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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 15, 2005
    Location
    Cambridge Springs, PA
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    3,158

    Default NASTY pony - my plan for him, your opinions, advice, etc. REALLLLLLY LONG.

    I have a coming 2 yr old 12 hh pony at my barn that was kicked out of one place and told never to come back... at another place the workers were scared of him so sometimes he wasn't getting turned out because only certain people would go in to put his halter on, etc.

    Then he came here...

    I do have to say I've never met a nastier equine. But we deal with him.. he is slowly improving but he still tries things and you can't trust him. He barely led properly when he came. I do charge the owners what I call a "handling" fee because of how much of a pain he can be. I cannot vacation because he is here - can't find someone who I would feel comfortable with them having to deal with this guy. All the other horses are pretty well mannered.

    He was castrated in his first year of life due to his temperament. Apparently it did not affect much change. I've been trying to convince the owner to get the hormone test done to see if he perhaps has a retained testicle. So far she just wants to try vit. B crumbles. -sigh-

    This pony bites (and I mean mouth wide open lunging straight at you with the whites of his eyes showing), he kicks, he rears, he strikes... he's just plain nasty. Ears pinned most of the time and eyes wild, etc.

    I don't know why he is this way. Was he born this way... was he made this way by kids harassing him at the boarding barn he was foaled at? I dunno and it doesn't really matter. This is what I keep telling the owner. What matters is what happens from now ON.

    He's been here since August... and he's now leading better but it's not consistent and I use a stud chain on him (he is not generally controllable without it). You can back him on a lead line now. (I know it sounds like nothing but with this one it was an accomplishment). He single ties now and is learning to cross tie, he's getting better about his legs being handled, and is learning to pick up front feet. I can't tackle the back ones till he cross ties better. I'll do his stall with him in it if someone is in the barn in case he "gets" me. He is generally okay now with someone in his stall but I still don't take any chances when no ones here (hence why he learned to single tie). You can actually pet him now... sometimes he actually 'softens' and enjoys it. He likes being groomed mostly.

    He's getting to understand our relationship. He knows that there are unforgiveable things.. like biting and kicking and rearing/striking for which I will "kill" him... and he DOES back off. And he has learned that minor mistakes like say jigging while being led, due to excitement, only get a firm "WHOA" and a tug on the line and if he stops then we're all good. I point this out because you could not correct him before... ANYTHING... any pressure, touch, vocalization and he was prepared to FIGHT. If he starts pinning his ears at me and "glaring" I just say "NOOoooo BAD" in a low stern voice and now he'll actually change his expression and approach in a nicer manner.

    SO. He IS getting it. He's learned that he can trust me to treat him in specific ways at specific times and what consequences his actions will have. YET, he still tries to bite, kick, rear, strike, etc not as often as before though. And I mean NASTY... he does all this AT YOU, trying to get you. Not just jumping around next to you like most youngsters will do at one time or another.

    So I'm getting a round pen this spring. The owners want me to work with him in there. I think it may help. Just for him to learn to take some direction without any physical connection. And I do think he's very smart and I think he will like having a "job" and learning new things. I plan to just teach him to move off, change direction, halt, vocal commands and hopefully to approach people in a polite manner. And if we can get that far then I think we can solve this issue as we can always go back to these basics if the agression returns with new situations.

    I dunno though. My advice to the owners was to train the pony for a buggy because I would not feel right EVER okaying him for a kids pony. Its too bad too because he's well bred and very fancy.

    So ... if anyone has any suggestions beyond what I've done and my plan for the future... or suggestions for a potential future career for a pony who I don't consider trustworthy to have around kids...please let me know. If you don't have any suggestions I'll take sympathy
    www.hogbackhillfarm.com



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun. 17, 2001
    Location
    down the road from bar.ka
    Posts
    33,685

    Default

    Does anybody else work with, or even touch this one?

    How involved are the owners? Do they come out and mess with him?

    The only shot this one has IMO is if a pro handles him 100% of the time. You and only you need to do the 5 day a week kind of a schedual that might establish a better behavior pattern in this youngster...and the only reason I even think this has half a chance is he is just a 2 year old.

    The other thing is a complete vet work up looking for anything out of the ordinary here...not throwing vitamin crumbles at it. If the owners don't agree to get on this? You need to get this brat out of your barn before somebody gets hurt.

    Sorry. But bad behavior like this is a huge liability and if the owners do not take serious measures to stop it, they need to take it elsewhere.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun. 28, 2003
    Posts
    4,520

    Default

    Why is it that people seem to feel if the horse can't do anything else - train him to drive?

    He jigs, he bites, he kicks, he needs a stud chain to lead him... what makes you think he will be a safe and sane driving horse? When you drive, the horse is way out in front of you connected to the carriage by traces and to you by reins and voice. There has to be a pretty strong trust level between people and horse for this to work well. If you can't trust him on the ground or under saddle he is likely NOT a good driving prospect, especially if the owners are not very experienced drivers who like a feisty critter.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul. 15, 2005
    Location
    Cambridge Springs, PA
    Posts
    3,158

    Default

    Hi findeight,

    I'm really glad to get your input on this. No one else works with this pony. The only other people who handle him at all are my husband occasionally leads him in or out and he's been very appropriate in his handling of him. Other than that just the farrier or vet as necessary.

    The owners live in FL and only summer up here so they have not seen the pony since August and they do not plan on interacting with him at all really. They may come visit him once or twice this summer. So far the plan is to leave him here another year and see where we are at when he is 3.

    I agree he needs a serious vet workup and especially the hormone test just to rule anything out! I wish they'd pony up for it because it sure might help.

    I do plan on working with him more formally when the weather has broken and I have the round pen. How often does depend on how many days they're willing to pay for... and I'm charging a *very reasonable* (read CHEAP) fee for that. I do work with him about 5 - 10 minutes in the morning and the same in the evening pretty much everyday as part of his "handling" fee. Just reinforcing the basics of leading and interacting. It took him FOREVER to accept any direction or correction without fighting... this only starting happening where he would offer the correct response about a month ago. Now I feel like we've got something to work with as we have a relationship now that he understands.

    I don't really want to work with him on a lunge line or anything because of how resentful of pressure/correction he is... AND I don't want to be "attached" to him. I'm not the most cooordinated with a lunge line. I also don't think thats the right "venue" to deal with his issues. I'm not a big NH person. I learned about round penning before it was all popularized. I just feel it'd be easiest for me to deal with him in that setting and also easiest for him to learn, clearly by body language and not pressure.

    If you think theres other exercises I can do with him in the mean time please let me know.
    www.hogbackhillfarm.com



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul. 15, 2005
    Location
    Cambridge Springs, PA
    Posts
    3,158

    Default

    Drive NJ,

    I suggested driving because then he could be owned and used by an ADULT... not a child... thats all.

    He is an extremely fancy pony and he MAY train up to do a job fine but always be a rank beast on the ground.. I don't know. He's only 2 this spring. Even if his attitude improves 100% I STILL don't think I'd ever trust him with a kid because I KNOW what his baseline is.. and that he will want to revert to that in stressful situations or if allowed.

    An adult might be able to get some enjoyment out of a fancy driving pony with an attitude problem. For a kid he would just be dangerous.

    Sorry, it had nothing to do with thinking driving was easy or whatnot.. just that it was the only occupation I could think of where he could be owned by an adult.
    www.hogbackhillfarm.com



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul. 15, 2005
    Location
    Cambridge Springs, PA
    Posts
    3,158

    Default

    Sorry, to clarify something:

    The owners bred this guy. The daughters pony was a bit of a spitfire... so someone suggested to them to breed to her quiet her down. She is a very nice Welsh and they bred her to a very fancy pony stud. The little mare DID settle down but the offspring is 10 times worse than she ever was.

    They plan on selling the youngster.

    The pony mare came here with a fractured knee and her son came here with an attitude problem. I guess I'm starting to get a local rep. for dealing with "issues" when the owner doesn't want to do so. The injury rehab is something I definitely do... I don't mean that part.
    www.hogbackhillfarm.com



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar. 1, 2005
    Location
    maryland
    Posts
    5,219

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by VCT View Post
    The daughters pony was a bit of a spitfire... so someone suggested to them to breed to her quiet her down.
    and double-

    They plan on selling the youngster.
    To someone who wants an attack pony?

    The pony mare came here with a fractured knee and her son came here with an attitude problem. I guess I'm starting to get a local rep. for dealing with "issues" when the owner doesn't want to do so. The injury rehab is something I definitely do... I don't mean that part.
    Ship him off to a fulltime training barn, someone experienced in difficult horses. You don't need this, and it sounds like training isn't your FT business. Who will feed all your horses if this little monster send you to the hospital?



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul. 15, 2005
    Location
    Cambridge Springs, PA
    Posts
    3,158

    Default

    MayS,

    I know, I rolled my eyes too when I heard why they bred her...

    attack pony, hehehe

    Well, no one else will take him really. The owners are fussy about where he goes and I don't blame them... the problem could easily get worse, not better.

    I don't mind doing ground training/basic training. I just don't break horses or deal with bad ones under saddle because of back problems. I've dealt with difficult horses before.. actually I think horses are easier than ponies because at least theres are bigger "safe zones" - little ponies can twist around on you so fast without much slack in the line, etc.
    www.hogbackhillfarm.com



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 30, 2007
    Location
    Mechanicsville, VA
    Posts
    2,186

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by VCT View Post
    He was castrated in his first year of life due to his temperament. Apparently it did not affect much change. I've been trying to convince the owner to get the hormone test done to see if he perhaps has a retained testicle. So far she just wants to try vit. B crumbles. -sigh-
    The whole time I was reading this I was thinking retained testicle- then I got to this paragraph! lol. I would just tell the owner- look currently you have a dangerous animal and we need to have the vet out to rule out some type of medical issue, and that's final! The vet can be the one to decide whether a retained issue is possible- or maybe the pony is neurologic, or had an injury somewhere causing pain, thus causing his to be a jerk. OR maybe he is just a jerk then you can feel a little better about smackin him around!
    Meredith Barlow, EqDT
    http://www.equidentistry.com
    Meredith offers seminars on equine dentistry free of charge. Call or email to set up yours today!



  10. #10
    Join Date
    May. 3, 2006
    Posts
    11,568

    Default

    DriveNJ is absolutely right with the earlier posting.

    You haven't got a cat in hell's chance of making a pony that does all of what is described into a decent driving pony.

    A driving pony HAS to be sensible and confident and a heck of a lot better trained than any riding horse.

    You only have your hands and voice to manage a driving horse and it makes no difference if you're an adult or a kid a one that is as described here won't cut it.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2006
    Posts
    718

    Default

    I can only offer sympathy. I got a drugged pony and she turned into another beast once I opened the trailer door. I couldn't send her back as Lord knows what they would have done with her. She was 18 mon. reared, kicked, spun, was very head shy, would never tie. Pretty much a psycho.

    With alot of time and tender touches she has turned into a decent pony. I would never trust her with a kid. I'm afraid to put her between the shafts as I think she would jump out of them!

    Thing is she is smart, can be loving, soo basically she is my on the road walking partner. This worked pretty well until someone threw a beer can at us! But she is my weaning pony (if I ever need one). She is my companion horse if I ever need one. She is pretty much a lawn ornament/charity case. I expect nothing from her and she always excels. She has hackney in her and I think was just overbred, I would sell her, but I would be disappointed because you never know what she will do next! I always have good stories to tell!

    Big thing is I found was find where he likes petted, see if he like apples/carrots anything. Make him want to be your best buddy. Believe it or not at 5 I lead her just by a hand on her pole. She has also turned into a trick pony, she longes, she line drives, she likes her saddle but would I trust her NOPE!

    Some horses are not meant to be ridden and you might have one. Thank GOD he's gelded! At least being a pony he's a easy keeper. (PS This pony should not be getting any grain, I assume you know this, its like feeding candy to a kid)



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul. 15, 2005
    Location
    Cambridge Springs, PA
    Posts
    3,158

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    Okidoki,
    Well thanks for the input on the driving with an adult idea...
    Guess he has to improve and at best will be one of those ponies that kids can only be on top of and can't handle on the ground.
    We'll see if he can even get there.
    www.hogbackhillfarm.com



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug. 30, 2005
    Location
    Up and down the west coast!
    Posts
    3,886

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    Quote Originally Posted by VCT View Post
    The owners bred this guy. The daughters pony was a bit of a spitfire... so someone suggested to them to breed to her quiet her down.
    Ah, my #1 pet peeve in the breeding world!

    Well, this post should be kept and sent to everybody who wants to breed their crazy mare to settle her down. Breeding an evil/crazy mare just results in an evil/crazy baby and two evil/crazy horses to handle instead of one.

    I'm with you that he might be cryptorchid. He really needs to be checked for that, but I'm sure at least part of his behavior is his genetics...the owners shouldn't be surprised. He sounds like he is getting better. I would not actually round pen him off a line because of the aggression...I'd want to have more control than that. I suspect he's going to learn to respect you, the question is, will he respect anyone else?



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul. 15, 2005
    Location
    Cambridge Springs, PA
    Posts
    3,158

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    RU2U,
    Thanks for the sympathy...
    One thing that IS good about this little guy is that he is VERY confident. Bold... never spooks and is not head shy or anything like that. He's just agressive. Otherwise he's very calm.


    catskn,
    I totally agree with you on the breeding thing. I guess the mare was never really that bad.. and she's a total doll now. Baby is much much worse... and the stud was a sweetie pie so I guess they figured it would be okay. Who knows.. I was not involved with the clients at that point in time at all.

    I know what you mean about the round pen and I would not have done it last fall but he does respect me pretty well now... he tries stuff occasionally but he always backs down from me now. I'm really good in the round pen and not so good with a lunge line. I say this in context, I can lunge and have trained horses to lunge.. but thats not the medium I choose to deal with problem horses. I always worry about getting tangled up in a bad situation and hey, if I've got the horse, they've got me. I just personally feel much more comfortable in the freedom of the round pen and have done well with problem horses in the pen before. I'm really excited to be getting my own!

    (as a side note: I can't wait to play with my youngster in it! Mostly this will be for us to bond more and have fun, maybe some small free jumping. He's turning 3 this spring. He already leads, ties, crossties, trailers, bathes, wears tack, walks over obstacles and has jumped one small jump on the lead line - so cute!... and knows how to lunge but not great as I haven't done much of it with him cuz he's still a baby and looks very baby-ish yet. Just did enough so he got the picture of what lunging was. I brought him to a couple shows last summer and I showed him in Grooming and Showmanship at one show and he got 2nd! Anyways, enough gushing about my dreampony!) - gotta get back to thinking about the evil pony. -sigh-
    www.hogbackhillfarm.com



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep. 16, 2005
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    2,038

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by VCT View Post
    MayS,

    I know, I rolled my eyes too when I heard why they bred her...

    attack pony, hehehe

    Well, no one else will take him really. The owners are fussy about where he goes and I don't blame them... the problem could easily get worse, not better.

    I don't mind doing ground training/basic training. I just don't break horses or deal with bad ones under saddle because of back problems. I've dealt with difficult horses before.. actually I think horses are easier than ponies because at least theres are bigger "safe zones" - little ponies can twist around on you so fast without much slack in the line, etc.

    I can only sympathize with you and hope you don't get hurt, but I hope people out there thinking about breeding will read this. Hapless breeding makes me see red and this is a perfect example. I have learned to bite my tongue at the barn when I hear people rationalize buying a horse "with issues" by saying they can always breed her. You are dealing with a living, breathing example. I almost lost a friendship over my being honest with a friend who is breeding her "pigeon-toed witchy mare who gets cellulitis every time she touches mud and who practically killed her as a teenager" this year. Doesn't that sound like a horse we need more of??



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct. 14, 2004
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    9,067

    Default

    How much turnout is he getting? You mentioned that you clean his stall with him in it. Perhaps he needs a lot more turnout time.

    I actually feel sorry for the little guy - you just know this guy is not going to have a very good life or a long one for that matter. And if it was human induced, I'd like to tear the head off the person who caused this...
    MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"
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    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul. 15, 2005
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    Cambridge Springs, PA
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    3,158

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    cartera45,

    I can totally understand where you're coming from.

    I just don't think the mare was that bad though... the owners are the type who want ammy horses and the pony mare was a little strong and spunky... but not *evil*... I guess they though breeding her to a sweet pony stud would be ok. *shrug*

    I will say the pony has VERY good breeding. I'm not going to say who because of how his temperament has turned out so far but I will say that I think it was really a fluke or recessive on the mare's side or something. Mare is quite cute and fancy as well and is a total sweetie as long as I've known her. I've known and boarded other offspring from the same stud and they've been totally easy-pleasy.

    Who knows
    www.hogbackhillfarm.com



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug. 30, 2001
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    2,642

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    Well, my thoughts are you have a farm to run, and what if this psycho pony hurts you while you are training it for "cheap." If the owners won't cough up some money and allow you to thoroughly investiagate all of the potential avenues (such as cryptorchid) I wouldn't be willing to continue to risk my safety. What is the point really of trying to work with the pony if there is an underlying problem? If they will "pony up" (pun intended) some money and allow you to have the pony thoroughly checked out and will pay you an appropriate amount for training this dangerous pony then I might reconsider and allow the pony to stay and work with it.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul. 12, 2006
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    289

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    I used to ride a pony that sounds just like that for some people- he was gelded around 2 and was about 3-4 years old when I rode him, great breeding. After a few months I stopped because I was getting a horse of my own, but I had wondered how the pony turned out. About 5-7 years later I found out he had become a famous medium pony hunter. I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't give up because they can sometimes mature and grow out of it. However, he could stay like this forever, so who knows.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul. 15, 2005
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    Cambridge Springs, PA
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    Huntertwo,

    Generally they are out 10 -12 hours per day. When I mention the stall cleaning I am talking about the occasional day when they stay in due to weather or when I pick stalls at nitecheck.

    I have 3 paddocks that are roughly 1.5-2 acres each, his is closer to 2 acres and he is out with 2 other horses and they all get free choice hay...

    Someone else mentioned about grain...
    He gets a half a pound of 12% protein grain. He was a bit skinny when he came and is still growing. My trainer, who also teaches the Mom of the family who owns the ponies recommended keeping up with the grain when he arrived. He even said I could up it cuz the pony was kinda skinny but I didn't because of his attitude... I'm wondering if they were giving him the feed he was said to be getting at the old place because he looks just right now and I never upped it. (Owners know this)
    www.hogbackhillfarm.com



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