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pippin pony 01-06-2012 03:56 PM

free lunging/jumping my pony is it good to build our relationship?
ive had my pony 8 months now and shes so good at everything you ask her to do. ive started free lunging and added in a few little jumps. is this helping build our relationship together. this is not all i do with her shes been out hacking and we do menage work and i spend alot of time grooming her and massaging her, the only thing shes unsure of is traffic and this is why im trying to build her confidence in me. im also told its the confidence of the rider out on the road too?

Scoutrider 01-06-2012 07:34 PM

Hi and welcome, pippin pony!!

Anything you do with your horse will build your relationship, as long as you present yourself to her as a consistent, confident leader. As far as specific activities and exercises, all things in moderation, and with appropriate execution and safety/equipment considerations. If your pony is relatively young, be sure not to stress her joints with too much circling/jumping too soon. Protective boots are worthwhile as well, if she isn't already outfitted with them.

In terms of tackling new or troublesome environments, like riding on roads, the confidence of the rider can make or break the experience for the horse. A confident rider in the saddle can make all the emotional difference in the world for an unconfident horse in a potentially scary situation. Even if you're feeling unconfident, do your best to not let your mare know it! :wink: Keep smiling, breathe deeply, and ride. If your mare sees you as a leader, she will accept your confidence as assurance that there are not pony-eating-monsters out to get her, just as she accepts the authority and protection of a dominant horse in a herd situation.

If confidence on roads is something that you and your mare really struggle with, I recommend finding a confident horsey friend on a seasoned, bombproof horse to go out with you. Sometimes seeing another horse do it first and come out alive and unflapped does wonders for nervous nellies.

Good luck!! :-)

pippin pony 01-07-2012 12:02 PM

Hi Scoutrider thank you so much for your reply. The relationship between Pip and i have grown extensivley over the summer months, she will now come up the field when she sees you, she knows the car, she knows the routiene of tacking up and where we stand, she enjoys schooling as she is a ten year old and came from a RDA school. this is her strong point i pressume from her experience in the school, however she spooks and dances to big traffic, lorries buses etc. I ve walked her up and down next to the road in our field so she can see and hear the traffic in a safe envioroment. I was thinking of walking her first no rider or tack and just talking her a walk up and down the road?if this might help. I fully understand the rider confidence issue and im becoming more aware of her and her body launguage when she feels nervous etc so ive put a martingale on her just for more firm control for me and she seems to be less flighty and my confidence in getting to know her is getting better all the time , thanks for your help Andrea Pips owner X:D

Saddlebag 01-07-2012 12:26 PM

When you are free lunging remove her halter as well if she's wearing one. The more work you do with her at liberty, the stronger the connection will become. Sometimes she won't feel like doing something and that should be ok, allow that. I've had one leave the paddock, hesitate then come back. Be careful when you ride near traffic that you aren't petting her to soothe her. We can do that with children but not horses. The horse begins to see it as reward for the behaviour and thus it continues and grows. You need to look farther ahead and ride confidently. You can talk to her but not with the soothing tone. "oh my, that truck might be noisy but we're not going to worry about it". Talk to her like you would a friend, after all, she is. It's your confidence she will pick up on.

pippin pony 01-07-2012 01:30 PM

Hi thanks Saddlebags i will remove her halter tomo when we have a play, thanks for all your comments and suggestions i will take them all on board and see how she gets on thanks andrea:-)

Scoutrider 01-07-2012 03:47 PM


Originally Posted by pippin pony (Post 1297710)
I was thinking of walking her first no rider or tack and just talking her a walk up and down the road?if this might help.

Taking her for a walk in-hand can be a great way to work up both of your confidence. When I was first figuring out where my greenie was in terms of exposure to trail riding and hacking, I took him on a couple of walks to test the waters before we ventured out for a real ride. When I put in my outdoor arena a few years ago, I had reservations of having it as close to the road as it is (I live on a busy highway, with heavy truck traffic at times). It really is a plus, having the arena where it is.

Pip sounds like a great pony! I would imagine that a lot of her difficulty with the higher-stress environment of the road is because of her past-life as an RDA pony. Sometimes horses in lesson programs or similar, especially if they are more often ridden by younger, less experienced, or special-needs riders, are excellent in the arena, or in walk and trot, but aren't so often taken out of the arena, or pushed to work harder. So, when they are taken out for a hack, or pushed up into canter, it is less familiar than the work that they normally do. I expect that with time and exposure, Pip will come to get used to calmly riding along the road.

Good luck!! :-)

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