I had NOTHING to hang on to! But (other then that one time) she had a super personality and ended up being one of the best kids ponies around. A friend of mine who showed ponies growing up said shed have people bring her ponies all the time when she was 9 and 10 years old. She was a phenomenal rider and grew up doing it so she was a bit unique but there are kids out there like her who are fantastic.

2) what everyone else said, get something bigger. I would look first a suitability and personality before size. One of our absolute best school horses who I would trust with anyone is 15h.
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    03-02-2013, 05:36 PM
  #10
Green Broke
I too have wondered about this. I have seen some absolutely AWESOME 12hh jumping ponies.. well schooled and honest.. and always wondered who and how they were trained. These honest little ponies sell for big dollars (or used to) so there must be a way to do it without being a bug weight jockey!!!
     

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