Pony Training - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 12-15-2019, 01:03 AM Thread Starter
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Pony Training

Good morning/evening everyone!

Lately my grandma's little pony has started acting up. He's pretty much only halter broke and like a typical pony, has a BIG attitude. If he was a person, he'd probably be the most sarcastic and goofy guy you'd ever meet lol. Anyway, he has this habit of turning his butt to you. Never kicks or does anything, just turns his butt. Now, when I was in the pen more regularly and around him more often, I made sure he didn't do it to me and once he learnt he couldn't get away with it with me, he stopped doing it. However, my grandma isn't very strong and he knows this so he'll be pushy around her and doesn't always lead nicely for her.

So I'm thinking about trying to train this pony and teach him to drive. My grandpa made a little cart 3 years ago that holds 2 people at a time, so it's not big and I think it would be good to teach this little guy to pull the cart. My grandma also cannot ride any longer, so I thought this could be a good way for her to be able to still go riding without being on a horse.


Anyway, so what are some tips and tricks you guys have for training ponies, especially when it comes to teaching them to pull a cart?
It feels a little tricky with ground work cause of how small they are lol


This pony is a 6 year old gelding named Smokey. Breed is unknown (guesses are welcome) and he's only about 39" tall. He's also extremely food motivated xD So I plan to use that in my favor lol.
Oh, and how do you find tack that fits such a little pony? I'm just wondering what size harness he'd need and headstall.

Any other tips and tricks when it comes to ponies is welcomed! I also sadly won't have a ton of time to work with him since it's winter and there's no sheltered space to work with him in so the snow will cause some trouble plus I have my own horses to deal with. But I figured I should do something to make him safer for my grandma to handle since he's the kind of pony that needs a job and gets into trouble and is tempermental when he's bored.


And a pic of the cute little trouble maker himself.
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post #2 of 3 Old 12-15-2019, 03:03 AM
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Hello!

Yeah, horses learn to do what works & quit doing what doesn't work. So it sounds like you have taught him effectively not to turn his backside to YOU, but if your grandma doesn't enforce this, if it works for him to do it to her, he will keep it up with her & others who allow it, regardless how you train him. I don't know that you can teach him not to do it to her if he's already learned it's OK to, but you might teach HER not to allow it/what to do about it.

Sounds like you appreciate this already, if you are planning on using food as training rewards, but don't forget, punishment/undesirable consequences for 'wrong' behaviour should only be part of it - Rewards/desirable consequences should also be a big part of training.

Your comments about 'gets in trouble & temperamental when bored' lead me to think he lives by himself? If so, I'd highly advise getting him a mate, altho another horse may be too much for your Grandma, if this little guy is already. Perhaps a goat, sheep, maremma...

I will leave the harness/driving specific comments to others, as I'm a 'beginner' on that front myself. But preliminary stuff will include getting him comfortable with ropes & straps around him, around his legs, dangling etc. Give him lots of experience & get him really good with ground driving, take him out & about to get him used to & desensitised to the sights & sounds he will be exposed to when driving. Get him used to stuff 'chasing' him & dragging stuff. At first, you can just drag something or other yourself, starting with a long rope, so it's not too close for comfort. Gradually get him used to it being closer etc.
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post #3 of 3 Old 12-15-2019, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie View Post
Hello!

Yeah, horses learn to do what works & quit doing what doesn't work. So it sounds like you have taught him effectively not to turn his backside to YOU, but if your grandma doesn't enforce this, if it works for him to do it to her, he will keep it up with her & others who allow it, regardless how you train him. I don't know that you can teach him not to do it to her if he's already learned it's OK to, but you might teach HER not to allow it/what to do about it.

Sounds like you appreciate this already, if you are planning on using food as training rewards, but don't forget, punishment/undesirable consequences for 'wrong' behaviour should only be part of it - Rewards/desirable consequences should also be a big part of training.

Your comments about 'gets in trouble & temperamental when bored' lead me to think he lives by himself? If so, I'd highly advise getting him a mate, altho another horse may be too much for your Grandma, if this little guy is already. Perhaps a goat, sheep, maremma...

I will leave the harness/driving specific comments to others, as I'm a 'beginner' on that front myself. But preliminary stuff will include getting him comfortable with ropes & straps around him, around his legs, dangling etc. Give him lots of experience & get him really good with ground driving, take him out & about to get him used to & desensitised to the sights & sounds he will be exposed to when driving. Get him used to stuff 'chasing' him & dragging stuff. At first, you can just drag something or other yourself, starting with a long rope, so it's not too close for comfort. Gradually get him used to it being closer etc.

The thing is, if I teach him something, he's actually good about it for other people. For example, if not worked, he'll get pushy when it comes to leading him around. But if I then lead him and don't allow him to have his way when being led and do this maybe two days in a row, then he behaves for everyone else who leads him for the next week or two before he'll start reverting back to his pushiness. So as long as I, or someone more able comes along once in a while to refresh him on his manners, he's fine. And if he's being worked, then he stays good longer.

He does have a friend. My grandma has 20+ year old mare in with him that was a rescue. And even though she's getting old and is underweight (due to where she came from but is gaining weight now) she still has plenty of energy and the two play together all the time. Smokey getting into trouble and being temperamental at times is just part of his personality.
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