need bit recommendation for stubborn kid's pony - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 01-26-2013, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
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need bit recommendation for stubborn kid's pony

My daughters' friend has a little pony - we think he's probably a Shetland with possibly some Newfoundland in him - who knows.

He's a little guy, so an adult can't ride him to properly train him. He's had extensive groundwork, and has been used as a leadline pony.

The girls are all riding him (more or less). They are all using correct leg cues and direct reining quite well. He has a single-jointed loose-ring snaffle with bit-guards. It's pretty frustrating for the girls to ride him. He pretty much ignores everything they do. He completely ignores that bit. They pull on the inside rein, and he either ignores it completely, or just blissfully goes in whatever direction he wants to go. He doesn't really stop well either. We've done a lot of work with an adult leading him, and the rider giving all the right cues. He does know what things mean.

Since he's being ridden by kids (8-10 years old) who don't really know when to use a lighter hand, I'm a little hesitant to put any kind of harsher bit on him. Does anyone have any suggestions for a bit to use that might give better control, without hurting him if the girls have an occasional insensitive hand? I'm thinking maybe a full-cheek snaffle to physically "shove" his head in the right direction. This is my first encounter with a pony. His brain is wired a bit differently than any horse I've worked with...
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post #2 of 11 Old 01-26-2013, 07:07 PM
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Have you thought about a full cheek snaffle? It will have a little more push to it from the outside when they turn???
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post #3 of 11 Old 01-26-2013, 07:36 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Muppetgirl View Post
Have you thought about a full cheek snaffle? It will have a little more push to it from the outside when they turn???
The full-cheek is so far the only bright idea I have. I wanted to get some input from folks here before I go buy one though, in case there's a better option. It's not so easy to find a full-cheek 3.75" snaffle just laying around in someone's box of goodies, so if I'm going to buy one, I want to be somewhat confident that it's the best thing to try next.
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post #4 of 11 Old 01-26-2013, 07:45 PM
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Sometimes with willful ponies carrying a riding crop can help. If it refuses to turn sometimes a tap on the neck will inspire it to do so. Ponies like this actually turn out better riders. I'd be inclined to let the kid figure it out.



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post #5 of 11 Old 01-26-2013, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
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Sometimes with willful ponies carrying a riding crop can help. If it refuses to turn sometimes a tap on the neck will inspire it to do so. Ponies like this actually turn out better riders. I'd be inclined to let the kid figure it out.
So right, LOL! After my kids have ridden "plucky pony", they ride the responsive horses soooo much better and with more confidence.

We have tried a crop, but we've tried it on his rump to get him to trot. There's very little response from that. I suspect that he's had a crop used on his rump at some point, but that a kid has held the reins too tight, so he couldn't move forward to respond appropriately to the signal to go. He seems a bit confused in addition to stubborn.

We have not tried the crop on his shoulder. Great suggestion. We'll try that before proceeding to the full-cheek (or other suggested bit).
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post #6 of 11 Old 01-26-2013, 08:08 PM
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I'd try ground driving him to get him use to listening to the bit with someone there that is physically stonger if need be. He'll probably need tune ups often, but if it fixes the problem (even short term without being a bandaid)..why not? ) lol
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post #7 of 11 Old 01-26-2013, 08:09 PM
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What about a half breed sidepull? Then you'd get the snaffle but with the addition of the nose pressure from the sidepull part of it for a bit of an emergency brake. My kiddo put some time on my old jumping instructors little half welsh gelding (who was a typical pony as well) this past summer and started him in mine and it worked well for it's intended purpose. Then we progressed to a loose ring and he did great.

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post #8 of 11 Old 01-26-2013, 08:24 PM
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Have you tried walking along the pony and applying the reins in a simulated stop? How does the pony do with lateral and vertical flexing as cued by someone on the ground? I technically own a pony (13 hands), but Cowboy is just a mustang with short legs. He's 100% horse in personality.

If the girls just can't apply enough oomph, then an elevator bit might help.

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post #9 of 11 Old 01-26-2013, 08:34 PM Thread Starter
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Have you tried walking along the pony and applying the reins in a simulated stop? How does the pony do with lateral and vertical flexing as cued by someone on the ground? I technically own a pony (13 hands), but Cowboy is just a mustang with short legs. He's 100% horse in personality.

If the girls just can't apply enough oomph, then an elevator bit might help.
He does fine with lateral and vertical flexing if I'm next to him grabbing the reins. He has the ability to do what he's supposed to do, he just doesn't want to do it, and we haven't yet found the right "incentive" to get him to decide to do it.
He almost seems too dependent on the human at his side. He'll do halts and turns fine with an adult at his side. But once he's on his own with a rider, he'll do whatever he wants, thank you.

It will be interesting to drive him just to see what he does. His owner does have driving-reins, so that's an easy experiment.
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post #10 of 11 Old 01-27-2013, 07:49 AM
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We often used a Kimblewick (you call them Kimberwick) on ponies like this. The plain mouth means it's strong but not too severe, single rein is easier for a child to use and the D cheeks allow side pressure for turning (you can always use bit guards if they rub).
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