I've recently decided to look into eventing/jumper ponies. I'm going to school in the fall so can't keep my TB, but there's a possibility that I can field board so I'm looking for an easy keeper! After seeing several ponies, this weekend I saw a few more and am really on the fence of what I want.
One pony I was 100% comfortable riding, was athletic and fun, but on the lazy side, (when I tried him people said he woke up with spurs) and he's middle aged, about 10. He did hunters with his old owner, but has the scope for pony jumpers when he's awake.
The other pony was hot hot hot, but very sane (I actually lost a stirrup at one point and she kept her rhythm and wasn't stupid as I fished around for it at the canter) and yet again, another fun ride. Her gaits were a little harder to get used to, but she was super duper athletic. I was a little timid about riding her because the people said she does best when you stay out of her way, so I was working to do just that. She was definitely a challenge to ride, but it was fun. The only thing I struggled with was getting her lead changes in her hind end, (but I can't really blame myself because my old horse did them auto so I never really learned how to properly ask) and her down transitions. Her bit was a happy mouth elevator on the middle ring, and the people said that she's more responsive to a slow twist snaffle.
The people showing me the ponies suggested that they thought the lazy pony was a better fit than the hot one, but I can't 100% agree. Sure I probably looked better on the first pony, but I'm not looking for a confidence builder. I would rather take a few months to learn how to ride the difficult one than jump on the easy one and not progress. Besides, the only things I had issues with were the things I mentioned, and like I said, I can't blame myself for the lead swaps, and as for the down transitions, I think I just wasn't being aggressive enough. (I always ride defensively when I get on a new horse) Oh, and the hot pony is 6 AND actually has experience through novice eventing and in pony jumpers.
What do you guys think. Easy pony I know I won't have any problems riding, or tough pony that I'd have to work my butt off to learn?
Grey Pony: Gelding, 10 years old, 14.1 1/4 perm card. Competed in hunters with his old owner, and has been cross country schooled. The people showing me him said he regularly jumps 3'6, and either he had done a course at that height or could. (but it wasn't like he jumped 3'6 one time) Very level headed, and like I said, on the lazier side. He apparently wakes up with a little help from spurs, but when I was riding him I used a LOT of leg and was very sore afterwards. He had a very typical pony jump, and relied on me for distances. I could ask for lead changes, and he was auto with them as we jumped around a course.
Chestnut Pony: Mare, 6 years old, has perm card just above 14.1. Owned by Darren Chiacchia, (look him up) and was in training at his farm under what seems like a working student until last year. She competed up to novice there in Ocala, and then moved up north. This mare can go training level right now, has experience in pony jumpers and hasn't ever had a rail in her career. She wasn't stupid while I was trying to figure her out, and while she wasn't auto with her lead changes she knew exactly how to get around a course. She kept of her pace, was very easy to see distances with once I got with ger program, and had a very powerful back end. I have a video of her jumping (with me and with another rider) and she seems to take very long spots, (that's how I lost a stirrup, wasn't expecting a take off when we had a good stride left before a jump) but I can't figure out if that's the rider or her. I don't want to call her a "point and shoot" pony over fences, but it definitely felt like she knew what she was doing and had lots of confidence.
Just wondering, on the 2nd one, why wouldn't they put the pony in the bit she does better in?
I don't know if they had one! The people who showed me the ponies did not own them, and they were boarders at the place where I saw them. The grey and the chestnut used the same tack, so I'm assuming that it was their only pony bridle.
The chestnut had decent flatwork. It wasn't my focus, but she was very light in the bit and had very nice pace. I would definitely have to work with my trainer to learn how to get her round all the time, but the tools were all there.
It's really up to you, but I would go for the chesnut. It seems like you are pretty experianced, and there's nothing like overcoming the challenge of working with a tough horse to strengthen your bond. If you can earn the complete trust of him, and show him whose boss... I think you two will be great together.
The other one is very nice, too, but you seem drawn to the chesnut.
I would suggest a pre-purchase.....it seems like a lot of jumping with a 6 year old.....not sure at what age he was started over fences. Just because it is a pony doesnt mean it is done growing any sooner.