View Full Version : I want to hear from the "pony jocks"

Dec. 30, 2009, 07:33 PM
I want to know what type of pony the "pony jocks" 15 and under like in the ponies they ride. What is it that makes that "special pony" so special? Is it a certain feel, a particular way they jump? Or is it something that they just can't explain? I know what I like, but would love to hear from the kids that will be riding the results of my efforts in the breeding shed.

Dec. 30, 2009, 07:35 PM
well, i'm 17 now, but play my barn's pony jock role because i am so tiny, and i have been that kid for a while.

i love ponies that are slightly evil but are willing to cooperate after "having a conversation" i like to say ;) what bugs me is when a pony has a lot of potential and they are extremely stubborn about allowing us to take advantage of that. i like a challenging pony that is at least willing to work, or consider working :lol:

over all, ponies are more fun :D

Dec. 30, 2009, 07:44 PM
i love ponies that are slightly evil but are willing to cooperate after "having a conversation" i like to say ;) what bugs me is when a pony has a lot of potential and they are extremely stubborn about allowing us to take advantage of that. i like a challenging pony that is at least willing to work, or consider working :lol:

over all, ponies are more fun :D

Another 17 year old chiming in...

I agree with everything stated above! Ponies are only fun if they have that ponytude we all secretly love. Moving away from personality, I'm drawn to ponies who have that "omf" in their way of going too. The refined ponies are cute and all, but there's nothing like riding a pony that thinks its a 16h warmblood. I like the ponies that feel a little heavier and a little more powerful in their step.

Dec. 30, 2009, 08:12 PM
Opinion of an Ex-Pony Jock but I third the Evil Pony. <3 the Evil ones.

There was a really good saying I heard once

"See that cute little pony? Well that's one evil little girl riding it."

Dec. 30, 2009, 08:21 PM
Another 17 year old chiming in...

I agree with everything stated above! Ponies are only fun if they have that ponytude we all secretly love. Moving away from personality, I'm drawn to ponies who have that "omf" in their way of going too. The refined ponies are cute and all, but there's nothing like riding a pony that thinks its a 16h warmblood. I like the ponies that feel a little heavier and a little more powerful in their step.
A third 17 year old chiming in!

I agree about liking ponies that have a bit of spunk and a good amount of potential. I really appreciate ponies that will try their hardest for their rider once they trust them. I'm 5'6 but I still ride, train and show(larges mostly) and the ponies I've enjoyed most, have good personalities and are willing to learn and trust the rider to take care of them.

In the past few months, I've built a great bond with my 6yr old project pony and she will do basically anything for me since she trusts me. She has scope, talent, and brains and I really value those three things in a pony. I never refuse catch rides, but when I'm offered projects, I take on the ponies that fit that criteria.

Dec. 31, 2009, 12:34 AM
i really do not mind whats in the pony.
what makes the "special pony" is a pony that you can really bond to and is just an awesome ride. when the pony is just freely moving with a poweful but "graceful" jump it is truthfully my favorite. im still a young junior and ride the ponies, the evil ones really do end up awesome:)

i especially like the ponies that you can just have fun with.
no the pony doesnt have to listen at fist but when yu bond with the pony a little they really do learn how to listen.

i personally love ponies and would really like it if i was to take on some pony catchriding at traverse city next year along with showing my own pony in the large's.

i can tell when i get the good pony and when i get the pony that i dont necessarily like. in the end of every ride, no matter what happened during the course or flat, i cant help myself but to adore the pony.

most ponies will listen to me, ive ridden for ten years and have trained/ridden several ponies! with the help of my own awesome trainer i was able to start a four year old paint a few years back, completly get a pony spook free and going around courses winning-this pony was one that nobody wanted because it was especially evil and we brought it up to her full potential, ive also semi-trained my own pony:)

im no where near professional i just have fun, learn my pony, and go from there:) the special ones are truly the ones that let you create a small bond!

Dec. 31, 2009, 08:49 AM
Opinion of an Ex-Pony Jock but I third the Evil Pony. <3 the Evil ones.

There was a really good saying I heard once

"See that cute little pony? Well that's one evil little girl riding it."

Another ex-pony jock fourthing the evil pony.

Dec. 31, 2009, 09:24 AM
Yet another ex-pony jock chiming in when I was younger I would say it would be a toss up for the favorite pony that I catch rode between 2 medium ponies. They were completely different builds; one was like a mini warmblood, one was a very refined section B welsh(http://www.pajonponies.com/gallery.html scroll down to Pajons Royal Tapestry), and both moved completely different; one had the hunter daisy cutter trot, where as the other had a bit too much knee action (was ok at the canter so did well over fences just not in the hacks...). The main thing that they both had in common was a LOT of jump, the one could jump easily clear 3'6 undersaddle, the other I never had the chance to try jumping him that high but I am sure he could have as well, and both jumped with great form. The other thing I liked about them was that they were a forward ride.

Even though I am an adult I still seem to end up with a pony project on the go, just can't show them in the pony hunters so have ended up getting them going over fences but also really welll schooled on the flat so that I can show them dressage. I would say my preferences have changed a little in that I don't want them quite as forward as I used to like when I was a kid because I have found that it is harder to find them the right fit with a gutsy little kid. I still want a pony that is smart and responsive to the aides I just don't want the one that has to be ridden down for an hour or more before showing (Tapestry the welsh mare did NOT need this but my show pony ended up being named Rise and Shine because we were always the first one in the warm-up rings in the morning). If I could find a pony with the mind my current project has but more suspension I think it would be the ultimate show pony. My current project has been smart enough that at 5 years old I have shown her at third level dressage, she quietly jumps around a 2'6 to 2'9 course with auto changes, can go for a trail ride, be ridden bareback, is not spooky at all at home or at the shows, and will quietly stand around for as long as you want her to to be fussed over. She is great because I can put a kid on her and trust that they will be safe, and kids love her because they can get her to do anything they want so easily, her only catch is that as a hunter she would be better suited to being a short stirrup mount.

Dec. 31, 2009, 10:43 AM
Im 15 and about 5'4", so I still get to play pony jock. :) Personally, I like a challenging ride. Not something that acts stupid, but something that you have to really ride and think on. I like a pony that is brave to the jumps and truly enjoys jumping. I like a pony that will listen to my input, BUT, if I screw up, it tries its best to help. And like everyone else, I like a little spunk in them. ;)

Little Valkyrie
Dec. 31, 2009, 11:50 AM
Well back in the day when I used to ride ponies (although at 19 and 5 ft 7 I still have been known to jump a few around when they're being naughty ;) ) my favorite was the awful one named Flapjack. This was the time before I owned a horse so I showed whatever I could and one happened to be an older school pony who had been around forever and would buck EVERYONE off. I ended more than one lesson in tears and covered in dust, but I didn't give up because I knew it would help me get better in the long run. When we finally started working together his former flashiness came out and he began to act like a proper show pony and we were ready to rock! It was so adorable and satisfying to take him to a show when he would act all proud of his braids and do his very best. One time I walked out of the ring and was given a blank-check offer on him! If only they saw the bucks that happened at home :D

Dec. 31, 2009, 11:54 AM
Pony jocks are the best - worth all your weight in gold! I am so lucky to have a great one to get my ponies started - I am too old for bucks, spooks and silly pony behavior but she loves it! Now if I could just get her to like showing as much as she likes polocross....

Dec. 31, 2009, 12:17 PM
I've been lucky enough to ride and show lots of different ponies.
First and foremost, I think that the best ponies WANT to be good and WANT to win. They may not be easy rides, but once they go in the show ring they have to have presence and catch the judge's eye. Sometimes that means that they have an attitude as well!
The really nice pony hunters have a great rhythm and big strides. It's not fun to have to run down the lines. They need to have a nice athletic jump with knees UP. It's a huge plus if they jump well from a variety of distances, which allows the rider a little bit more leeway.
Most kids are more comfortable on a pony that is more of a "kick ride." It's easier to make a pony go than to make it whoa typically, and a slow steady rhythm is much prettier than a quick one.

Dec. 31, 2009, 01:07 PM
Pony person here...I'm 28 and 5'3. My pony is 14 hands flat. more spirited, heck of a jumper and thinks he's a WB....more than the 16.3 TB I ride. Love the personality (we have pony days and horse days...mostly the former.)

Dec. 31, 2009, 07:38 PM
My daughter is 11 and much prefers a pony with go. Her first pony was a sit and kick pony. Her current pony is forward and although she moves like a hunter (and is bred to be one as she is by Halcyon Sir Lancelot), both she and my daughter prefer the jumpers. As a Welsh/TB cross, she is built more like a TB. She is very personable and although she can be a little spooky in a new situation, she has a brain. If you put her to work she focuses and quickly loses the spook and quickness. She has a big jump but as her neck and headset are a little more upright than the traditional hunter look, my daughter has no trouble staying with her (with some consecutive trainer rides she will drop her head and neck and look more huntery).

We bought her as a green 6 yo with the plan that our trainer would ride her 4 days a week and my daughter two days a week. That quickly changed as we discovered that she was very smart and trainable. Now as a 7 yo, our trainer rides and jumps her once a week and my daughter rides her the rest of the week. My daughter shows her in the 2'6" to 2'9" jumpers and because she is a nimble little pony, they are quite competitive. She is still green. Given a choice her distances are inconsistant and she really prefers the long one. However, she is rateable and my daughter has no problem (for the most part) finding nice enough distances on her.

I really feel that her best attribute is her brain and I am not sure if that is a TB thing or a Welsh thing. So far, she seems not to have the devious little pony mind and actually looks forward to working. Although I understand the other posters affinity for bratty ponies, it's really nice for a young rider to have a pony who wants to work with them. However, my daughter's first pony was a total brat who knew all the pony tricks. He made my daughter a good rider by default. There were times when she did break down into tears because she couldn't get past his antics but he did a good job of preparing her for her current pony. Although this pony is much more athletic than the bratty pony, my daughter is confident that she can handle whatever happens.

Dec. 31, 2009, 08:50 PM
As 40+ yr old pony jock (4'10") I can tell you what I like and can also tell you what the pony kids I have like: Adjustability, a big stride that carries you and a little bit of its own motor. Next comes a good, strong jump but not the bone jarring, pop you out of the tack jump. for the pony ring, a pony that is built to go as a pony is a plus...some of them are built to go a little too dressage-y, or a little to roung which does not always fair so well in the hack.

The ability to take a joke is also a good attribute...a pony that can get itself out of trouble if it gets put to a fence wrong is always a good thing:)

As a breeder, I would aim for the correct build, a great canter and a bit of a motor. To me, a great canter is the number one factor in getting a good jump out of a pony.

Jan. 3, 2010, 06:22 PM
Gah, wish I was still a pony jock... 15 and 5'7". I was a pony jock for around 4 years... I really liked the ones who had heart and would jump the moon for you.

A little story as an example... My sister is still a pony jock (but she's catching up on me in height so her pony days are coming to an end...) and she rode this amazing pony that we both helped train. My trainer bought the pony as a 4 year old and she was just green broke. My sis was 8 and I was 10. We rode the pony and taught her everything she knows with a little help from the other girls who were bigger and more experienced than us. My sister showed her in walk trot the first year, I showed her in ponies the year after... it went on. She's been everywhere from lead line to Adult Medals to 3'3 jumpers and we've free jumped her up to five feet. She's an amazing jumper with style and go. That's the kind of heart I like in a pony... the ones that just love to jump and will do anything for you. :) She's now 9 and is for sale if anyone's interested...

Jan. 3, 2010, 06:45 PM
I do love evil ponies because they are fun, but my favorite pony to show is one that isn't spooky and has its own motor.

Jan. 3, 2010, 09:51 PM
Though now I'm 17 and 5'8" I did quite a bit of pony riding when I was younger and of course shorter. I have to say the evil pony thing is a real seller. It's great for kids to ride the pony that is evil enough to be a challenge without scaring them. I know a kid that rides at my barn now and she would much prefer a pony that needs to be "trained" than a perfect pony. There's something thrilling to kids about a young pony that needs to be helped along so they feel like they're being the big kid that is trusted enough to ride the hard one.

I also always much appreciated a pony with a big stride. Though I know most of the smalls have to gallop the lines anyways, when you're showing in the regular pony divisions, especially the larges, it's a bit nerve racking galloping towards a 3' oxer and not being completely sure whether you're going to get there or not.

But in a nutshell, ponies should be really cute, good movers, snappy jumpers, and have a little spunk to go along with them.

Jan. 3, 2010, 09:58 PM
I'm 16 and the designated pony jock at my barn. I'm 5'4". The barn used to have this little pony that was the biggest brat and pain in the ass to tack up and handle, but riding him was so much fun. He had lots of go and jumped awesome. I prefer ponies with a bit of evil and get up and go. Ponies that are lazy and you have to kill to get moving are no fun.
So yes, another kid for the evil ponies :)

Jan. 3, 2010, 10:47 PM
I'm not under 15 (I'm 25 now), but I've been a "pony jock" since my early teens. I trained at an eventing barn for a few years and at 5'5" and 110, I fit ok down to the bigger smalls and up for flatwork and low jumping - just raised my stirrups if necessary. Michael Page has told me, "With talent comes temperment!" regarding my personal horses, and I think that's true at any size. I've always liked the ponies with a bit of spark - not enough to scare (especially with younger riders), but enough to challenge. It's boring otherwise. I don't do hunters, so I can't comment on that, but for jumpers and eventing, I like something built well enough to be truly adjustable and can give you a nice big stride if you ask, a bounce to the canter and big jump so nothing looks huge, and an ultimately even-keeled temperament (a little evil is ok by me, but not totally unstable or really spooky).

I had great fun doing baby x-c (2') on a 12.2 pony last year - rock solid but HOT.

Jan. 5, 2010, 12:27 PM
As a trainer mostly doing the rated I am always judging ponies. Looking for the perfect confirmation and fabulous mover. As many of us have I have become a bit of a breeding snob. However as a mom of an up and coming pony jock I am learning to see things a bit differently. I am relearning from her the untainted love of the horse /pony. I have a number of very fancy ponies in the barn. Both clients and owned. All are good.Most are ultra fancy. But her favorite to ride is a less then beautiful, terrible mover, unconventional jumper, of unknown breeding and background. What she is, is, honest to the fences, has her own engine, but also has brakes.Is not pushy on the ground, can be handled safely by any child. Yet gives her heart enough to be competitive and she doesn't hold a grudge if my daughter makes a mistake. We found her as a mistake She is owned by a student that out grew her. Please enjoy the video. I can not post a link but if you go to you tube and look up [derbyjumper ] you can see Devon and Josie . If someone else can post the links feel free.

Jan. 5, 2010, 12:38 PM
My daughter is also the trainer of a wonderful pony by Winnie the Pooh.Who as you know is by your stallion, he has everything he needs to have. He will be the best pony. both for the kids and for the ribbons.

Jan. 5, 2010, 01:32 PM
I'm 14, so I'm trying to finish up with ponies but I still ride and show my old large. I have to say my favorite is a ride like him.

On the ground hes a completely sweet, non pushy, docile puppy dog. Stands for everything and is super tolerant..(probably because I did some very idiotic things to him when I was training him and he just learned to deal with me..lol). He has a big kind eye and a heart of gold. He's just a plain bay quarter pony (14.1) so nothing super fancy.

Riding him is soo fun too. He has plenty of motor but goes in a happy mouth, hes not dragging you around. Really smooth gaits, rounds up like a dream. Not a fabulous mover, usually ribbons somewhere between 6th and 8th in a hack with 12 or 14. His lead changes are smooth and you just stay straight and kick. His jump though. Oh god. This pony jumps a 10+. Back cracking, knees to his nose. I've jumped him up to 3'6 and he is very scopey.

Ok. Enough bragging. I love ponies just like that haha. not pushy ones who have no will to please anyone ;)

Jan. 5, 2010, 02:08 PM
Believe it or not, kids love a great jumper. You would think that at their age, they would not really know the difference between a good and average jumper, but they sure do! Kids like scope but not the kind of jump that makes them need to hang on. They love that up-in-front feel.

Jan. 5, 2010, 02:12 PM
As JrHunterRider said, we love great jumpers!!! You can tell the difference...:)

Jan. 5, 2010, 02:27 PM
JrHunterRider is correct - my daughter is 14 and almost 5'9" but she will NOT give up her large pony!!! GAAH!! She LOVES that pony and it's because he is a great jumper who is all up in front, with a very lofty canter and feels like a time bomb ready to go off but never does... he loves to jump and he NEVER gets tired. She's always yelling to me "don't worry Mom, he's COMPLETELY under control!" haha He is a very big-bodied 14.1 hand pony, so she just hikes up her stirrups and it's off to the jumpers!

Jan. 5, 2010, 07:59 PM
I'm kind of a pony jock, lol. I sometimes ride a sweet little green pony. I love her because she tries really hard, she just needs the miles! Then there's another pony who just doesn't understand the point of jumping. I had to ride him for the first time in my riding evaluation, the first pony was lame. We had 3 ground poles and an 18" vertical in a circle. He refused the jump, I ended up jumping the fence with one hand on the mane,one hand on the crop, and my leg planted behind the girth. Then, we went tothe ground pole, stopped cold. He ended up doing a turn on the forehand around the end ofthe pole. Do you guys see where this is going? lol. I ended up figuring him out, and got him around the course, but man was I sore! Normally I ride a pretty fresh OTTB, so this was a huge change.

Jan. 6, 2010, 09:40 AM
Great to hear from all of you! I am so happy to hear that most of you aren't put off by the "ponytude" of some of them. I feel it is true that w/o that wee bit of attitude, they are just another pony in the ring. I do admire those pony jocks who you see on the "brat pony" in the beginning of the season, and by the end of the season are in the top ribbons. There will never be enough good pony jocks to go around though<sigh>.

Jan. 6, 2010, 02:23 PM
I just thought I'd chime in here....read with enthusiasm the various posts from you "pony jocks".....I have a 14.1 H Welsh/TB out of Meadowbrook Special Edition --- he is coming 5 this May -- very flashy and athletic. He definitely has that "pony spark"....he'll test you in the beginning but once you show him you are the boss, he'll really work for you.
I am looking for a someone in my area (Northern VA) that would like to work with him, as my daughter is busy with school, and her other horse, my younger daughter is too in-experienced and young. I guarantee you will be challenged with him, but he is a great mover.....I would like to have him do some shows this year and my daughter is way too big for him.....if anyone is interested, please let me know.....I need to get him working! I'd be willing to allow him to go off-site -- he's just too good to be just sitting around.

Jan. 6, 2010, 04:23 PM
I'm 25, but I'm pony jock size (under 4'11"), and my heart will always be in the pony ring. There are a few things that I really want in a pony (and sometimes they contradict each other).

The must haves: A brain is critical. The pony can have a pony attitude, but a good brain is crucial, kids will be riding the pony, afterall. A rhythmic canter is very important to me, because it is much easier to learn to see distances off of a nice rhythm. A large stride is absolutely critical, because it is just no fun to have to run down the lines, especially if you are slightly tight into a line.

I prefer a pony that will do decently in the model - it doesn't have to be the model winner, but I hate getting bumped down for conformation. I love a great jumper, and that's my ride of choice, but if I were looking for a pony for a little kid I'd put that on the back burner to consistency. If it's a made pony I believe consistency (and a nice sized stride) are critical.

I've owned some very fancy ponies, but there are two that stand out in my mind and I would love to have similar ones in my barn again one day.

Cowboy was a medium welsh, and a beautiful pony - he won many model classes. He moved about a 9, and was always sound. He had semi-automatic lead changes (automatic if you had on your spurs). He was a nice jumper, but nothing to write home about. He was square with his knees, but a little bit flat. He consistently won over fences, not because he was a great jumper, but because he was consistent - nothing changed about him the entire course. What made him super special was he was honest and took care of his rider - in the 13 years my family owned him he refused 2 jumps - one was a 3'6" coop going down a very steep hill, and the other was when I put him at a completely dangerous spot, and he just slowly stopped. He was the perfect kid's pony, and a parent could trust him even if they weren't at the barn with their kid. He was a saint on the trails, went in Christmas parades and fox hunted. While he wasn't super fancy he was a beautiful pony to look at, was a very nice mover, and was consistent. He was a completely safe pony.

Monty was my large and he was everything I'd want in an AO hunter (but pony sized). When I bought him he was also about a 9 mover, but he eventually needed shoes, and that really hurt his movement. He ended up with shoes being an okay mover, but nothing to write home about - though he did miraculously get a 6th in the hack at either Harrisburg or Capital Challenge (don't remember which). He did however have a beautiful rhythmic canter, and a stride that rivals many horse's strides. My first year in the larges we consistently left out strides, sometimes two... but once I learned how to ride the stride it was the greatest thing ever! He had that pony spunk, and really loved to play tricks on you and be naughty, but he would focus and work when you really asked him to. His jump was incredible - he jumped very round and with his knees to his eyeballs most of the time. He most certainly was not the model winner, but he didn't have bad conformation - we won the model once in the 5 years I had him at the Biltmore, but we only once were bumped down OF for conformation. He rode like a horse, and not at all like a pony.

If I were looking for a sale project I'd get another Monty in a heartbeat, but if I were looking for a pony for a little kid I'd go with another Cowboy. They are both the harder to find ponies though - one that is nice enough but has that perfect brain, and the other that is super fancy and very athletic but a much, much, much harder ride and very quirky.

Running Fox Farm
Jan. 7, 2010, 08:56 PM
I have a Colonels Fox pony we bought as a weanling and my mom helped me train. She is my favorite pony because she is so SMART!!!! And, she's pretty and a 10+mover and a super jumper. I also don't like pokey ponies you have to leg and leg and leg.

Jan. 14, 2010, 01:50 PM
hmmm well although im only 14 im to tall to show a pony anymore:( but i <3 ponies!!!! My favorites are one that when you get them "in the spot" they kind of stay there and you can kind of get off there back and let them stretch. i don't really know how to explain it lol, but some ponies you have to constantly fuss with. but I love if they have a big stride and a good pace.. also they need to jump really round!!!! flat jumpers are boring haha.. and one of the biggest ones is, even if you have to gain there respect, I love when they will jump the moon and give there all :)