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We have a new 9 yr old. pony, with a foal on our property. We have limited horse experience, and I wanted to learn along the way, so I brought in a gal that works with horses, and have been watching her. She started with ground work, and lunging, and the pony has done well. She had been ridden in the past, just needed some refreshing. So, the gal decided we could try riding. She rode her first, and it went fine. She got my 10 yr. old daughter on, and had her ride around. The pony does fine with her foal nearby, and is fine when the foal is at a distance and out of sight too. My daughter had one fall when the gal tried lunging the pony with my daughter on, and even though we re checked the cinch, etc, it loosened up and was slightly sliding to the side. The pony started running while being lunged and my daughter fell off the side that was slipping. This pony seems sweet, is learning better manners, but I am not sure what all we should be doing. I am a bit apprehensive after my daughter took the fall, and am wondering what led up to it, but think it must have been the saddle, and the fact that she had not done this before. I am also wondering if this horse trainer should be focusing on other areas instead of getting my daughter on so much right now? As I said, we are new to horses, and I want to do this is safely as possible, and make this a positive learning experience. What are your suggestions?
Howdy and welcome to the forum, Newpony :D.
I would guess that the pony has a habit of puffing up whenever the cinch is tightened, lots of horses have this issue. Basically the only way to manage that is to check your cinch often and tighten it whenever it's needed. Saddle her up, tighten the cinch, walk her around and/or lunge her for a couple of minutes, tighten the cinch, get on and ride for a few minutes at a walk, check the cinch, etc, etc, etc.
I wouldn't worry so much about the fall so long as your daughter isn't hurt. It happens to everyone who rides :D. The best thing that you can do is encourage your daughter to get right back on and try to figure out why the fall happened. In this case, the cinch was too loose and your daughter doesn't have enough balance yet to stay in the middle without the saddle to keep her there, not to mention that the horse started going too fast. All of those things are easily remedied and now you know what to keep an eye on in the future to lower the risk of it happening again.
Personally, I see no problem with the trainer wanting her to ride a lot this early in the game so long as she is covering the basics of handling, tacking, grooming, and caring for the horse as well. The best way to get better at riding is to do a whole lot of it :D.
I will ask though, does your daughter have a helmet? If not, that might be a good investment for your peace of mind if nothing else.
I can't say what the trainer should and should not do, but I think if it was me, I would focus on slow work for the time being. Lots and lots and lots of walking, making sure that your daughter is sitting properly and learning how to steer and stop the horse with the reins, then moving up to the trot and teaching her how to keep her body in fluid motion with the horse, making sure that she can still keep control of the pony even with the bumpier gaits. I would probably do all this on the lunge line until I was very confident that she could handle controlling the horse all on her own.
Possibly could use a breast collar. Horses with a wider set shoulders and "barrel" like horses tend to do well with them also. Just make sure she has a helmet(really good, bumps to the noggin on youngsters tend to not fly well) But as long as the trainer is developing a solid foundation your daughter should be fine. Best of luck and welcome to the horse world :) !!!
Hello and Welcome to the World of Horses!! The pony may very well be sucking up/puffing up when the cinch is tightened. What that means is when the pony anticipates the cinch being tightened she takes a deep inhalation that in turn causes her mid-section to get slightly bigger then exhales and then the cinch is loose. What smrobs suggests on tightening the cinch then walking or lunging the pony and rechecking the cinch is what you need to do. Another technique I learned from a trainer while helping to tack up school horses at her barn was when the cinch was tightened the first time cue the horse to right behind the knee of each front to pick up and pull the leg forward to take any chance of pinching of the skin behind the elbow. I did this with my own horse and she appreciated it emmensely, becasue she got to where she would almost do it on her own. All I had to do was touch the behind of her knee and she'd pick it up for me to pull out the loose skin at her elbows.
Helmets for children are a must.
Take a deep breath, mom. As grandma, my grandson hasn't taken his first fall yet. I said yet because with horseback riding it isn't 'if,' it is when (like a bicycle). My grandkids all know there is no ride without a helmet! I take lots of deep breaths when he is taking a lesson.
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