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Jubilee 01-20-2009 09:32 AM

Training Ponies
Hey Everyone,

Here I am going to risk sounding very ignorant, but here is my question: How do you train a small pony to be ridden?

Now, I don't have a particular pony in mind, I'm talking about ponies in general. I am working towards becoming a horse trainer and riding instructor and I have a real fondness for ponies and I want to train them for use as lesson ponies for kids. I'm short enough to ride taller ponies (I'm only 5'1'') so I would not have trouble training 14hh ponies. But what about shorter ponies? I see kids riding the very little ponies that I would never be able to practically ride. Certainly the trainers didn't just throw little kids on top of the pony for it's first ride in order to train it. How do people properly train small ponies?

This is something I really want to do, I have a real passion for teaching kids so I want to be able to train ponies the right way so that I can have a good chain of lesson ponies that I trust to use with kids.

Thanks for you help,


lovemyponies 01-20-2009 11:13 AM

you can ride smaller ponies depending on the build of the pony most ponies can handle 150 lbs pretty easily

Burgundian Mercenary 01-20-2009 11:33 AM

Good question!

I've never done this myself, but the owner of the stables where I keep my horse somtimes breaks and schools ponies for use in the riding school side of the business. She usually enlists some of the experienced children when backing the ponies - there are some very dinky but very competent riders amongst the junior crowd. She starts them off (the ponies that is) on lead rein in one of the schools, before accustoming them to hacking out (walking in hand first with other horses on/off road, then ridden with other horses off road only, then ridden on/off road). Seems to work pretty well, and the kids love it.

Of course, if you don't know any small children (or, I suppose, petite adults) who can ride well, this approach may not be of much use....

Good luck!

Jubilee 01-20-2009 01:00 PM


Originally Posted by lovemyponies (Post 234492)
you can ride smaller ponies depending on the build of the pony most ponies can handle 150 lbs pretty easily

Even the small 11hh and 12hh ponies? What about the 10% weight rule (I think it's 10%) that says they can only carry so much? I know that some breeds of horses and ponies can handle carrying more weight then others, but I wouldn't want to risk hurting their backs.


iridehorses 01-20-2009 02:21 PM

20% of their weight (otherwise a 1,000lb horse could only handle 65lb rider and a western saddle)- and your question is a good one. I'm 200lb and I've got a well built 13h green broke pony that I'd like to bring along. I don't have access to small riders so I'm stuck as to what to do.

I'll watch the thread to see how it develops.

Jubilee 01-20-2009 03:37 PM

Oh right, 20%... that's what I meant, haha :P Silly me.

How much does your average 12hh or 13hh pony weigh? I calculated the minimum weight of pony that would be able to carry me and that would be about a 700lb pony (I'm working on loosing some weight so it may be even less then that with time). About how tall would that be, would you think?



Wallaby 01-20-2009 04:37 PM

I've always wondered this too... Thanks for asking! =D

LauraB 01-20-2009 07:46 PM

Unfortunately I have seen ponies that people just throw little kids on. That always bothers me because the ponies are not broke. You should be able to ride most ponies and if you think you are too big I agree with the others, find a kid that can really ride to work with you.

upnover 01-20-2009 08:23 PM

Training ponies is my focus, particularly because of my size. I'm a petite 5"2 (on a tall day :-)). You're right, there aren't many trainers out there who are small enough to ride ponies (in fact, I am the shortest trainer in my area) or kids who are experienced enough to train them. Thus my niche was found! The smallest pony I've broken is 11.3. It wasn't the easiest job because of her size and I don't think I could do anything smaller. I think anything that is too small for me to ride weight-wise would be too small for me ride properly. Very rarely do I get anything in that's less then 13 h.

Once the ponies are solid enough for a kid to hack around safely I do take advantage of the experienced kids around the barn to help. I've never tried it, but I'm not opposed to having a kid help me break a pony. One of my friends (who is an amazing rider) did that growing up. She starting riding at 3 and went to pony finals like every year until she was too old. When she was around 7 or 8 people were paying her to break ponies (with her mom's help). She's broken/trained some of the top ponies in the nation! People like her don't come along every day though....

Jubilee 01-20-2009 10:10 PM

Thanks for sharing upnover. That's kind of one reason why I want to work with ponies, because I'm so short (5'1''). I like working with the big guys, but the ponies are just so fun and not many adults can ride them. I wouldn't be looking to train anything much smaller than 12hh. I'll just be honest and tell you my weight, I'm 140lb, but that's after a Christmas holiday full of chocolates, haha. On my good months I'm about 130-135 lb. Do you think a pony of about 12hh would have trouble carrying me?

I'm all for the idea of having an experienced child help me, but I would not want to put a minor on a pony that has nver been ridden before. I would want to do the inital training myself.

Thanks again for sharing,


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