Originally Posted by Delta Dawn is my girl View Post
Any ideas on how to correct her without being cruel, but showing her whos boss still effectively?
I don't know your pony's temperament and I don't know if she is truly a pony or if you're just using that term. All I can tell you is from my own experience with my almost pony. At 14.2 Big was borderline horse, borderline pony and all pony brain. He tested everyone, always, and if you failed the test you got absolutely nowhere with him. He was an absolute tank and a trail warrior. You didn't point him somewhere if you had any doubts about going....because he was absolutely fearless. He would try anything.
When I bought him, I was bored with my horse and wanted a challenge. He was certainly a challenge: willful, opinionated, but never mean.. None of my friends would ride him. I rode him for 7 years and we became a team. The way I did it was to never, ever let him doubt who was calling the shots in our little partnership. I never, ever laid a crop or hand on him in anger, but there were a few times when he was convinced he was going to die. One memorable day he was more grumpy than usual and made the mistake of snapping at me. I had a manure fork in my hand and I waved it in the air, jumping up and down and shrieking like a banshee. I'm sure he thought "WHAT THE HECK DID I DO??????" That was the last time he ever snapped, nipped or tried to bite.
When I asked him to do something, I expected him to do it. I asked, then I told....and finally, I demanded. If you gave Big an inch, he would think he had permission to take a mile. You could NOT cut him any slack and you had to be totally consistent. Always. I can't tell you how many times we circled when he wanted to head back and I didn't. If your pony is like mine was you have to be clear about what you are asking and you cannot let him avoid doing it! No excuses. No "I'm tired, I'll finish this tomorrow." "No, it's late, I need to get home." You win any dispute and you IMMEDIATELY reward him for anything
he does right. You remove the pressure the instant he complies with your request or demand. Your trainer can help you understand this. Always end every session or every ride on a good note. You don't have to be mean or cruel. You have to be fair. You have to be assertive. You can't ask him to do something and then change your mind and let it slide. He doesn't understand that. It will confuse him. The clearer you are about what you want....and that you will continue to want it until he performs, the faster the testing will end.
Big stopped testing me, but he NEVER stopped testing anyone else who got on his back. We ended up with a pretty great relationship for many years even though he was always a PIA for anyone else. You can do this. It doesn't require any special horsemanship skills. Just never, ever forget that he may be stronger (and you don't EVER want to get into a battle of strength with a horse and teach him that he IS stronger...) but you are smarter. He'll learn to depend on you for leadership. Cause you ARE smarter. Right? You can do this.