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SA Trail Rider 02-07-2013 10:55 AM

Nooitgedacht Pony with a slight problem.
Hi all,

I am from South Africa, which should explain the pony's weird breed name. I have been riding now for 7 years and training for 3. I have a deep passion for horses and enjoy their company and characters. I focus mainly on groundwork, in which I believe the foundation MUST be placed solidly until the horse is ridden. I generally train trail(english & western style) and western but can train english which is what this pony is meant to be trained in.

The Pony:
Name: Kingsdale Conqueror
Age:14 yrs
Gender: Gelding
Height: 13.3hh
Colour: Light Dapple Gray

Here's the story: I have been training the pony mentioned above since August 2012(Backed in July) and we have been going so well! I set all the training in place. I put all sorts of different tack on him so that he got used to it all and he took it like a champ. He has a bit of an attitude and when anyone else rides or tries to work with him, he gets pushy and aggressive.

I took him to his first show in November 2012 and it was his first time in the arena. We got all clears. No wins because I was taking it slowly and letting him stay level-headed. His second show was in early December 2012 and it was his second show and first away show and, even though he spooked at a few things, he got round the course, again, with clears. He is so brave and honest it is scary.

Then, at his second home show(he is kept with my friend on her farm right next to the equestrian centre) he started giving problems. He was running around in the lunge ring, tossing his head and just running around in circles. Once I caught him, he calmed down completely. He was calm while I tacked up too. I then hopped on him and walked down to the warm up arena and he was fine. We were fine warming up too. As soon as we touched the arena, he lost his head, which was totally unexpected. I have trained him to move forward with the lighted touch(as I refuse to ride with spurs, whips and I refused to kick a horse hard unless it is needed) which he did. He started spooking at everything. I stopped right in the middle of the arena and let him calm down(it was a training show, so no one minded at all) and then moved on and started the round. What followed was a nightmare(excuse the pun). He sticking his head in the air like a giraffe and refused to turn right! We finished the round with a clear.... but he still would not turn right!

Still to this day, no matter how much I work with him, on the ground and in the saddle, he still will not turn right without extreme ways(I have to put my leg on and only then can I ask him to turn right).

Anyone know what I can do to try and sort this out! It is his ONLY problem at the moment, otherwise he would make a SPECTACULAR pony show winner! I am currently jumping him for the owner. I want to do cross country and dressage but we have to sort out this problem first!

Thank you so much,
SA Trail Rider

loosie 02-09-2013 06:24 AM

288 Attachment(s)
Hello & welcome,

Without knowing what else has been going on aside from the showing, can't know the reason for the apparent sudden change, but it may not have been so sudden, that perhaps his earlier signs were too subtle for you to recognise before.

I suspect that pain - eg saddle pain, hoof pain, bit pain, etc is a likely cause of the failure to turn one direction, so I would be looking to rule that out or treat it before treating it as purely behavioural or trying to push him through it.


He has a bit of an attitude and when anyone else rides or tries to work with him, he gets pushy and aggressive.
You don't say anything about how much handling/training this horse has had, so this is also a guess, but as horses are rarely truly 'aggressive' & it is generally a learned behaviour due to bad experiences & handling, I'd guess that the horse was actually reacting in fear, from not being used to other people riding him.

DimSum 02-09-2013 07:17 AM

Howzit, hoe gaan dit? I can't add much to what loosie posted, except that the high-headedness sounds like it could be bit pain. When was the last time he had his teeth done?

SA Trail Rider 02-10-2013 12:13 AM


The horse was taken out of the veld and backed last year so no prior handling. He may have been abused by the trainer or someone else where he was originally from. Not sure.

I checked every piece of tack that could be causing the problem and nothing was. He had his teeth done recently and he was still the same. He had his hooves done recently too.

Ek kan nie praat die taal goed, maar ek probeer. The bit is a soft rubber snaffle that fits perfectly so I am unsure about the pain there.

DimSum 02-10-2013 06:37 AM

LOL! Well, neither can I so let's just keep it in English :) . I've been to SA on holiday and loved every minute of it. Back to your problem, if the horse has rough edges on his teeth, even though the bit is mild it could be causing pain. Can you post up a picture? I would love to see your horse!

SA Trail Rider 02-10-2013 09:44 AM


Here is the link to his "profile" on here. Conq or Old Man the horse


DimSum 02-10-2013 10:23 AM

What a lovely boy, hope you can sort things out with him.

EvilHorseOfDoom 02-10-2013 07:21 PM

Bit of a wild guess but I'm gonna throw this out there as I have known a horse that started doing similar (aged 10) for this reason - is it possible that he has developed an eye problem/diminished sight in his right eye? He may not want to turn into the unknown, or pass objects on his right-hand side because he can't see them properly. Just throwing it in there...

loosie 02-11-2013 04:25 AM

288 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by SA Trail Rider (Post 1887139)
The horse was taken out of the veld and backed last year so no prior handling. He may have been abused by the trainer

A horse doesn't have to be 'abused' to have a mental/emotional problem with something. It could be that there were things that were neglected or overlooked in initial training, so he had issues with lack of understanding, trust, experience, etc. It could also be that you maybe didn't recognise his subtle signs & overlooked or took stuff for granted yourself, that perhaps showday was just the 'final straw' when he felt the need to make it blatantly obvious & following experiences have reinforced association between the Bad Thing with turning one direction... lots of speculation & it could be purely behavioural, but IME this isn't so likely & I'd at least want to conclusively rule out physical issues first.


I checked every piece of tack that could be causing the problem and nothing was. He had his teeth done recently and he was still the same. He had his hooves done recently too.
That's a really good start. How did you check the tack, particularly the saddle for fit? Balance International is one website to look up with great info on saddle fit, design, common issues due to ill fitting, if you need more info in that regard. On the saddle possibility, he could also have had problems due to an overtightened girth, your weight or balance combined with the saddle's weight or balance, etc.

If you ride with a bit, horses can have problems with them for various reasons aside from bad teeth too. Likewise with hooves/legs, etc. While regular good hoofcare is indeed important, it isn't the only thing that may affect soundness by far and it's also possible he wasn't *well* trimmed. There are also a multitude of other physical problems that we could speculate about, but getting a good equine vet out to check him would be a good start.

I would be staying off this horse's back until the problem has been resolved, or you've at least worked out that it's nothing physical.

SA Trail Rider 03-11-2013 03:03 PM


His problem is sorted everyone. :)

Turned out that it was just a little phase and that working with him has softened up both sides. He is back to his normal brave self and free jumped 1.15m today( we did a lot of groundwork and lunging).

I'm still working with him on the ground a lot and sorting out all of the small behavior issues he has but those will all be gone soon.

Thank you to everyone for all their help. :)

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