I've been looking for a nice horse to lease to pony my colt with since last fall. I've tried a handful of horses with results that could qualify for an America's Funniest Home Videos show. What I now gather is that "broke to death" is code for bucking, rearing, jigging, spooking bronc.
Here's what I'd like to find: A safe, sane, solid pony horse to lease for 2-3 months. I'll be ponying my 2 year old colt who leads well, and is well-mannered. We will be walking and possibly trotting at times, but mostly just walking on the trails and roads around my house to get my colt some exposure to new things. He's a sensible, brave colt, but is still a 2 year old and is very athletic. On the rare occasions when he does spook, he can make a 15 foot jump sideways in one leap. Armed with this knowledge, I would take a dally on the horn since I'm not interested in getting ripped out of the saddle, and am too old to hit the ground more often than I have to. This horse would need to be a horse who has pulled from the horn before, and has been exposed to a flag before and understands it, as I would flag my colt from this horse before I pony him for the first time. This is only to make sure he respects the pony horse, and wouldn't take long or be strenuous to the pony horse. The first time I did this it took about 3 minutes and my colt followed the pony horse around like a puppy. This horse would live at my house (in pasture) and I would pay for all upkeep during the time I have him. I would be willing to pay someone a reasonable lease fee for this horse as well.
I have tried horses from the rent stables (too sour and dead to any aids), outfitter horses (extremely expensive and sour), and horses from various local individuals (too many problems to list). I have come to the conclusion that I am unrealistic in my expectation that I can find a pony horse with the qualifications I need. I live in a rural area, and finding horses here is pretty difficult as they are not typically listed for sale or lease anywhere locally. I think a good ranch horse would be perfect, but they aren't usually leased out and even grade horses sell for a lot of money.
So, am I crazy to think I can find this horse? I would even be willing to buy a horse if I found the right one. The only reason I'm not terribly interested in buying a horse right now is because I don't have time for 3 horses, and I am focusing on my 2 year old right now.
Honestly, I think people who have horses like that, such as myself, would not trust someone enough to lease them out for that purpose. I have done everything you mentioned above with my gelding and my (now grown) filly; however, I think we all know about a million things could potentially go wrong when ponying. Therefore, I wouldn't trust anyone but myself while ponying on my gelding.
I am not against leasing horses and even leased my gelding out for nearly a year, but had I found out they tried ponying another horse with him I probably would have been upset. I just have this image of someone tying the leadrope to the horn, the colt spooking, rider falls off, and the two horses tear away tied to each other
I have to say I agree with you completely and that's why I think its not realistic to expect I can find a horse like that. If I had a horse that could do those things, I wouldn't lease him out to anyone either. But then again, I wouldn't lease a horse out no matter what his training or experience. I would be too worried about my horse in someone else's care.
That being said, I think you can tell if someone knows what they're doing if you watch them ride your horse and see them pony their horse from yours. It's not rocket science, but it does take someone experienced and handy with a rope.
Strangely, some of the outfitters here are not worried in the least about who they send their horses to. I think if I told them I was going to drag a string of Grizzly Bears behind me, they'd be fine with it. Amazing.
We don't have any riding in the winter unless you have an indoor (which I don't), so my horses typically get the winter off. I'm in Jackson Hole, WY and from Oct/Nov to Mar/Apr we are under several feet of snow and ice. Makes for a short riding season!
Most of the polo horses go to warmer climes at the end of the season here.
Roping horses would be good but you have to find that calm one that someone would let you use. Have you thought of contacting some that you could just pay to come out and they could do it for you. I don't know how often you want to pony him so it may get expensive. Can you not hand walk him on the trails?
Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole
I have to agree - I have one that would do all that and there's no way I'd lease him out and were I to ever sell him, he'd not be cheap. I'm guessing most people who have horses with that level of training aren't willing to part with them.
Good luck! I was fortunate to have my older gelding broke enough (he was 7) to pony my baby (he's now 5) when the time came. Ponying sure is handy to help season a young horse.
I actually have a horse who can do all of what I need. And he knows how to pony another horse. I ponied my last youngster from him and he was amazing. He's a retired ranch horse and is the kindest, sweetest, hardest working, most generous horse in the world. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with a heart condition last summer that precludes him from being ridden so he's on full retirement now. And he's 28 years old so he's earned his retirement.
I guess at this point I'll look at buying a horse for the job. I will need to eventually find a friend for my colt when my retired gelding passes away. With luck the old guy will live happy and healthy in my pasture until he's 35 or 40, but it would be nice to have another horse for company for my colt in the event he passes away suddenly.
Now...anyone know of a nice ranch horse for sale???
A good race track pony horse would work too. But they are even harder to find than ranch horses where I am.
OveroHunter - your place looks beautiful. Unfortunately you're pretty far away from me. Being in Wyoming, I could probably find a ranch horse closer to home and not have to pay so much for shipping and flights out to try out the horse. Thanks anyway!!
If I were looking for a ranch horse I'd contact this guy. I have taken clinics with him and find him to be the real deal. I would imagine any horse of his would be light and responsive and SANE. OK, maybe expensive too.
JoZ - Thanks for the information! I emailed him about horses for sale, and clinics. He's not too far from me (well, 4 hours and change). Maybe he has something nice at a reasonable price. If not, I can always go to one of his clinics instead.
I know of a few but I don't think the owners would ever lease them out. Most are in constant work at the track or working at polo farms. The one I have used myself when my mare was injured and needed ponying was a ex-polo pony and was borrowed from a close friend. Most people would not lease a horse like this to a stranger because there is alot that can go wrong and ponying can be dangerous. The best thing to do would be to look at the tracks toward the end of the season and pick on up they don't want to winter. I have had great ones from the low end horse brokers though, and you can free lease from that type of guy in the winter months.
Thanks englishcowgirl for the information. There aren't any tracks close to me - I'm in Jackson Hole, WY. I'll be looking at a horse to buy at this point since no one really had anything that would do the job anywhere close to me. There are several outfitters that would lease a horse to me - and surprisingly they don't really care what you do with their horses - but they don't have the horses with the skill set I'm looking for. Thanks again!