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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I rescued a small pony, and he is friendly and respectful on the ground. Easy to handle. He had previously foundered, but I have him with a rehabilitative farrier and he is doing really, really well. I was told he rides and drives. Here's the problem: I am the smallest person in my family, and at 120#, I don't think I could/should ride an 11 hand pony. Also, I don't have a small saddle. I don't really want to buy a smaller saddle as I still have no one to sit in it. However, I do want to see if he is rideable as that will help with his future rehoming - we all know rideable horses get better homes.

Any suggestions for getting a small pony under saddle? Especially when there's no one to ride it? How do people train minis to ride? If this seems like a dumb question, then I apologize, but I want to put weight on him and I would NEVER rehome a horse as a riding pony without actually having him under saddle that I can SEE. The people I rescued him from did a bad job caring for him, so I don't trust them one whit.

If anyone has good videos to link to, let me know. He is awesome on the ground and disengages hind end and does all the stuff, but I only have a big saddle that will for sure hurt his tiny back, and I don't want him to have any negative experiences.
 

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I don't know what 120# means or how stocky etc the pony is, as to whether it may be ok to ride him lightly yourself. If so, why not ride him bareback. If you don't have anyone small enough to ride him, I'm not exactly sure what you're asking.
 

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120 pounds @loosie is what was meant.



Find an advanced child or if your feet are not touching the ground and he is fit then a short ride to determine whether he knows the basics is not going to hurt him if you keep it reasonable. To keep him tuned up you may want to recruit someone that is smaller to ride him. There is a pony here that is shetland sized one of the small adults rides once every so often to make sure he is compliant.
 

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It would depend of the build & soundness of the pony. I have always heard to use 20% of the horses weight as the average capacity. For example a mature 600lb pony could carry a person averaging around 120lbs. If it’s a mature pony that’s sound & you have a good fitting saddle I would not worry about going a little over that ratio with light riding.
 

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If you are in the US you might contact your county extension agent and get the name of a 4-H Horse Club leader close to you. Might be a great project for a small rider...with a small saddle.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ground drive and use a weighted dummy to simulate a rider. All goes well, find a tiny adult or pro kid to do the first real rides.
Would my county 4H maybe have a weighted dummy? Could I potentially use a feed sack of hay pellets?

I do like the idea of calling 4H and maybe finding someone handy with horses that's smaller, but I worry about liability.

Using a weight tape, the pony is 500 lbs. Plus, with his previous founder, I want to be safe. I suppose I could try some light riding on him. I am just worried the saddle will be ill fitting, but a short lap around the arena carrying only me shouldn't be too bad, right? I don't rightly know if my feet would touch the ground. It would be sorta close. He is responsive the the halter, so I can just use that as I have no bridle his size. He has a tiny head. He is not stocky. He is more lanky and rangy looking. A bit underweight when I got him, but his body score is a 5 now.
 

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I occasionally ride my 12h pony to train him. 133#, 5'8". Balancing on him is the hardest part...I ride him bareback, not worth it to have a truly custom saddle made for him.
But for my minis, I ground drive them and made a dummy out of my old PJs, tube bags and sand. Sand is only in the legs, wool in butt and pool noodles for the top half. You could probably velcro a dummy to a bareback pad to help it stay or just have someone hold onto it and w/t/c along side.
I don't have a picture of my dummy on the minis, yet.


Idk who might have one, as a lot of people are still opposed to alternative training than old cowboy ways. 🙄
Feed sack will work while walking, it'll fall at faster gaits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Wow! That is an awesome dummy. I can go to the thrift store and get some big PJs or long johns there and make one. I have bag sand and a few other things I can use. Hopefully, it will work!

Did you put it in the arena with them first so they didn't think it was super scary? My equines pretty much don't care, but you just never know. Once by very dead broke horse was super afraid of a tiny box turtle on the trail. Bears, dogs, flapping plastic, mattresses ... no problem. An itty bitty turtle? She nearly came undone.
 

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Took a pic of it on a mini.
I'm remaking it to be more stable, lighter & more easily attached to a saddle.

Only the mustang needed careful intro to it, but even with her, I used treats and approach & retreat to get her comfortable with it. Led her while holding onto dummy before moving into pen on a line and strapping the dummy to the saddle. Unless it touchss her butt, she's fine with it.

Was thinking about the feed sack and it may be too heavy and cumbersome to mess with at first.
 

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^guessing you don't live beside a main road secuono, or you might cause a few accidents, people doing a double take looking at that! What a great dummy! I've only used feedbags...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
^guessing you don't live beside a main road secuono, or you might cause a few accidents, people doing a double take looking at that! What a great dummy! I've only used feedbags...
I agree! I don't live near anyone, which is a good thing as if I make a dummy like this, it would definitely be a rubber necking opportunity. I showed the picture to my daughter and she said, "So ... you're going to make a headless horseman?" LOL

I am going to get a fake jack o lantern and parade him around in the fall. If not on this pony, my mare.
 

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If you’re at the thrift shop, look for one of those life sized stuffed teddy bears to use as your dummy. A trainer I’ve ridden with use that to start all her babies. When I’m back on my computer I’ll find a picture to share.
 
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