Need help slowing down a fast driving pony
Hi everyone! I'm new to the forum and am looking for advice. I have a 40 inch pony we got for free. Found out she drives. The thing is she trots really fast that it's hard to slow her down. She's not mean or afraid, hardly have to steer her. I think she was Amish trained. She digs in, huffs and puffs and we go! She really is fun, just want to slow her down! Harness fits perfect, got a Liverpool bit- fits perfect, and have a 4 wheeled 2 seat wagon with old fashioned brakes( the foot pedal, metal plate with rubber pads). she pulls so hard, she already wore the pads part way down!! I pull with all my might on the reins and keep the brake on and she still pulls. I'd like to take her out in a 2 wheeled cart, but I'm afraid she'll take me across the state line! All my other driving horses are nice trotters and slow down when I want. Thanks for all your replies!!
As you noticed, pulling with all your might on a pony's mouth isn't working, and all you are doing is ruining your breaks and your pony.
I would take a few steps back and ground drive the pony until you are both responding with just the lightest of cues. Pulling on a horse only results in a horse that pulls and that is a terrible habit to break, I know, I have an OTSTB that pulled when I first started him back and it is not fun for you or the horse.
If you are unable to ground drive, pay for a trainer to come out and work with you both so that you are both safe and happy driving.
work on lots of transitions long lining . and teacher the different speeds from so slow medium and fast but I do a lot of voice also .
hiya you can go back to basics lunge her keep her going and give her voice commands and she will keep going and finaly run out of steam and she should start to listen it will probley take quite a few sessions and reward her with a titbit like a carrot as you are driveing now what bit are you useing and be carefull you dont dammage the bars of her mouth she sounds like a genuine mare who likes her work if you have a long straight road and she is fit let her go at a reasonable pace in trot and gentley half halt her and tell her to work on in a slower pace and keep talking to her and also ask her to woah and reward her and work on a reward scheame and slowley with draw it to a serten extent but keep it as its a good pasifier in training and your horse will learn fast.
and in the end you will have a great little mare indeed.
I agree with everyone else, go back to the beginning.
I purchased my boy, Pilgrim from the Amish. When I first drove him I would step into the cart and he was 100 yards down the road before I sat down. For the first 3 months all we did was walk, stop and stand. Some days we would just drive 100 yards and put him away. Some days I just got in the cart, stood for 10 min then put him away. He did not know there was an option to go at any pace besides a, fast as you can, trot. I won't lie to you we still sometimes struggle with it. He is 1000% better but he still gets strong. Transitions in the trot helped a lot, going from slow trot to fast trot then back to slow, he never knew there was such a thing as a slow trot. He really likes it now. Bending when he got strong also helped. But this is all later work for your pony, you need more ground driving first.
Even though you are driving your pony, she is not trained to drive, what you have is a runaway, which you know is dangerous.
Another thing, sometimes if a horse is pulling too much weight, they can become a freight train when they pull, or they will balk and refuse to pull. Check out the weight of your buggy, you don't want it loaded to be more than the ponies weight if you are driving on good solid level ground, less than that if you are driving on rough or muddy terrain.
Good luck, keep us posted. You will have a nice driving pony when you are finished, good for you to recognize the problem and start to fix it. I know the ground work can be dull but you will have a safe pony when you are finished.
I want to correct what I said about weight. The weight I quoted was for a seasoned carriage driving horse, I would start a beginner with less weight than I mentioned.
Also OP you were trying to slow your pony down with the brakes, but as you know now, it is the basics in training that slow the pony down.
I too was thinking the weight may be a little much for her and she's trying to maintain the momentum. All horses will pull as it's innate with them. They feel the pull on the chest so they counter by pulling away. Push on a horse and he'll push back until taught to do otherwise.
Welcome to the world of Amish trained horses. The Amish do not, by and large, have horses as "pleasure". Their purpose in life is to get their owners somewhere, and that task is usually undertaken with some gusto. It can take a good deal of time to work this out of them. I agree with most everyone else, step back and work on it from the ground. If you take her out and lunge her, ask her to walk, move her up to a trot, the ask to walk again, until she fully associates the term with the gait, rather than just "go". Then step up to ground driving. I have seen horses that actually associate the cart with the trot, they'll do fine without the cart, hook them up and it's auto-trot, this one would just take time. Don't rely on the brake, if she steps into a trot, halt her, let her relax, and ask for a walk again.
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