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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just got my first pony this year for Christmas. I'd been riding him since August. He is a 1/4 Arab, 1/4 welsh, and 1/2 grade pony. He's five years old and 12.1 hands so I'm limited on people that I can let on him. He's gelded too. Thumper had been going along great for the first few months. I started riding him bareback and with a halter and clip on reins. We got the the point where we could trot around the arena multiple times without stopping, but it was a small arena. I noticed that Thumper was getting bored in the arena so I talked to his owner (at the time)/ breeder and she suggested getting out poles and barrels and so he would have to think. At that point he was kicking out whenever I asked him to trot and even sometimes when I asked him to walk. I tried riding him in the front field, but he got too stressed out there by himself so that didn't work. He's fine on trails, but would rather trot to keep up with the horse in front of him (he doesn't always trot if we're leading and I ask him to. I want to try to endurance ride him, but also compete in a few schooling shows and the local 4-H fair with him. I'm not trying to win everything, though it'd be nice, I'd just appreciate it if he'd go when I asked him to. I know that it's not his tack (we went through at least 20 to find one that fit him perfectly). I'm going to get the vet to check his teeth when he comes, but I doubt that's the problem because he was find when I first started riding him. Ive been doing Parelli with him, but just on the ground. He seems to enjoy it and is learning quickly. At the barn I have him at now I can ride him in the outdoor arena with other horses which he seems to enjoy a lot more than the indoor which I understand, but he should still listen right? Basically I'm looking for tips on how to get him to listen to me better and trot/ canter when I ask. He used to do both perfectly, even getting the correct leads. I have no idea why he stopped listening, but what I've learned from riding horses for about 12 years is that it was probably something I did. Sorry this is so long, thank you for you time!
 

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Ponies are smart. I think he's figuring out what he can get away with with you. If he is responding to the Parelli work then he's seeing you as his leader but not when you are in the saddle. Keep up the groundwork focusing on keeping his feet moving, forward, backward and laterally. Get his hip moving over, then his shoulder. When you lead him, don't turn to the left as then he's telling you where to walk (in his mind). Always turn him away from you so you are telling him.
 

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Are you clunking him in the mouth or back when you ask him to go? Or gripping with your knees thus jamming his shoulders?
Sounds to me like a typical pony that has pulled the wool over his young rider's eyes!!!

Get yourself and instructor that can help with your riding - or if that's not possible, can you post a video of you riding the pony here, so we can see what's going on?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Have you ruled out back pain? That sounds like a very plausible cause for this. I suggest you get a chiropractor out to look at him.
I haven't really thought about that, though it seems plausible. He basically has no topline because he pretty much didn't do anything for the first few years of his life (he'd never been ridden until late august/ September). I use a thick fleece saddle pad when I ride to protect his back and I usually don't ride that long. The vets coming out soon, so I will ask about pain. thanks!
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I noticed that you mentioned he got nervous in the front field. What do you mean by that? Was he jumpy and antsy?

i agree that it definitely sounds like it could be pain related, but from my experience with ponies it seems suspiciously similar to my own pony's naughty behavior. I learned to ride on him and for a long period of time I could hardly make him do anything. He would stand there and I would try and try to get him to walk or do ANYTHING. I remember one day my trainer left the arena for me to figure it out on my own. I think I cried on top of him lol i was so frustrated. Something clicked and I finally figured it out. A lot of the time it's about pushing the right buttons at the right time. I think your pony could very well have figured out how to tune you out, and he knows as long as he's persistent he doesn't have to work harder than he needs to. For an especially stubborn pony, sometimes you will need a crop or some other device to make him know you mean business. It takes a lot of work, some days you will feel like you had more of a workout than he did, but you have to be willing to stick it through. Once he figures out that struggling with you gets him nothing but more work, he will end the behavior.
 

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It is so very common for a horse to "backslide" in training once they go on to a new/green owner. Get yourself some lessons :) Weekly, at least, would be ideal.

I would also ditch the Parelli stuff. A lot of Parelli horses I know get spoiled and unresponsive to their handlers. It is brain numbing to smart equines, and ponies definitely fall into that category.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I noticed that you mentioned he got nervous in the front field. What do you mean by that? Was he jumpy and antsy?

i agree that it definitely sounds like it could be pain related, but from my experience with ponies it seems suspiciously similar to my own pony's naughty behavior. I learned to ride on him and for a long period of time I could hardly make him do anything. He would stand there and I would try and try to get him to walk or do ANYTHING. I remember one day my trainer left the arena for me to figure it out on my own. I think I cried on top of him lol i was so frustrated. Something clicked and I finally figured it out. A lot of the time it's about pushing the right buttons at the right time. I think your pony could very well have figured out how to tune you out, and he knows as long as he's persistent he doesn't have to work harder than he needs to. For an especially stubborn pony, sometimes you will need a crop or some other device to make him know you mean business. It takes a lot of work, some days you will feel like you had more of a workout than he did, but you have to be willing to stick it through. Once he figures out that struggling with you gets him nothing but more work, he will end the behavior.
he was mainly nervous because he was on 24/7 turnout and he thought the other horses were eating, but also somewhat nervous because he was out there byhimself. He was a little jupy/ antsy when being ridden there. That's not a problem now though because he's at a different barn. Thanks fo rthe advice!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Are you clunking him in the mouth or back when you ask him to go? Or gripping with your knees thus jamming his shoulders?
Sounds to me like a typical pony that has pulled the wool over his young rider's eyes!!!

Get yourself and instructor that can help with your riding - or if that's not possible, can you post a video of you riding the pony here, so we can see what's going on?
I know I'm defiantly not pulling on his mouth at all (I ride on a looser rein and steer with my legs). There's a good possibility that I'm gripping with my knees though. Sometimes I lean forward/ get off balance and he's certainly not cofmortable with that. I'm looking for an instructor, Thanks!
 

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Ok, I would work very much on your balance though. Sounds like he's not being naughty at all if that's the case, he feels you losing balance, so he doesn't go faster - smart pony!
See if you can get some lessons on a school horse, on the lunge. You need to learn to sit back on your seatbones.
 

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Please find an instructor to help you. He is only 5, and he may try other tests on you.

I agree it could well be pain, so a Chiropractor is a good idea, and I would also not rule out teeth. Just because he was fine, doesn't mean he is now. Some horses need floating more frequently than others and, he is a 5 yo gelding-I would think that something called "wolf teeth" could be an issue. As I recall they usually show up about 5 or 6........
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ok, I would work very much on your balance though. Sounds like he's not being naughty at all if that's the case, he feels you losing balance, so he doesn't go faster - smart pony!
See if you can get some lessons on a school horse, on the lunge. You need to learn to sit back on your seatbones.
I'm looking into an instructor (my old one just moved), but she had been working with me on sitting back on my seatbones. Its more when Thumper just trots a stride or two that I tend to lose balance.
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