View Full Version : Tell me how and when you start your pony babies
Nov. 4, 2011, 07:08 PM
Title pretty much says it all, at what age do you start them, what sequence of training do you follow? And what are some of your hard and fast "rules"????
Nov. 4, 2011, 10:47 PM
I start as soon as I get them (I didn't breed them, usually purchased long yearlings or 2 yos). Ground manners first. Lead quietly, crosstie, pick up feet, lead/halt/stand quietly/lead repeat. Load, unload. Feed in trailer if necessary, even leave the truck and open trailer in the pasture to be explored at will.
Light lunging first in just a regular halter, eventually in a bridle. I'm a big believer in putting a soft rubber bit on an old bridle and leaving them in the stall for an hour or two to get really used to the feel of a bit. I ground drive before and after I introduce the saddle. When all that's accepted quietly, then I back the pony. Put pony w/ rider on lunge and pair leg aids with voice commands.
While lunging my favorite tool is sliding side reins and once they're under saddle, I love Myler bits with hooks because any hack turns into a head setting exercise.
I lunge a lot over fences until my ponies jump in stride naturally, lengthening and shortening on their own. Makes it much easier for the kids, as long as they keep their eyes up. ;)
Nov. 5, 2011, 12:13 AM
Our ponies are taught to longe under tack when they turn 2 yrs old - they longe only about 3 to 5 minutes each direction. In the Fall of their 2 yr old year, we get on them at a walk, and they learn to move forward, stop and turn. Over the winter, they just get ground handling and additional grooming lessons, etc. We start them in light flatwork in the Spring of their 3 yr old year - riding about 3 times/week. By the Fall of their 3 yr old yr, we have trotted over ground poles between standards, and begun to trot little crossrails. Larges and big mediums will also jump 18 inch verticals at this age occasionally. In the Spring of their 4 yr old year, they begin to learn how to canter crossrails and move up to verticals and as the year progresses, they learn to canter small courses and are allowed to give natural lead changes across the diagonal. By the Fall of their 4 yr old year, we are taking them to schooling shows and competing locally at 2' for smalls and mediums and 2'6" for larges. Of course, this is a general progression that is modified depending on the needs of each pony.
Nov. 5, 2011, 02:36 PM
When our ponybaby was a long 2 y.o. we started her under saddle. By that, I mean, we taught her the basics and let her go out on trail rides - mostly walking. As she got older, she got to do more on the trails so that by the next year she was WTC on trails and 'working' in the ring. That included ground poles and cross rails. She was off to local shows and Pony Club stuff as a 4 y.o.
She was born at the farm, so all her ground work was solid before anyone got on her.