I have pony who went to the dark side, I'm now concerned about the future; and want others opinions on the plan to take.
The pony is a medium welsh gelding, about twelve years old, in full training, has been evaluated by a vet, and maintained. Otherwise sound, healthy and schooled.
Pony was bought about two years ago, has shown 3 full seasons (this being the third) at local level, but good quality shows. Pony took kid from w/t classes to short stirrup equivalent. It has been a good confidence builder, teacher and trustworthy... has always been a good ribbon earner, routine reserve or champ. We've taken him to 15+ shows, and never a bobble in his reliability.
Until yeserday. Our last show of the series/ season.
It was a cool, windy fall day, oudoor show. Historically pony has needed NO, and I mean NO prep.
I, being trainer, rode pony in am, and hacked in a big under saddle class. Our association allows riders to under saddle in elgible classes a la carte.
Kid who owns the pony is brave and secure. When she arrived at the grounds, I had her flat him for a while in the schooling ring. No drama anticipated, and no drama surfaced. I schooled pony on the schooling break, and warmed kid up for her class. Send her in for her first round, and the pony chucks her down the third line, not a whoops, she got got jumped loose and tumbled off, but a full blown nasty throw the kiddo in the dirt. WTF! I get on pony, not let it leave show ring... other parents, the gate people all okay, even the judge if I school the line.
Put kiddo back on, heead to schooling ring, and try to recreate, I really study everything, did she goose him? it in the mouth? practice her halting him, etc. evreything goes well, chat with mom and kiddo, all agree all seems good, let's try again. Head back into ring, course starts well, kid riding great, all seems in the clear and BAM! Mr.#@$$ throws her in the dirt again, 1/2 way down the line. You've got to be friggin' kidding me.
The stinking pony jumps in, canters 1/2 way down and launches my munchkin in the dirt! AAAAAAAAAAH!
Was it in the same spot? If so I'd be inclined to keep a watchful eye on him, maybe it was the combination of a cool day and something funky in that area.
If not, I'd call the vet and check his teeth and tack fit. A Mr. Dependable pony I knew started stopping when he started developing an abscess. He would still go for the more confident riders because he knew there'd be hell to pay, but he'd duck out if he could.
"Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." ~John Wooden
Thanks Kateh... he didn't stop, he pitched her in the dirt on his way down the line, between the jumps.
I rode him after every incident, and he felt the same, strong, sound... ( I have good feel, I can feel offness, mouth resistance etc.) This pony goes in a plain smooth full cheek, saddle is new, has been fitted, regularly gets polyglycan, is fed Tandem with his cincentrate pinch, gets regular turn-out and good hacks. I carefully evaluated her rides in the schooling ring between incidents to see if she caused it.
Each incident was in a different line on course.
So, we get on again, I have to school the childrens hunter girls, kiddo comes with, and hacks around the schooling ring, Mr. Reliable is back to program, kiddo gets happy, forgives her pony, and asks if she can do her under saddle. (I said no more jumping classes, and she's a tenacious optimistic who loves her pony.) He didn't pull any stunts while out with the big horses, and we wouldn't be jumping, and after talking with Mom we thought yes, let's let her do it. WRONG!
The $%#@@$%& dumped her again!!!!!!!!!
So, now what.
Pony is home. He broke his little girl's heart. I'm super worried about reliving another jekyl & hyde day. I felt I did every right move, I rode, kid rode, school, rest, try again, I rode, kid rode etc. etc. The only thing I didn't do was take him back to the stall and stick him.
I'm not sure we can trust him again at this level.
Do we practice and try again in the spring, we are heading into our winter break.
Get a new pony?
Turn him loose on the freeway? (A joke.... really.)
Just a thought... have you checked the saddle fit on said pony? My daughetrs sainted pony started dumping her after some jumps out of the blue. Turned out that the saddle was slipping forward onto her withers, hurting her. Fixed the saddle issue and she hasn't done it since. Just a thought.
Yes, don't give up on the pony. A few thoughts - was rider wearing spurs? Could she have been accidentally spurring? Or even kicking in the sides? Possibly pony has an ulcer that you, with your quieter legs, weren't bothering?
Sore back, where rider might have been bouncing too hard? Something going on with the bit where pony got pinched?
Was there anything weird or scary in the places where she was dumped? A little dog by the rail? A flapping tent? Was it very windy?
Has pony been "over-showed" this summer? Maybe he is "show-sour" and had a meltdown?
You say this is very out of character for the pony, so give him the benefit of the doubt. I'm sorry for the rider, she must have felt terrible. There must have been something else going on.
I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry
From your post a couple of things entered my mind and I have trained alot of ponies.
From my experience horses get withdrawals from polyglycan and can act "crazy". The longer they are on it the worse the withdrawals are.
The other thing that came to mind was the start of ulcers. If the show day started out ok and pony went worse as the day went on he could have popped an ulcer. Chucking kids is typical behavior for a pony that hurts somewhere and if he feels sound ulcers is a good place to look.
Lastly he just may have the riders number and they need to be separated for a while...two weeks usually does the trick!
Define "pitching in the dirt"? What exactly is he doing? Bucking? Slamming on the brakes and putting his head down?
If the pony is sore, he would be likely pulling this card with everyone, especially when a heavier adult hops on his back. Have the vet check him to be sure, of course.
If you're noticably larger than the kid and Mr. Evil Pony knows there's an adult on him....that isn't going to work (as you've found out). You need a kid or kid size adult that can stay on when he pulls this nonsense, and he needs his little behind beaten! Make it firm, make it quick, and don't peck at him. Go immediately back to riding around like nothing ever happened, and when he pulls it again (because he probably will)....lather, rinse, repeat. I was a pony jock who was put on the dirty suckers to teach them a thing or two. I know his type. Its best to ride these types around like a you're a beginner and surprise them. Most naughty ponies are naughty because know they can be. Most of them don't have a physical complaint. They are smart little buggers who have no qualms about testing you, and will pick up a kid's number in no time. Pending there's no physical issues going on, he needs a cold hard reality check to remind him that he isn't the boss. Like I said, they're smart little $h!ts, so it shouldn't take long for him to pick up what you're putting down.
Now that everyone probably thinks I'm a pony abuser, that's not the case.
But I will not let one get away with dirty tricks.
Meaning we are doing fine, and out of no where we drop our head, and rodeo yee-haw back crack launch kiddo over the head, and gallop for broke for the in-gate.
No stop, veer, warning, back-off, head shake.
I did jump pony for schooling, and did set him on his tooshi for more schooling after 1st incident. I'm not a nit pick rider, I do allow horses to present an inclination to be naughty, and I'm not big.
Now the little girl is 9, and little, way smaller than me at 5'2 in heels and about 112#. This is a thick med, not a little wisp of a pony.
The saddle may be an interesting idea tho... we switched saddles a little over two months ago. But the new one fits both pony and girl better. (Girl grew, and old saddle was always okay at best.)
This is our move up division... we have been gearing for the SS, and slowly amping up for more pony.
Maybe he's too fit, and wee one can't contain the fitness in the heat of the moment.
What troubles me is the ability for her to ride safely all over show grounds, and in a real schooling ring with big 3' horses cantering around and we have no shenanigans. The shenaningans were specifically present in the show ring.
As for show sour... we don't show every weekend, and it's overnites only. He's been to 15 or so shows in 2 years. With holiday cold months turned out at grandma's farm, and the rest of the time stabled with us.
Kiddo was able to jump in schooling ring, pull up repeat in traffic with no issue.
Is it possible that the pony isn't really being ridden properly, and he is smart enough to know that he has to catch his rider off gaurd in order to get away from the situation (jumping in a show where the rider is sure to be more tense)?
I would also think about ulcers. We have one that did something similar, but when an adult would get on he would behave. Got gradually worse until he was impossible for a kid to ride. Brought him home, gave him time off and treated the ulcers. In a couple of months he was back to being a trustworthy pony. This was year before last. He just spent last year being a super safe short stirrup/childrens hunter pony.
I'd say takE him out for a couple months of the regular routine. Do fun stuff. Hack out (with you not kiddo incase he pulls his stuff) let kid play with other things like barrels and cones. Forget jumping except maybe once every two weeks. He maybe just sour to the whole show ring thing. They are smart and they know the schooling ring from a show ring. My old dressage horse was a butt in the warm up ring. Didn't want to engage didn't want to bend etc but boy he'd turn it on in the show ring. Loved it, it was show off time for him and he knew the difference. This pony probably knows this and maybe tired of the show ring. Or maybe the new height or lines is not for him. He may not be happy moving up and is a happy ss pony. I also would make sure the saddle isnt sliding and fits well
Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole
Could be ulcers, also could be something like kissing spine. Only hurts when your weight is on the sensitive area. If there is a good equine osteopath, I would have them check pony out. Definitely sounds like a reaction to pain. Might also try Cloud 9 saddle pad.....they are great!
Chill ..... You are to angry to see anything at the moment, the answers will come. The pony has been an saint up to this point, give the guy a break and work gently to figure out the reason. I also agee, a lot of showing this year.... Also, he seems to get a lot of hack, schooling, more hack, then warm up before he even enters a class...... Does he have a fever, sore feet or just tried and no energy; horse/pony usually want to please
He's a pony - and that always means taking every advantage they can. Having said that, I'd be checking his back. You said he did this on a line and that you have just moved up a height. Maybe he's having to use his back more and so is finding muscles, joints and feelings he never knew existed!
Have you got another kid rider who can get on him and jump some lines?
I once taught a little girl who had a delightful pony - except he would not go through water. Pony was for hunting, eventing, trail riding etc. When I got on him he walked straight through any water. He'd go through with a lead or in a group. He would not do new water with her. One day, once she was confident (at 9 years) we chose a pleasant spring morning and went out for a ride, aiming for a river crossing he had never been across. When we got there the two adults and two other kids got off our horses / ponies and waited while she fought it out with him. He reared, bucked, spun, bolted in the wrong direction, planted and refused to move - displayed all the nasty pony tricks he could. Rider was (still is) gutsy as, she was determined and knew that she had to have this battle. In the end (2 hours later) he gave in and walked through the river. She never again had water problems with him, anywhere. If other kids got on him, he would be the same as he had been for her at first.
If you can rule out pain issues, maybe the rider needs to win the battle, rather than you.
I had a lovely horse that bucked out of nowhere in a corner at a show, and dumped me. I forgave him because he was so dang nice, had my trainer (she comes to my farm) ride him for the next year, while I practiced on him and got brave enough to jump him again. I am 60 and cannot afford to be getting bucked off, plus I have other horses I can ride.
Anyway, about a year later, he bucked again out of nowhere at home, and dumped me.
He was not "fresh" either time, in fact, he is quite lazy. In retrospect, I think he learned that he could sort of roll me over his shoulder. In my case, I was a little tall on him and think I got ahead of his balance. I think that annoyed him. It was not my size -- my trainer is my height and heavier but she does not unbalance him. Does your kid need to sit down in the saddle a little more?