Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: A small town in NY
• Horses: 0
We got a new therapy pony over the summer and it took forever to train him. He's very smart and gets bored easily, and was also quite spooky and hated sidewalkers. He has just recently gotten into the program.
I'm glad you're working with your horse before he even goes to the therapeutic barn. If someone had laid some groundwork with our guy, it would have been so much easier.
One of the biggest things you can do is mock therapy lessons. You could put a surcingle on him because a lot of therapy barns have their horses tacked with 'handles', surcingles with - you guessed it - a handle. Have someone on his back who will do all sorts of things - wiggle, make a lot of noise, rocking back and forth, etc. like a kid going for therapy would. Have two people sidewalking closely, even holding onto the person on your horse. Make sure you or another confident leader is leading in case your horse isn't thrilled by this :) Eventually, you can work up to doing other stuff around him like having other people toss a ball around or burst into applause near him while you're doing your therapy session. Above all, make sure he is thinking instead of reacting.
Also, any problem areas you know your pony has - things flapping in the wind, things rolling in front of her, etc, should be worked on.
Hope I helped!
A horse is a mirror to your soul. And sometimes you may not like what you see. - Buck Brannaman