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help!herd-bound pony

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  • help!herd-bound pony

    so i schooled my pony in the ring today,and did my dressage test for the first time after the other two girls in my group lesson left to untack,and my pony had the mother off all meltdowns(bucking,spinning to the left,whinnying etc)..It got to the point where my instructor had to have one of the girls come back into the ring with her horse so that pony could see he wasn't alone and re-gain composure...so my question is,how can i get him past that?Because obviously when we do our test we'll be alone in the ring

  • #2
    Ride the little rascal throught it, my horse USED to do the same thing, NOT ANYMORE!

    He would spin,whinny,buck a little, and do little rears. I just kept insisting that he go my way or no way. Took several minutes to straighten it out and then back to work. Then for many rides after that had to insist the same thing at the beginning until he worked quietly. Now he will work alone anywhere with no complaints.

    Don't do anything by his rules it should be all you, if he wants to go left and get out of working alone, go right, and carry on.


    • #3
      Agree that you need to make him understand he needs to be good when he's by himself, but don't get yourself hurt in the process.

      I went through the same thing with my horse but when he started to have a meltdown, I got off, put side reins on, got a lung line on him and worked him until he was ready to listen. Then I got back on and did some work.

      The first day (meltdown day) it took him about 45 minutes in side reins and lunging before he would stop flinging his head in the air, screaming for the other horse,bucking and trying to run on the lunge line beore he started paying attention. I just waited it out and did lots of transistions (when he was able to listen enough to do them) and then, when he was starting to be good (when he was getting tired, we did about another 15 minutes of work on the lunge.

      Then I took off the side reins etc and got back on. I had a different horse. He was very submissive. A couple of times, he thought about throwing his head and screaming, and I smacked him with my whip and went forward in a canter - did 10 meter circles etc. Give him something else to do and think about other than "oh no Im all alone.........!!" He was tired enough by then that I wasnt worried about getting dumped which was clearly a concern before.

      The next day, I started by lunging him in side reins and it took a half hour instead of 45 minutes. For the enxt week, I started each session with a lunge in side reins and after about 4 or 5 sessions, he quit the rodeo act. If I know if he hasnt been out in a few days, that I will start him on the lunge with side reins. But it doesnt take long now for him to give in and just go to work.

      Let your horse know you mean business and wont quit just because he is having a meltdown. A calm approach to doing more work will help him realize he can live through this and needs to just deal with being by himself.


      • #4
        Agree, just work him thru it. Keep insisting on forward. You can try to wean him away from his friends. Maybe start with them outside the ring and get a little further away everyday. My guy use to act up when his buddies went to shows with us and he had to leave them and go work. I just kept riding and now he could careless.
        Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


        • #5
          I too have had to work through this. I agree that you need to do what you're comfortable with and don't put yourself in a position to get hurt. If that means someone else needs to get on and ride him through it then so be it. My little pony got here with severe bratitude. She had a reputation of being unrideable and unmanageable in the lines. I restarted her and all was fine, or so I thought. I knew she was a little herd bound but didn't "get" how bad because I always took her out of her turn out group and rode her in one of our arenas which she did willingly. It wasn't until my kids were riding her turnout buddies in the arena with me one afternoon and then they decided to leave that the real fireworks started. She is one little explosive pony (rearing, spinning, crow hopping and the like) ..............but......................she never made the same mistake again I can have anyone ride with me and leave .....or me leave......and she realizes she just has to keep on working, no matter what. I felt confident I could ride through her temper tantrum though so I wouldn't try it unless you feel that you are safe with whatever is thrown at you.
          Ranch of Last Resort


          • #6
            I would guess that your instructor had a plan in mind, and wanted to finish it, so gave in to the little monster.

            I agree you must work him through this. If it becomes unsafe for you to stay in the saddle or you fear you may be dumped, dismount, grab a longe line, and longe him. Then when he settles on the longe, get back on for 5 min. Begin to make it a habit to ride alone. It's fun to have friends with you, but.......
            If you must, in the beginning of your "new rules" for the pony, longe him every time for a few minutes first, do it. Always plan ahead.
            Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

            Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


            • #7
              Turn him out be himself if possible.
              Free bar.ka and tidy rabbit.