How to break a bad pony habit?
I am looking for suggestions on how to work with a green pony who has developed a bad habit where she will stop, pull the reins out of her rider's hands, and scratch her nose. She'll stop dead at a walk and a trot and do this. The rider isn't yet cantering on this horse, but I have no doubt she'd do it then, too.
Unfortunately, she's a very timid rider, and doesn't like getting after the pony, as she's afraid she'll take off on her (which the pony has never done, but this rider has a lot of generalized anxiety, and she has fixated on this idea). The pony never did this before the girl let her get away with it a few times and now she does this every time the girl gets on, which is typical of a greenie who doesn't get corrected.
I'm thinking of putting the pony in an extra short martingale, so she can't get her head down, and maybe a bit with a curb chain, so the rider has some better leverage than what she has now in an eggbutt snaffle. Someone today suggested using a bucking strap to keep the pony's head up, but I've never used one. If anyone has experience with it, I'd love to hear it.
Sadly, the rider's parents won't pay to put the pony in a training program, so we're limping along with what we have, green pony and green rider :( I get on the pony when I can during the lessons (the girl no longer rides the pony outside of lessons), and the pony has tried this with me now a couple of times. :mad: When I get after her, she's fine until the girl gets back on and the cycle starts all over again.
Any other suggestions?