I have 2 young sisters, 5 and 6 yo. They live together. Both are green under saddle and I want to increase their trail exposure. But they're both on their own very looky and sometimes a bit spooky. I work my horses by myself, so would ponying one while riding the other be a disaster waiting to happen (one could feed off the other and then I would have no control) or a good idea (one giving courage to the other)?
I only pony off a solid horse on the trail.
Two green horses sounds like a disaster.
That does sound like a disaster waiting to happen. Both green? Both spooky? Both feed off one another?
I used to pony by myself on the trail - two big fit event horses. Had a few hairy moments when one would decide it was time to GO and I was left muscling one horse, while in the saddle of the other.
I got away with it, but I was also young, fit, and very strong at the time (working student riding 6+ horses a day). I wouldn't be able to pull it off today - One of the horses would litterally pull me out of the saddle if I tried!
(I did feel pretty bad a$$ hand galloping two TBs at once though ;) )
OK then, no ponying!!! I'll have to trail ride them alone. Slowly but surely!
I would get one pretty reliable before I'd give it a try. You need to know that one of the two is always "with" you.
When dealing with greenies you can do it alone, but you'll do it faster and with a lot less stress if you can recruit somebody with a good, broke horse to help.
Originally Posted by goponies
I understand that this can be difficult, but consider the motto of the SeaBees:
The difficult we do now; the impossible takes a little longer. :lol:
Good luck with both your recruiting and your work.
I think it could work- all of my horses have always been much less spooky when they are out together (ponying included), especially the Arabians. I would give it a try!
I must be really "bad a$$" then since I pony one TB (race horse) off the back of another TB (retired race horse now used as pony horse) at least two days a week. Of course that is on the track at my house. Not sure I could do that on a trail ride. :D
Originally Posted by Appsolute
Well, one way to find out is to pony them in an arena. And include some spooky stuff in the arena like, say, a tarp to walk over. If one horse is clearly dominant over the other, you want to be riding that one.
I'll mention some of my own opinions about ponying to give you some more to think about. I've been ponying horses for years on the trails, W/T/C/G.
1. I need to be able to ride the "pony horse" with one hand. I want him to neck rein, doesn't have to be perfect but should be fairly reliable at it. I need one entire hand for the lead of the led horse and the tail end of that lead will be in my other hand which holds the reins of the ridden pony.
2. I want that pony horse to be in a bit or hackamore suitable to neck reining. IMO, that is not a snaffle bit. A snaffle just doesn't work well with both reins in one hand. It's not as bad when you aren't ponying but when you are dealing with a ponied horse you don't have the ability or time to finese the horse you are on. So I want to have something that is shanked, moderate western bit or hackamore that doesn't raise the horses head if I am bumpy with it or the horse gets excited. You want the ridden horses head down, nose in, not up in the air which a snaffle can cause. I really like a short shanked hackamore on the pony because it absorbs most of the awkwardness you may have with your hands when dealing with the ponied horse, so it is easier on the "pony", doesn't bang him in the mouth. It also gives you more control over the pony you are riding should he and the ponied horse get revved up and strong.
3. I want the pony to be responsive to legs, so I can move the horses body around as needed. I have had a ponied horse suddenly wrap his lead around my body by ducking around my horse. I want to be able to unwrap myself by manuvering the horse I am on.
That said I have had fairly green horses that I can manuever and control fairly well with one hand. I've always been suprised at how well horses take to a moderate hackamore. I use a short shanked english hackamore with a wide, flat english curbchain. tThe horses really take to it. The horse likes it and works out neck reining nicely. I have a big, spooky, hot and fast Arab gelding who was always the led horse. I decided to just give him a try as a pony horse and lead the other sensible one. Yes, I rode him in his kimberwick at first, not ideal but better than a snaffle. Suprise, it went well and I only had to get the reins in both hands a couple of times. He's going into the hackamore next.
Do not lead your ponied horse with just a halter and lead rope. You need something else on their head and nose. Having a 1000 lb horse deciding to take off or sit back a drag is a real eye opener. You want something that is harder on their nose so they will find that pulling back or forward is uncomfortable and being in the right place is comfortable. I was given a Monty Roberts Dually halter and this has been just perfect for ponying. It tightens if they pull then loosens when they release. Really great tool, works well for trailer loading or lots of other events. Only a double rope over the nose.
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