Ground Work for aged pony?
I'm moving the horses to a new yard on Monday with good facilities... which will be great as I have no facilities at all right now.
My background: TB racing... I went through the "learning to ride" system very/too quickly and ponies are completely beyond my radar for the most part. I had plenty of experience breaking TBs for racing before kids, but the amount of ground work I did was quite limited, and as they were all blank canvasses they were all fairly straight forward.
The pony: Nod is 22yo, we've had her a month. Although well used in a riding school she was ignored for the last year and is more than a little marish.
I've had the farrier, dentist, chiro and vet all take a look at her. All is fine.
Things I'm noticing:
1. She is very girth sour. Touch the girth area and the ears go back and I get the narky faces. I've been going in daily and brushing her, rubbing my hand around her barrel and just spending time. She has got better, but I'd like to have her content with it. She doesn't actually do anything, but I'd like to get away from the death stare.
2. Not entirely happy with people around the back end. Stood perfectly fine for the farrier, can pick feet out no problem but mess about trying to get muck out and she's NOT happy. Today she half-heartily kicked... I got after her, went back to continue on and not a budge out of her so thinking she is still testing the water?
3. Out in the field, she isn't afraid to let loose with the hind end to Bandit. Obviously when out loose in the field there is little I can do to correct this, but I would like to try and nip this in the bud as I would have a slight concern about shows.
She has put on a good bit of condition since her arrival and has brought my daughter's interest back (yay!) but has anybody any ground work advice that will help me work through this few kinks?
This pony is old, and may be older than you were told too.
What are you wanting to do groundwork with her for?
She may well be past age when she wants to do much period, much less groundwork for no purpose.
Get a younger pony, or small horse would be my suggestion.
It doesn't matter what age a pony/horse is - kicking out is not acceptable by any means and it is a behaviour that needs to be stopped.
The pony is indeed the age I said, her passport/paperwork and microchip all match up.
She enjoys her work when she is being ridden, she has a good step to her and is fantastic with my child when being ridden. She's a babysitter who enjoys being with the kids when they are up on her back.
i still do groundwork and natural horsemanship with mine as it helps strengthen our bond as im talking in his language for a change instead of him having to try and understand me in a language he doesnt understand
maybe try doing join up ( youtube it) to show who's the leader in the relationship might help with kicking issues.
i watched a tv programme which featured a girthy horse being 'cured' as such, and as i work at a riding school with lots of girthy and bitey horses, i tried out the technique with them and its helped a lot!
what you do is:
Get all the tack you need out and detach the girth from the saddle and the saddle pad from the saddle and set them out , tie the pony up close by
start with the saddle pad, rub her with it then put on her, wait a few seconds, the take it of repeat until she shows not reaction to it ( could take awhile be patient!) repeat on other side
do exactly the same with saddle till no reactions ( both sides of horse)
then attach the girth to one side then remove repeat till no reactions (both sides)
THEN FINALLY do up girth then undo after a couple seconds, repeat till she doesnt care anymore the repeat on opposite side and then just leave it done up :)
longwinded but it worked for mine who already bit when girthed, hopefully it will work out for you! :)
Ponies are smart and being a lesson pony she has learned what works to intimidate the newbie riders. Just go ahead and saddle her, do up the girth. Never mind how she carries on. You are interpreting her looking at you as a death stare. Then don't look at her eyes. She's figuring you out and will expand her bag of tricks if you don't ignore how she's trying to intimidate you. What she was doing in the pasture was telling Bandit to stay away from her. You can't influence herd dynamics. It has nothing to do with groundwork or being ridden. It's how horses have survived for millenia, by establishing a hierarchy.
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