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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr. 22, 2013
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    Default Naughty Pony help please!

    I have a large pony that Im not sure what to do with. My boyfriend bought her at an auction a few years ago for really cheap. The man that sold her said that he just didnt have any use for her and that she was a sweet girl, just needed something to do. Well, he didnt lie about her being sweet! She is a great pony in many ways, and in many ways we got really lucky. She is a Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse, we got her papers with her. Shes a really sweet girl and has been a trail horse for my boyfriend for the past few years. She's awesome on the trail, goes all day even with the big horses, will lead, follow, walk trot canter, jump, through water, ditches, bridges, safe enough for beginners...shes awesome! In hand shes just as awesome, will do anything you ask of her, will load into/onto literally anything. Free lounges and free jumps great. So heres where shes not awesome:

    1) She WILL NOT ride alone. Since we've had her I've tried riding her in the ring and it takes nearly half an hour to walk me around the ring. She will back up, even rear just a little before going on around. You can forget trotting around, it just isnt happening, maybe with spurs and a crop. By the time I get her to go around the ring at a walk once, my legs are done. She will WALK around nicely with another horse in the ring, but I dont have anyone else to ride with me usually. I would love to be able to work her in the ring, w/t/c. I dont like that shes "just a trail horse".

    2) Shes having to wear a grazing muzzle for the second year now. The first year we had her all was great. Last year when the grass came in with the spring, she became one of those ponies that live on air...and here we are again this year with the same issue. The vet did look at her last year because I was concerned about Thyroid/cushings disease, but he said to just keep the grazing muzzle on...and exercise. I feel bad that shes in a grazing muzzle all the time. Last year I was able to stall her during the day with a small amount of hay and turn her out at night. That was my plan for this year as well. Shes still really big even with the grazing muzzle! Saturday I stalled her and she was fine for a while. Her buddy Noah hung out in the barn isle with her. They are nearly inseperable. However if Noah tried to go out to eat grass, she tried to jump over the stall door! Ugh, what do I do with this pony?!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 25, 2006
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    Overland, MO
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    Default

    Grazing muzzles aren't cruel and the horses get used to them. They can still eat plenty through the hole at the bottom.

    Be grateful you have a great trail horse. A lot of people would kill to have a pony like that. A lot of show horses don't trail ride, a lot of trail horses don't show/do arena work. Want to do rail work? Get another horse.


    4 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
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    Apr. 22, 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donkaloosa View Post
    Grazing muzzles aren't cruel and the horses get used to them. They can still eat plenty through the hole at the bottom.

    Be grateful you have a great trail horse. A lot of people would kill to have a pony like that. A lot of show horses don't trail ride, a lot of trail horses don't show/do arena work. Want to do rail work? Get another horse.
    Oh I know she can still eat plenty through the muzzle...it shows! I'd like to work/exercise her in the ring to bring her weight down. In reality shes only hitting the trails a handful of times a year.



  4. #4
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    Mar. 10, 2008
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    Maryland
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    122

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    How well does Noah tie? bring him to the arena with you and tie him up somewhere safe and work your pony. Work her harder when she is near Noah, only give her breaks at the far end of the arena (might have to work up to that, maybe start with her break half-way down the arena. At some point, you should be able to tie Noah outside the arena and again, make her think and work harder when she is near him, and ease up a bit the further away she is. If need be, work her in hand instead of riding, but always make it harder near her buddy and easier away.


    5 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec. 19, 2009
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    Pennsylvania
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    1. The grazing muzzle isn't cruel, so turn her out with it. Even though they say not to leave them on 24/7, I've done that and it's been fine. Just make sure you check it a couple times a day. Proper fit is very important.

    2. I'm confused how free-longing/jumping is going fine, but riding in the ring is not. Are these two different areas? Is she able to see her friend where you are free-longing, but not where you are riding? If that's the case, try riding wherever you were longing for a while.

    Trailpal had good suggestions. If you have to - alternate ground work and riding until she understands that she is NOT getting out of work.

    Will she longe (on a longe line) in the ring where you want to ride? If not well, you can still do ground work just by leading, asking her to halt, back, turn, yield away and toward you, trot in hand, etc. If you know how to long-line you can do that as well.

    My trail pony used to be my daughter's show pony, so he hasn't always been like this but I'll admit it... he loves the trails and hates the ring now. He isn't naughty in the ring, but he is a lazy butt! So I know what you mean, it takes ALL my leg to make him trot and a crop to canter (on the trail, different horse!) I just don't think he sees the point in going around in circles! Maybe your mare is kind of the same way.



  6. #6
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    Aug. 28, 2012
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    Kansas
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailpal View Post
    How well does Noah tie? bring him to the arena with you and tie him up somewhere safe and work your pony. Work her harder when she is near Noah, only give her breaks at the far end of the arena (might have to work up to that, maybe start with her break half-way down the arena. At some point, you should be able to tie Noah outside the arena and again, make her think and work harder when she is near him, and ease up a bit the further away she is. If need be, work her in hand instead of riding, but always make it harder near her buddy and easier away.
    This.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul. 18, 2008
    Location
    Ohio, USA
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    631

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    Originally Posted by trailpal
    How well does Noah tie? bring him to the arena with you and tie him up somewhere safe and work your pony. Work her harder when she is near Noah, only give her breaks at the far end of the arena (might have to work up to that, maybe start with her break half-way down the arena. At some point, you should be able to tie Noah outside the arena and again, make her think and work harder when she is near him, and ease up a bit the further away she is. If need be, work her in hand instead of riding, but always make it harder near her buddy and easier away.
    Quote Originally Posted by californianinkansas View Post
    This.
    +1 for me as well. Training is work, but if you ever want these issues to resolve, you've got to put in the time and effort it takes. It won't go away on it's own.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  8. #8
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    Aug. 10, 2010
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    I would suspect that with such a problem, the pony was never put through a proper training program. I would start over from 0 as if she'd never been trained. Round pen work from the ground, working into training to move when I tell er to, stop when I say stop, etc. Lots of ground work. Nothing in the saddle until she's doing real good on everything else. And then start saddle work with very basic moves, right turn, left turn, pivot on front, and rear, etc. May take a bunch of time. And will probably hit some sticky spots where you'd have to jump off and put her busy with ground work again for a bit to get her moving.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
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    Oct. 25, 2008
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    410

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    This. Gaited horses rarely receive any training, in fact most of the farms I've been to didn't have any sort of arena. Their "training" involves putting a saddle on the horse and having it follow another horse down the trail, which sounds like your pony. I'm pretty sure she's never been ridden in an arena. You're going to have to start all the way back to the beginning and treat her like a green horse, which she is.


    Quote Originally Posted by reubenT View Post
    I would suspect that with such a problem, the pony was never put through a proper training program. I would start over from 0 as if she'd never been trained. Round pen work from the ground, working into training to move when I tell er to, stop when I say stop, etc. Lots of ground work. Nothing in the saddle until she's doing real good on everything else. And then start saddle work with very basic moves, right turn, left turn, pivot on front, and rear, etc. May take a bunch of time. And will probably hit some sticky spots where you'd have to jump off and put her busy with ground work again for a bit to get her moving.



  10. #10
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    Apr. 22, 2013
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    Sorry about the delay in responding to you all. I was off work yesterday and I dont have internet at home I will reply to each of you in a sec. I thank you for your advice and suggestions!



  11. #11
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    Apr. 22, 2013
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    36

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    Quote Originally Posted by trailpal View Post
    How well does Noah tie? bring him to the arena with you and tie him up somewhere safe and work your pony. Work her harder when she is near Noah, only give her breaks at the far end of the arena (might have to work up to that, maybe start with her break half-way down the arena. At some point, you should be able to tie Noah outside the arena and again, make her think and work harder when she is near him, and ease up a bit the further away she is. If need be, work her in hand instead of riding, but always make it harder near her buddy and easier away.
    Thats a great idea, thanks! I think at first Noah may not stand quietly, he's a worrier when it comes to "his" little mare. But perhaps I could feed him his grain there while he's tied to help calm him while I work Ms. Fatty. I will try this when I get home this evening. Again, thank you!



  12. #12
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    Apr. 22, 2013
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    36

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldpony66 View Post
    1. The grazing muzzle isn't cruel, so turn her out with it. Even though they say not to leave them on 24/7, I've done that and it's been fine. Just make sure you check it a couple times a day. Proper fit is very important.
    She's been turned out with it on 24/7 for quite a while now. I know its not cruel. Last year she seemed to slim down a little when I put it on her, as if it were working...this year not so much. Its almost as though it isnt restricting her from her usual intake of grass. I really wish I had a dirt lot for her, but I dont and I rent and Im not sure my landlord (although he's very gracious) would appreciate a dirt lot. I do check the muzzle often for rubs, especially since I had to dang near glue it to her face because she was getting it off somehow.

    2. I'm confused how free-longing/jumping is going fine, but riding in the ring is not. Are these two different areas? Is she able to see her friend where you are free-longing, but not where you are riding? If that's the case, try riding wherever you were longing for a while.
    The ring where she is being free-longed/free jumping is the same ring where I'm trying to ride her. Same place, just different horse when you hop on her back

    Trailpal had good suggestions. If you have to - alternate ground work and riding until she understands that she is NOT getting out of work.

    Will she longe (on a longe line) in the ring where you want to ride? If not well, you can still do ground work just by leading, asking her to halt, back, turn, yield away and toward you, trot in hand, etc. If you know how to long-line you can do that as well.

    My trail pony used to be my daughter's show pony, so he hasn't always been like this but I'll admit it... he loves the trails and hates the ring now. He isn't naughty in the ring, but he is a lazy butt! So I know what you mean, it takes ALL my leg to make him trot and a crop to canter (on the trail, different horse!) I just don't think he sees the point in going around in circles! Maybe your mare is kind of the same way.
    My replies are in bold.



  13. #13
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    Apr. 22, 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malda View Post
    This. Gaited horses rarely receive any training, in fact most of the farms I've been to didn't have any sort of arena. Their "training" involves putting a saddle on the horse and having it follow another horse down the trail, which sounds like your pony. I'm pretty sure she's never been ridden in an arena. You're going to have to start all the way back to the beginning and treat her like a green horse, which she is.
    I have thought this exactly about her many times.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  14. #14
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    Oct. 12, 2001
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    does she trail ride alone ok, or only in company?



  15. #15
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    Apr. 22, 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by wendy View Post
    does she trail ride alone ok, or only in company?
    ONLY in company.



  16. #16
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    Apr. 22, 2013
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    So when I got home yesterday evening I took the plump girl into the ring. I was a little nervous about tying Noah so I left him outside the ring (its all fenced in so he really had no where to go. He could trot a small distance back and forth) with his grain. Blondie (the plump mare) was all business and didnt even so much as bat an eye in Noahs direction. Noah on the other hand was worried about his girl and trotted back and forth a little before figuring she was alright and returning to his grain. Blondie and I did everything in hand that I could think of. She's a smart little girl and learns very quickly...on the ground anyway. She never once batted an eye at Noah, her focus was totally on me and what to do next. She's so stinkin' good on the ground. I honestly dont think that she cares if Noah is nearby or not, I think Noah is more attached to her than she to him.


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  17. #17
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    Jul. 26, 2007
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    Am I right in understanding that she's only ridden "a handful of times a year" or is that just on the trails? I guess I'm not sure how much she is getting ridden. Not that there is any "should" about how often a horse gets ridden (it sounds like she has a nice life, and I appreciate the OP giving this to her!), but I think it can make it harder to establish new patterns of behavior if it's only a few times a year/a couple times a month.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  18. #18
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    Apr. 22, 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by SharonA View Post
    Am I right in understanding that she's only ridden "a handful of times a year" or is that just on the trails? I guess I'm not sure how much she is getting ridden. Not that there is any "should" about how often a horse gets ridden (it sounds like she has a nice life, and I appreciate the OP giving this to her!), but I think it can make it harder to establish new patterns of behavior if it's only a few times a year/a couple times a month.
    Yes you're right. She hasnt really been in consistent work since we've had her. She's so safe on the trail (in company) that you can literally pull her out of the field after sitting for months and go on a nice trail ride. When we got her, we were trail riding at least 4 times a month. During that time my boyfriend and I did try to ride her in the ring without much success. She'd back up for 10 feet, take two steps forward, rear just a little, walk for a while, call to the other horses, walk some more. So we basically gave up on her being a "ring horse". My boyfriend has since lost interest in horses (but still loves his Blondie even if its only to look at her and brush her) so we dont trail ride nearly as often. She's been on one trail ride this year. Two years ago she went on a judged trail ride (unjudged, just following me and my mount who were being judged) and did spectacularly. Prior to that she hadnt been ridden in many many months. Since we dont trail ride much anymore (in the past 2 years) she's pretty much a pasture ornament. Due to her being able to "live on air" I'd like to ride her in the ring to help with her weight.



  19. #19
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    Mar. 10, 2008
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    I have found that horses usually like some level of consistency. If her "consistency" is being a pasture potato 26 days a month, that's what makes her happy. So it will be a process to get her "consistency" adjusted to ring work - don't give up after a time or two.

    From what you described in this effort, it doesn't sound like she is particularly ring sour. What you were doing was interesting to her. When she was ridden in the ring before, was it you or your boyfriend riding her? He might not have had the skills to ask her to keep going forward, so she gave him some evasions.

    What do you do in the arena? Some people just ride around and around and it can be boring for the horse & human. But if you have some specific exercises to do (like bending or prepping for lateral work) or obstacle work (like patterns or a bridge or weaving poles), it's a lot more interesting for both you and the horse. It will get the horse to work more (and burn some weight) as well as getting her belly tightened and improve her topline. I think Cherry Hill has a book of patterns where you can lay out small sport cones and do interesting work that will pay off here.

    And you can always hack out around the farm (if not on the trails) after a ring session to help her cool out both physically and mentally.



  20. #20
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    Apr. 22, 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailpal View Post
    I have found that horses usually like some level of consistency. If her "consistency" is being a pasture potato 26 days a month, that's what makes her happy. So it will be a process to get her "consistency" adjusted to ring work - don't give up after a time or two.

    From what you described in this effort, it doesn't sound like she is particularly ring sour. What you were doing was interesting to her. When she was ridden in the ring before, was it you or your boyfriend riding her? He might not have had the skills to ask her to keep going forward, so she gave him some evasions.
    It was both of us. I started out getting on her myself since you never know what youre getting from an auction sometimes. When I felt that she wasnt too dangerous for my "beginner" boyfriend, he'd hop on and I'd lead her forward when he applied leg, just to re-inforce to "go forward" cue.

    What do you do in the arena? Some people just ride around and around and it can be boring for the horse & human. But if you have some specific exercises to do (like bending or prepping for lateral work) or obstacle work (like patterns or a bridge or weaving poles), it's a lot more interesting for both you and the horse. It will get the horse to work more (and burn some weight) as well as getting her belly tightened and improve her topline. I think Cherry Hill has a book of patterns where you can lay out small sport cones and do interesting work that will pay off here.
    Honestly right now we do all kinds of things in hand. Jumping, sidepassing, trotting, back up, etc. I havent done much with her under saddle yet because I know how she's going to react. A couple months ago I had a friend ride Noah inthe ring while I rode Blondie, and while she walked me around nicely, she would not go any faster. I DO LOVE the obstacle work suggestion and will def. look into some obstacles for her. She loves obstacles in hand and on the trail in company.
    And you can always hack out around the farm (if not on the trails) after a ring session to help her cool out both physically and mentally.
    My replies in bold



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