Sounds like a bratty pony who could improve with go0d riding but...
First, if you are nervous you might not ride "well" enough to help. By that I mean that you might not give the pony a sense of your being in charge with your confidence. (I'm not implying that you don't ride well.)
Second, you mentioned that he WAS used in lessons. Was he kicked out of the lesson program?
Third, some horses/ponies are great in lessons because novices don't really ever demend much. The can tolerate being pulled and kicked but they don't want someone expecting a prompt canter depart or extension or collection. If he was that type, you may be annoying him by actually "riding" him. (Where I ride we have a couple of these in the lesson string. Saints for beginners the become demons when a rider knows just enough to expect things.)
Honestly, this person may be hoping to avoid paying a trainer to fix the issues. Spooking is one thing, spook>bolt>buck>repeat is another, especially if it happens all the time. If it's supposed to just be fun for you and it's isn't, then bail on it.
As for "dangerous" that doesn't matter. Most of the serious injuries in equestrian sports (of all kinds) involve horses that are NOT "dangerous." The packer that stumbles in front of a 2' jump can cause as much havoc as a rodeo bronc and very talented and capable riders get hurt badly falling off horses that are not dangerous but that did something unpredictable or because of the timing of a fall. (I busted my tailbone because the horse I came off of bucked right beside the wall. Had the buck occurred 3 feet away from the wall, I'd have landed on the soft foting, instead, I hit the top of the kick panel just where it joined one of the uprights. Bad timing.)
Last edited by Linny; Feb. 16, 2012 at 02:09 PM.
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Thank you so much for the advice Since the owner doesn't know him well I'm wondering if he appeared calm when she got him because he wasn't fit (he had been out of work for a while), and now that he's feeling better, his true colors are showing.
I think I'm going to tell the owner that I'm not comfortable riding him, which is disappointing and hard for me to do because the owner is lovely, I'd love to have a horse to ride, and I really enjoy hanging around at the barn (and was hoping that others might offer to let me ride, once they got to know me). All of my previous barns/people that let me ride their horses are 4-6 hours away. But, as you've all said, it's not worth getting hurt, or having my confidence shaken. Sigh.
Then groundwork this pony - it will be a good experience for both of you
There's a ton of stuff you can do, round penning, lunging, agility, liberty (once he's more respectful & you have a strong bond).
I suspect it won't be difficult to get the owner on board with this - if you both lack groundwork skills (the timing of pressure/release is crucial), then invest in a clinic or some training sessions.
After 3-6 months of groundwork, you can re-consider the ride IFF the owner has also been consistent as well. If you do decide to ride again at this point, have a trainer start you in lessons with him.
IF you were to ride the pony again (and I do not recommend it), I would make sure I had a bit that he would listen to and possibly draw reins so I could control him.
But #1 is a bit that gets his attention. And practice your pulley rein.
I would SO have a CTJ meeting -- the kind that, for 20 seconds, death is a viable alternative. The trick is to pick your fight for when you are ready to get down and dirty, and, when the CTJ meeting is over, halt and pat him and walk off.
I had to watch one of my young horses have a CtJ meeting with my trainer. I was aghasted and appalled when it was happening. But when he walked off on a loose rein, then picked up the canter again and my horse was listening and ready to work, I understood the purpose. And I was impressed.
The trick is to not let anger get into it. Just convincing him who is captain of the ship.
If you think you can do it (after the horse has been tired out by lunging), it might make all the difference. But I agree with those who have said that he is not your problem. You are not obligated to fix him for his owner.
Dollars to donuts he was drugged when the lady tried him.
If you put 50 children with Down's Syndrome in a room, there's going to be a lot of hugging.
Trust your gut and walk away. Life is too short and there are too many nice horses to ride. Ask me how I know At 13, this pony's habits are well ingrained and unless you really are into major problem solving, thinking totally outside the box, and not caring what other people think and say when you finally have that CTJ meeting with him, let someone else deal with it.
1. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
To me, he sound like just anothe Al Capony in need of some seriousl schooling. But he's not your Al Capony to be dealing with and if you really feel that this might be a recipe for me hurt, then STOP! There are plenty of nice horses out there.
I would start from the ground up. He needs a lesson in manners and sounds very pushy. Sounds like he has "little man syndrome"!!! If he worries you too much I would start looking for another horse/pony to ride because it wont do either one of you any good.
as a person of similar sounding age, ability and circumstance as you- I would say thanks but no thanks.... I ride to have FUN, for exercise, for camraderie, to achieve. Worrying about whether or not I will get hurt on a horse is none of those things! You're not a professional, you are not being paid to fix this pony and it's not your horse to make decisions about, so don't feel badly about telling your friend you would rather not ride her pony. I think it is a mark of a smart horseperson to say when they are not the best rider for the job.
Yup. After session number one, I would have handed the reins back. I feel I am in the same boat as you, declining confidence (for various reasons), a lesson pony I bought who was "kid safe" and "bomb proof" who was a nightmare if you wanted to do anything more than jog (crowhopping/kicking out if you wanted to canter, pinned ears, feigned spooking) and and wasn't fun to ride when I needed something fun to ride.
I don't have the pony anymore. I also found out just prior to selling her (with full disclosure) that the crowhopping and spooking had been her MO at the other barn, hence why she was only used for w/t. And now she's at a barn doing little kid w/t lessons again and as happy as can be. So I suspect the pony was the way he is now when your friend bought him (and it takes a "beating" on a regular basis to fix it).
You do not owe it to the world, your colleague, or anything or anyone else to ride every rank POS in the universe. This is someone else's pony with an attitude problem, not Totilas that someone bought for you for $15 million that you have to figure out how to ride to get tour country a gold medal.
Toss it back and go ride something worthwhile.
For what its worth I know someone who got dumped off a lesson pony she was schooling and it has been endless harangue with sevwral surgeriea, workers comp blah blag blah for YEARS.
Who needs it?
Ditto this! x's ten.
Spook-bolt-buck doesnt equal naughty little anything in my book. It equals someone elses well trained monster. I've ridden plenty of naughty ponies... This sounds like a horse in need of serious retraining with someone who won't be cowed or tossed onto their head.
I wouldnt mess with it... Whats the going fix for bones these days? 6weeks or months ?
Did he get longed before you rode him? He doesn't sound dangerous as much as he sounds spoiled and pushy... however, if you feel uncomfortable riding him there is probably a reason. He sounds like he's a bit of a pig. I'd bet there's a reason that otherwise sound pony has been out of work...
Exactly what I was going to say.
"Those who know the least often know it the loudest."
Can you ask the owner to invest in 30 days of pro rides and training, and then you'll try again? If the owner is having problems, she really needs to do that anyway. After that, between the two of you, maybe you can maintain the pony's Good Citizen status.
About him being in a lesson program....the surest way to get booted out is to demonstrate knowledge of Stop-and-Dump, Run Out the Gate, and Scare the Crap Out of the Kid. Try to find out why he's not in a lesson program any more. He might have all kinds of hidden talents.
It's not your job to provide free training. Please be careful.