I wanna start ponying one of the older horses along with my WP horse on trails. These two have been pasture buddies for 4 years so they both get along very well. I've already ponied them around the barn property, in the arena, in and around the round pen.
Do you believe this is a good start to pony on trails. Both have been on the trails individually and together. I need opinions!
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I know some people who do it.. but two horses is ALOT of horse for just one person. you really need to know what your doing when you put that on your plate :) just incase a bear or some animals thinks its okay to say hello to the ponies :)
A always pony the young ones off our finished penner, and a good pony horse is worth its weight in gold. If your WP horse is a good, calm horse on the trails that works well with another horse right on its shoulder you shouldn't have any problem at all.
In general your biggest hazard is the lead rope..make sure it never gets looped around your hand or that the ponied horse winds up crossing in front or behind you. In my experience, if you get in a jam, let go of the rope and just back up or circle around to pick it back up. If you remain relaxed, I've never had a horse run off from me.
I do this a lot. I use my older gelding, my roping saddle, and if the pony chooses to be bad? Fine, we'll dally and my gelding will put his butt in the ground and PULL. That's why I love him. lol
But in all seriousness, it's a great way to do it. When I was getting my mare who was bad on trails ready to go on outside rides, I ponied her behind that gelding and then at our turnaround spot I tied that gelding, got off, switched the saddle over to her and then led the gelding back while riding her. We were in the middle of nowhere and I am extremely confident if I got into trouble with her he would groundtie if I dropped the rope...And he did, every single time.
I really would like because he's older and doesn't get ridden a lot due to his sway back and age. I just think it'd be good for both him and the mare. Thanks for the input so far guys! I appreciate it. (:
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Ponying horses around the pasture is one thing and its a great start. However, your lead horse must be very tolerant of the other horse. Be prepared to have to go single file on some paths that may not be wide enough for two horses, or if you come across a horse coming the other way. If your lead horse isnt okay with having another horse directly behind them you could get yourself into trouble.
Ponying is a great way to exercise more than one at a time. I will take out up to three at a time, across the fields checking cattle, or just exercising them. I like to have them all saddled so I can switch who is being rode. It is just easier if the saddles are already on because there really isn't anywhere to tie them up where I ride. I always start out teaching a new horse about ponying by being on my one mare who will not tolerate any misbehavior from the other horse (funny thing though she is the worst one to pony). Unless the trail etc that we are on requires a horse behind the other, the horses being ponied keep their heads at my legs. Not ahead, not behind. To me this helps with the control of all of the horses. I never tie off onto the saddle horn and only dally if I am working with a young or obstinate one who needs a reminder as to what they are supposed to be doing.
Like anything else we do with our horses, there should be proper respect and behavior at all times. You have set the basis by practicing in a controlled environment which is great. Make sure you practice at all speeds that you may be going though, if you haven't already.
What about ponying while another rider is on the other horse?
Was thinking about the possibility once I get another horse, as my OH is a beginner and just want to make sure he doesn't have any bad experiences early on (horse taking off ect). Anybody have any experience with that or is a completely unsafe thing to do?
I haven't ridden a horse while it was being ponied, but quite a few times my friends and I had gotten into sticky situations when we were younger and we had to ride double and pony a horse/pony back to the barn.
As long as you and your horses are very experienced with ponying, you can lead another rider. I did it with my own children when they were small and wanted to come along as we moved cattle or I exercised my barrel horses. My father and I have done it quite often for the first ride on a horse, just to get them started off on a positive note (we have never had a round pen or arena).
But when you are ponying, you and your horse are the "lead mare" so to speak and in control. The person on the horse being ponied is not riding, they are just a passenger. As that rider starts to want to handle some of the steering, you have to let them go or else you can really confuse the horse.
Here is a picture of my niece and nephew on my horses....yes my nephew doesn't have on his helmet and is wearing shorts. Yes my niece has on runners. But the picture shows where the horses should be when ponying. And who has the control.
Zena's head is in line with my niece's leg. My niece is focused on both horses. My nephew is just hanging on enjoying a walk around the yard on "his" horse.
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