Advice and Rant
It seems like every person I get advice from tells me something different from the last, thats if they dont automatically assume Im sixteen years old or that I bought my pony as a novelty for my children. Everyone starts somewhere and I knew a horse was too big and too much for my skill level. I have ridden but as far as Im concerned riding and owning/trading do NOT go hand in hand. So I decided on a miniature or a small pony, not to be ridden, not for my children. Eventually to put him to work around the farm. I read everything I could, I watched dvds, yes Im aware its not good enough and not the same as real world experience but everyone starts somewhere and wanted all the info I could find. I visited neihboors for some real face to face advice. I shopped around for two months while we built the barn and a paddock, and fenced a pasture. I settled on a little guy, younger than I was planning but he was great around kids and dogs, lifted his (front) feet for cleaning, allowed me to halter him, followed us around. He had never (and still hasnt) offered to bite or kick. I went into it knowing I was ready to dedicate time and money, I was not trying to train a horse for riding, that I had researched, spoken to other owners, and he was a size I felt I could handle.
Two months later and hes exactly as I pictured. I enjoy the work, I enjoy getting him to trust me and my small victories when I halter him when hes being a grump, or when he likes to be scratched in a place I couldnt a few weeks ago. That he now lifts his legs for me to clean his hooves. Hes small but even just picking up his back legs the first few times was daunting! I dont know how people with little experience manage to do it with full size horses, or seem to be fearless or think horses cant or wont hurt you.
I live in Canada on the East Coast and we get a lot of rain, the last two big storms he has been a jerk, not allowing me to halter him by prancing around, running back and forth past me in the paddock, throwing his head. Once he put his rear end to me. I wanted advice on what do do in that situation. Some people tell me to leave him alone for a few days, others have told me to keep at him until he learns. I found a few forums and this one looked to be the best, made a post about it and started reading the sticky posts. I put ads up today looking for a trainer to come teach both the pony AND myself some manners and how to deal with those situations.
Am I really in over my head? I dont feel like I am, a challenge thats for sure! Reading the stickys about when to give up and not play the hero and "green on green" ect is so discouraging. That coupled with mixed advice and people being rude (not in this forum) is really discouraging. I dont think "love" will train my pony. I think hard work, dedication and knowing when to ask for help will. Im not training a horse to ride. Sorry its so long just getting this off my chest! Advice and constructive criticism is greatly appreciated. I do not want to ruin a horse by thinking I can do something I cant.
Kudos for you for learning as you go and asking for advice when you need it!
Now what happens to you if you are stood around and get soaking wet? You get cold.
I am sure that is what has happened with your pony. He has got cold and wet and then when you go to catch him he starts to move and keeps moving to warm himself up.
I would just chase him around and make him move more than he wants.. When he shows signs of submission, lower head and licking lips, cease the pressure and odds are he will want to be caught.
Horses, when wet, will stand against the wind and just get colder. Even if they have a shelter they have not the sense to use it (unless it is hot and flies about) so when they see they are about to be caught many will act like pratts and fool around.
Take everyone's advice with a grain of salt. Trust your own experience. You'll make mistakes with your horse. It's not that big of a deal. It's been 6000 years and we still haven't all agreed on the best way to live with these critters.
Welcom to ponies. They have a mind of their own. My friend has minis for years and some never grow out of it.
Here is a question for you. When you catch this pony up do you usually work him? They (horses and ponies) can get very good at figuring out "hey.. she catches me and then I have to do something.. if she can't catch me I win!"
If you DO work him when you catch him (most of the time) I suggest you start catching him randomly thru the day, give him a bit of carrot and then turn him loose. Make catching for work random and mix it up with catching, treat and turning him loose.
Of course, a cold horse can be really full of snap for the reason stated above. I have seen that!
Turning butt to you is still a no-no.
I like that you are asking for and getting hands on help. That is just plain smart. If you were doing something else in life that you had never done before.. like specialized paperwork at a job.. you would probably ask for advice and help. I never figured out why this does not apply to training animals. :)
I think you are on the right track.
As for turning the butt to you......definetly a no-no! I would chase him and spank him (if he is close to you) until he figures out it's the right thing to do by facing you. Even those little guys can do damage with their hind hooves....
Good for you for looking for help!
If I chase him and spank him for doing that, whats stopping him from turning around and running me over? I went out today to work in the yard and its almost been a week now since hes been haltered. I usually halter, go for a long walk in the woods, tie for hooves, a short walk and back in. Last time we haltered we tied him for half an hour or more while we made repairs to the fence and he was not a happy camper. That might be why hes not letting me now. He just starts running back and forth from fence to fence, shaking his head a bit. The paddock isnt small but its by no means huge. I have some resumes emailed to me from people who answered my trainer needed ad, but what do I do in the meantime while hes running to show him Im the boss?
Do you have a pen or area that you can work him? You usually drive them away until they face you and then you back off. The reward for facing you is you quit making them run. Lots of videos and shows like join up. I don't think you need a trainer just stick it out.
Okay, here are some things to consider after you've printed and framed Ian McDonald's response:
1. Diet: A rich diet encourages activity and action - fine for a horse in hard work as they can use it up, not so fine for a horse that is worked lightly.
2. Space: Horses are designed for movement - if there's not enough room for a good run to blow off steam then a horse will have pent up energy that usually finds an outlet in perceived bad behaviour.
3. Consistency in Handling: All horses are different in how they learn and how they use what they learn. A horse who is 'learning' new things should be handled daily in the same way to help it grasp the concept, retain it, accept it and practise it. For most horses, once they 'get it' then they are less likely to be problematic. For most of us who are not professional trainers, this one can be hard to do properly as we have many interuptions in our lives such as work and family, we may not have the best of facilities, weather can conspire against us, etc. While the reasons (or excuses if you will) may be valid it does not alter the fact that we have not given the horse what he needs in training to succeed.
Finally, don't beat yourself up about this. You've recognized areas that need improvement and you're taking steps to make corrections - that's a lot better than some people do. Remember that it takes years and years to become good with horses - there is just so much to learn. Also remember a good horseperson is always learning and even the best horseperson in the world was green at one time.
Best of luck and keep us posted with your successes.
Don't give up, I don't think you are in over your head. I bought my first horses 2 years ago at the age of 37...and had never been around horses except for when we went to visit family in AZ. My husband had, I hadn't. We bought a 5 yr old paint and a yearling qh. Yes, a yearling. She will be 3 next spring, and she leads and loads and picks up feet, etc. She takes a saddle and bridle and I have even sat on her and walked. All with no previous expierence, just lots and lots of reading and watching dvds. I will most likely get a trainer involved next year, if I decide to more than pleasure riding with her. Everyone starts somewhere, like you said. I started a little late, but I love every minute of it. It's very fulfilling what you can accomplish on your own. Good luck to you!
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