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unicorngirl9 03-06-2013 02:00 PM

Training Small Pony?
I've posted of the forum a few times now about training our 11.2 hand pony, and I've gotten a lot of responses, but I'm just paranoid, I guess!

I will try to get a picture up of her here soon, but, this is where we're at... She is around 500-510 lbs. She is 11.2 hands. Is 14 years old. And is a brat beyond all reason!

I have been working her up and down hills and trotting, to build her muscle, and she is an all around good pony. Good ground manners, nice with kids, dogs, other horses... Well, on the ground. However, she is a BAD little pony with anyone on top of her!

I would love for my younger siblings to be able to ride her (there are 5 of them, 60 lb and under). But after trying to let my "oldest-younger" brother sit up on her, she tossed him right away.

I wondered if I would be able to at least break her in, get her to listen, and then let the kids take over. I am 5' tall, and 115 lb. I'm am small! But I still feel like I might be too big! She is a welsh cross, and has a very thick bone structure. I've been told not to risk it, and that she would be fine, and to just try it and see how she reacts....

Any ideas on going about this? I've looked and thus far there are no kids, or adults that are smaller than me as trainers in my area.....

If others had pics of a small pony being broken in, or videos, that would be so awesome!

Thank you!

palogal 03-06-2013 02:04 PM

An average horse can carry 20% of it's weight. You're not too far above that. Not to mention this is a cob. If she's a well built, thick boned cob, IMO, you're fine - ride her.

Foxhunter 03-06-2013 03:41 PM

I am 5'9" weighed about 140 - 147 at my best and can assure you that there have been more times than I can count when I have stepped onto small naughty ponies that keep dislodging their riders!

Once ponies get away with something then they will continue to do so.
Be not afraid to get on the begger, sit heavy, keep your hands high to stop her getting her head down and drive her forward at a trot or canter and keep her going until she is sweating and tired - then give her 10 minutes longer before sitting a child on her.
It will do her no harm other than making her realise that she cannot evade work by dropping her rider.

unicorngirl9 03-11-2013 06:00 PM

Well....... I decided to go for it...... I think we made ground..... Or, at least after landing on the ground 7 times, I was able to sit on her!

And, over the course of an hour or so, I got her to take a few steps forward! (yay) After that, I called it a day, and went in to ice my arms and ribs....

This is after working her for 20 minutes on walk -trot - walk on the lunge!!!

Whew! Who'd have thought ponies could be so much fun?

oobiedoo 03-12-2013 02:38 AM

Way to go! Please keep us posted on how things go. I may have to resort to this myself, my pony's rider is a four year old. So I'm really interested in seeing if this carries over into the kids being able to ride. Ponies are smart and know who can make them behave and who can't. Chloe, the four year old, only rides on a leadline so far. Good luck!

SorrelHorse 03-12-2013 02:44 AM

You need to get this horse's respect on the ground before you attempt to sit on her. She is going nothing but disrespecting you. Get bossy.

Clinton Anderson is good. I'm not an NH freak but he has a similar training style to myself which is why I like him. He doesn't take any crap from horses.

Downunder Horsemanship TV

you can watch the show there, which is a start.

You can do the groundwork and make him focus. It's amazing how fast groundwork can fix problems.

If he tries to buck, don't be afraid to jump off and get AFTER him! I've jumped off my mare on multiple occasions when I felt I was in danger. Not only do you get off their backs, but it scares the sh*t out of them when suddenly you're off and flying at them mach 5. Chase their hip around, chase them sideways, back up, MOVE. Don't do a half-a** attempt at jumping at them. I mean RUN and if you aren't panting hard, you're doing it wrong.

Foxhunter 03-12-2013 04:58 PM


Originally Posted by SorrelHorse (Post 1934115)
You need to get this horse's respect on the ground before you attempt to sit on her. She is going nothing but disrespecting you. Get bossy.

I would agree with you but there are ponies that can have all the ground respect but have learned to ignore it when ridden!

I was running a busy riding school/livery yard many moons ago. I returned from exercise to find a grey pony tied in the yard.
I knew exactly who had left it there! It was a friend who was also the local knackerman. It was not unusual for him to pick up a pony to be putdown, usually with laminitis. He would buy it and send it to me to see if I could get it right.
I was expecting this fat Welsh pony, all of 11.2 to be laminitic but, he showed no signs.
When I spoke to friend on the phone he told me that the pony was unrideable but, that I could probably sort it.
Pony was very well mannered, accepted tack, lunged, long reined without fault. Put a rider on him and even with me holding his head up he could throw that rider 8 feet to the side!

I had four different rider come off him in the space of an hour - after a good lunge workout.
I had a ride to take out so left the older children to keep getting on it and to ride the heck out of the little beggar.
An hour later it was still dropping them all but, it was getting tired.
I told the children they were useless and to bring it to me.
I stepped on it and set to whacking it both sides with two dressage whips. I sent it off at a fast canter. It went around the arena twice and then int the corner it threw itself on the ground - at the canter! I was not quick enough to do anything about it other than to step straight back on. Next time I was ready and landed on my feet, pinning pony down. I had all the children pile on top of it and stay there for some minutes. When allowed to stand I was straight back on and he was fine. The kids kept riding him with no problems. A month later I was using him in Riding for the Disabled.

That pony was sold several times but stayed in the yard. I had moved on and coming home for a break I went to a show to catch up with some friends.
I was stood by the minimus jumping when a pony came in a deliberately dropped its rider into the first fence. He did this twice and I remarked to my friend "What a dirty little pony!" Her reply was "You should know, that's Breeze!"
I never recognised him as several years had passed and he was now totally white.
I was in the arena, took his reins. put the child back up and told Breeze in no uncertain terms that he had better behave - or else!
I ran leading the kiddie over three or four fences and then let her go on her own. Breeze went around beautifully and when the girl went to ride out the ring Breeze turned and trotted back to me.

Ponies are clever and will use their brains to get out of doing anything if they think they can!

Often naughty ponies come really good when the rider has outgrown them and has the strength to make them obey. That pony can be sold and immediately revert to naughty because of a small rider.

Seen it so many times.

oobiedoo 03-12-2013 06:18 PM

Foxhunter, That's exactly why I don't believe the ads that state "child safe babysitter" pony. Seems like the smaller, the smarter :) Years ago I knew a lady with a four year old son, and a pretty pony named King. The little boy showed him in walk/trot as he was a " push button " pony in the show ring, I have no doubt he knew every command the announcer called for. At home the child was scared to death of him, would not ride him outside of a ring. Ponies know who can and who cannot handle them.

loosie 03-12-2013 10:16 PM

288 Attachment(s)
I agree Unicorn, that you're not too heavy for light riding, for training purposes, *assuming her back etc is alright. Interested to know what this pony's done before you came along? I'd also want to rule out any physical problems she may have before working on training.


Originally Posted by unicorngirl9 (Post 1933303)
Well....... I decided to go for it...... I think we made ground..... Or, at least after landing on the ground 7 times, I was able to sit on her!

:lol::lol: I think I'd prefer to 'make ground' without hitting it! Also without the horse getting more practice at getting anxious & bucking you off! The way I'd do it would be starting from scratch. Who knows, maybe she's never been started under saddle.

I'd start with ensuring she was comfortable with saddling, being controlled from behind the shoulder('leading' her with 2 reins from where you'd be if riding) things waving above her or flapping, weight on her back(with a chaff bag or such), etc. Before I'd try to ride her.

I also get them used to being leaned on & over, before throwing a leg over, mounting & dismounting before spending time up there, sitting mounted for a while before actually asking for anything... IOW, do it in small steps, think of it as building the foundations first.


And, over the course of an hour or so, I got her to take a few steps ....
This is after working her for 20 minutes on walk -trot - walk on the lunge!!!
I think that is a bit much & that short, easy, fun sessions are best. Nothing to say you can't spend an hour & a half teaching her, but I'd start out doing it in 5-10 minute 'lessons'(sometimes even less depending on what's going on). I've found you'll tend to get a lot more achieved, with low stress & a more positive attitude towards your 'games' from the horse.

See if you can think of it as - & make it into - a game rather than a chore. Try to set it up that you both 'win' each round, rather than .... how many times did you 'win' that day & she 'lost'? How many times did she get to practice winning & you losing?

loosie 03-12-2013 10:24 PM

288 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by oobiedoo (Post 1935044)
Ponies know who can and who cannot handle them.

I don't know that it's just ponies at all, or certain breeds for that matter, that are smarter or dumber. Sure, we've bred different types with different traits behaviourally as well as physically, but there are the odd 'dumb' ponies, as there are Arabs, Warmbloods, Clydies, bull terriors, people.... oh wait, getting carried away:-P.... but for the most part, they're all pretty smart IMO, in their own ways, and - excluding people:? - they're all very good at reading & working out people!

What's that saying.... That for someone to be an effective trainer, they must be smarter than the animal in question... which is why some animals are harder to train than others!:-P:lol:

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