Suggestions for getting a lazy pony going forward?! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 05-31-2016, 08:29 AM Thread Starter
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Question Suggestions for getting a lazy pony going forward?!

Hi, I'm new to the whole forum set up so please be patient while I figure it out...


18 months ago I brought my pony home from a local gypsy sale.


At the time people in the local area were aware of this herd of neglected ponies and wanted to try and help. However, after these wild ponies were all sold (at their export/killing value), the local news reported that the gypsy in question was actually under prosecution for gross neglect and mistreatment. Meaning he had actually only agreed to getting rid of evidence!


The night we picked Milton up, they had been rounded up into a cramped sheep pen with quad bikes and dogs and were being wrestled to the floor and punched in the face while the 'workers' were trying to get head collars on these ponies. One small pony was pulled out by prospective buyers as it was being trampled and 3 gave themselves hernias!


When we got him home we discovered he had an infestation of mites, ringworm, a fungal infection in his mane, thrush in his hooves and bite marks from the dogs. The vet was called immediately for treatment.
Despite all of these ailments, compared to the others he was not in the worst condition by far.

Although he was incredibly flighty and spooky at first, he quickly accepted my mother and I and is now the most human orientated pony I have met...

We backed him December 2015 but unfortunately I think he is now too laid back around us and just will not move!

I am able to get him going but my mum struggles more so due to having had a long break from riding and being almost 60.

We have tried:
Normal leg aids of course,
Flapping legs,
Voice commands,
Schooling whips,
And riding on the lunge with a lunge whip in tandem with leg aids.

This all worked at first but now the only way to get him forward is to ride somewhere new each time!

Does anyone have any ideas?

Thank you in advance

I have also attached before and after pictures of him to this post
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post #2 of 9 Old 05-31-2016, 10:42 AM
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I've bought lots of gypsy ponies and horses in the past (as in ponies/horses bred and sold by gypsies) and apart from some of them being hard to catch because they've always been tethered they've often been so handled from birth they have no fear at all about getting the tack put on them or having a rider on them but they aren't actually broke for riding in the true sense of the word.
They aren't always the smartest horses either so seem to take longer to grasp things
I would treat him like a horse that has never been ridden and start him from scratch - lungeing him to train him to verbal cues and not just the whip or body language, move on from there to long reining and then transfer those cues to the saddle
At present he sounds as if he's going 'somewhere' because he wants too and not because he understands that he's being asked too
The other possibility is that he's just taking advantage of you being nice to him - some of these gypsies are hard to the point of being abusive to their horses and while you really do not want to go that route if you're sure he understands the cues then you're going to have to be a bit tougher on him than perhaps you are
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post #3 of 9 Old 06-06-2016, 05:59 AM Thread Starter
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hi i bought him from the field unhandled as a 2 year old. i couldn't get near him when i first got him so have done all of what you just said myself. he is in fact very clever too he has picked it all up very quickly despite me ensuring i repeat everything an acceptable amount of times (like i would with any horse) i.e long lining, lunging, ground manners, introduction to tack etc so he doesn't feel rushed or have an over load of activity. after riding in an arena a few times he was bored which is why he stopped bothering hence why i am taking him out a lot to get him enthusiastic. he will do what i ask in the arena it is just hard work however on a hack a little squeeze will get an upward transition so i know he understands what i am asking for...

i will admit my mother is too nice to him so i make sure i am always there to ensure she doesn't give in and let him have his own way.

i don't know how much firmer i can be with him either. at present i sqeeze with my leg and give a voice command, if that's ignored i 'flap' so he sees my leg and hears the movement (he responds better to this than a full blown kick) and if that still doesn't work i use my whip. the majority of the time i still wont get much of a response!


also in the 'before' picture we had been holding him for over 2 hours as we were trapped in by the other horses so the only reason he looks so calm is because he was so tired from the stress he was almost going down!
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post #4 of 9 Old 06-06-2016, 10:58 AM
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If you're sure that he's understanding you then the only thing you can do is to get tougher with him or find some more creative ways to persuade him that work can be fun
The latter can often get best results because these horses that have come from neglect and/or abuse can be hard to 'read', sometimes they get so used to being treated harshly they shut down to it and don't even seem to notice it any more.
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post #5 of 9 Old 06-07-2016, 10:44 AM
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Wow, what a change! I have no advice but wanted to comment on how beautiful he is!
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post #6 of 9 Old 06-07-2016, 01:16 PM
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Have you tried unsticking him mentally?

Sometimes a horse that will not move forward will move laterally, backwards or in a tight circle such as a disengage. If you can get them to do that, maybe ask for a series of those kinds of movements. A step left with the rear. A step right with the rear. A few steps back. Shoulder step over. A disengage. And then ask for forward.

One of my horses can get stuck in a rut, like his brain is stuck in a computer programing loop that just goes round and round. "Don't wanna ____" fill in the blank, but then when I ask him to do something else, he'll do as I ask, lose track of what he didn't want to do so that when I ask for it again, he does it and he gets lots of praise then.

Beautiful horse BTW.
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post #7 of 9 Old 06-07-2016, 01:25 PM
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Subbing!

He is a lovely pony, and you are a lovely person for doing right by him!

The sensitivity of the internet baffles me.
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post #8 of 9 Old 06-07-2016, 01:40 PM
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It sounds like this horse has your number and has figured out that you can't or won't make him respond to a cue correctly if he doesn't want to. To get him listening to your cues, remember ask, tell, demand......so if you ask and he refuses, tell him more forcefully by using a dressage whip to reinforce your leg, then demand if he still refuses, using the whip so he really feels it. Usually one or two demands convinces the horses that responding to the first cue is the wiser move.
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post #9 of 9 Old 06-13-2016, 07:31 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone! He is worth his weight in gold, everybody loves having him around!

I have taken everyone's advice and this is what we did....

I have made sure to long line 2-3 times a week to reinforce his knowledge of the aids and voice etc.

Whilst long lining instead of doing plain circles I do lots of figures of 8's, cerpantines, transitons, turn on the forehand and even the disengaging techinque!

(Found his bad rein to be the right rein as he doesn't bend as easily - probably because I do everything on the ground from the left- so now started lot of carrot stretching and leading from the wrong side etc)

Then once back in the saddle I have cracked down on how firm I am with him in the arena and out and about in our new places!

And guess what? HE GOES! A little squeeze and we are off no need for any reinforcement!

Now I need to get my mum up to date, consistent and as firm so he doesn't fall back into old habits again....

So much progress in so litte time with a mix of everything. I think we've cracked it, so thank you all so much
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