View Full Version : Help with nervous pony - tends to go behind the bit

May. 25, 2011, 10:50 PM
I've been riding a pony a few times a week for someone. She has very little formal training, but was used as a lesson pony for a while for crossrail lessons. At first all I was focused on was going forward at a steady pace. She tends to get quick so I've been using my posting rhythm and half halts (mostly with my upper leg) to slow her down. Now I've started picking up some contact and asking for a bit of flexion because her neck is stiff as a board. I've been asking by using an opening inside rein and then giving as soon as she flexes. After a few flexions to the inside and outside she becomes somewhat more supple and I go back to focusing on going forward with a steady tempo now with a very light contact. This is fine until she gets tired. Then she starts to go behind the bit, not permanently, but for a few strides at a time which is still far more time than I'm happy with. I'm not asking for anything with my hands at this point, just maintaining a very light contact while keeping my hands aligned so that there is a straight line elbow to bit (so if her head goes down, my hands go down), but I'm not sure how to fix this issue. The amount of time before she goes behind the bit after I pick up contact is very, very short, probably 2 minutes tops. I don't know if it is a lack of fitness issue or if she is trying to evade the contact for some reason. I'm trying to be very quiet and steady with my hands, as much as is possible with a fussy pony, so I don't know what else to try.

Having typed this out, it seems like her teeth might be part of the problem. I will definitely take a look at them tomorrow and see if there is anything I can see (and it would have to be really bad for me to be able to tell!) and then ask her owner about when she was last done. However, any other suggestions would be helpful, particularly if this turns out to not be a teeth issue.