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Polo pony needs new job!!

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  • Polo pony needs new job!!

    I have had this mare for about 5 years , she is approx. 18 yrs., 16h., and a T.B.. She was a polo pony and is no longer rideable due to a suspected nerve problem in her back, she also is not breedable. She is a great companion, but there are not enough decent situations for them. I was wondering if there was any possibility she might have a future in driving?

    She has had all 5 years off on pasture and her back seems better(she used to twitch uncontrollably when anything including water was put on her back) and if a rider got on her she would rear up and flip over . Now I can brush, bathe, and blanket with no twitching. I have no interest in trying to ride her again(or let anybody else), however I would love her to have a purpose other than hayburner if possible. I know nothing about driving, besides ground driving a young horse, so I am looking for any help. I don't know if this would irritate her back as I don't fully understand the weight distribution of the cart and harness. It is more difficult than I thought to find the info online. She is a sweet mare that loves attention and is verrrry patient. She has a good home no matter what, unless the right companion situation comes along. Thanks in advance!!
    Just cause you move to Texas, doesn't mean you are a Texan. After all, if a cat puts her kittens in the oven, It doesn't make them Bisquits.

  • #2
    Sorry but an old TB, with a habit of rearing is about the worst choice for a driving horse that I can think of.

    With a cart, there is still some weight placed on the horse's back over the saddle area of the harness. That is why that area is padded on many harnesses.

    I would not risk trying to break such a horse to cart.
    Luistano Stallion standing for 2013: Wolverine UVF


    • #3
      IMO, the "old TB" part isn't the issue (hell, mine certainly worked out pretty well). Unfortunately, the back problem is very likely to be A Problem. With a 2-wheeled vehicle (which you would want to start off with, for safety reasons), the horse does carry a certain amount of weight on its back. Not only that, but I'd be worried that any possible nerve damage in her back might cause her to overcompensate with other muscles and do severe damage to her back end.

      Do you have an exact veterinary diagnosis of what the back problem is??
      "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief


      • #4
        "Why not TB's?"

        Just for kicks, you might want to look up this thread in the driving section. There are pages and pages on driving or not driving with TBs. Not all TBs are suitable driving horses and I don't know whether as a first time driver, with a green horse, that a TB is suitable choice (just my opinion and yes, sometimes I am sure it can work out).

        I won't say no way, no how but hot blooded horses are...more difficult for a variety of reasons but often just because they are more reactive, especially for a novice driver.
        Luistano Stallion standing for 2013: Wolverine UVF


        • #5
          no i dont think she wil be suitable for driving her back is a problem to her and driving wouldnt be ideal for this mare
          if you looking for a job for her to do why not show her in hand in verteran classes the age starts at 15yrs and over this is what i do with spare neds that have no job to do that perhaps cant be ridden for one reason or another i show them locally in local shows to give them a job and soemthing to work towards with exercise plus its great fun win or lose i dont care keep them fit in mind and body kinda thing


          • Original Poster

            Thanks for the help !! I haven't had a good diagnosis from a vet . they have just said that is the the most likely possibility given her background and symptoms and pasture rest would be the best thing .
            She is not hot or stupid and was a talented polo pony until this back problem. I have never thought it was behavioral as she is very calm and didn't act up when being ridden prior to the rearing which only happened a couple of times. The previous owners decided to give her away as a broodmare prospect rather than figure out the problem.
            She would have no career in the show ring as she is not very pretty with only o.k. conformation, but it was a different idea.
            As I said before, I don't know anything about driving. Ive always had horses and have ridden so his is not my fist horse or anything. Also in these harder economic times it's difficult to justify keeping horses that aren't useful. However, once you get to know them you don't want them to ever not be cared for properly. If driving isn't a viable option, I'll just try to find a good situation for her or a farm in my price range with more land. Thanks again!!
            Just cause you move to Texas, doesn't mean you are a Texan. After all, if a cat puts her kittens in the oven, It doesn't make them Bisquits.


            • #7
              Breed is not the issue here obviously. As one who drives a non-tradional driving breed and one that is considered "hot:", I think you must consider her as an individual. You are looking for a calm, willing, submissive horse who is trusting and intelligent. I know personally several Thoroughbreds who drive.

              As for the back problem., I gotta agree with the statement above. You do not want a horse that rears between the shafts of a vehicle. Not a good thing.

              You might try ground driving/long lining her to see how she reacts to the surcingle. Doi you have access to an old harness that you can try on her? There are some relative cheap nylon ones in catalogs for around a hundred bucks that would work for this. I would NEVER drive a horse in one attached to a cart-- Many horror stories there. But I did managed to get one when I was training my youngster. It was great for teaching him on the long lines.
              There are things you can do to simulate shafts, but the real weight issue does not come into play until you have an actual cart and someone in hat cart.

              If you know someone with a cart, try this. It will give you an idea of the weight factor on the horse;s back. Pick up the shafts and hold then. If the cart is balanced, you should not feel a lot of weight in your hand. It the cart is front end heavy, all the weight you feel will be distributed in her back on a 5 or 6 inch band . Making sure you have a good hold on both shafts, have someone step into the cart. It will amaze you the weight on the shaft side when they first step in, sense the unbalance of the weight until they ge seated. Once they are seated, again, all of this weight can be on the horse. If the cart is well balanced, you should be able to hold the shafts literally in a circle of thumb and finger.

              I did this with a cart I had and it blew me out of the water when I realized how much weight my mare was carrying. We rebalanced the cart and it is pretty light on her now. But it sure changed how quick I get in and out of the cart now. I even use a mounting block to step directly into the cart without using the shaft step.

              Good luck and let us know if you go forward with your idea.


              • #8
                i wasnt surgesting high level showing but lower keyed things as unaffilliated
                you can still have a job for her doing showing at lower keyed stuff look in local horse mags for local shows


                • #9
                  My question is what level polo pony was she? Even though I played polo extensively in India and had a very solid riding background, there was no way I could deal with a 10 goal pony! The sudden starts and stops and turns demanded of a good polo pony would not translate to a good candidate for driving IMO - no matter what the temperament.

                  If she was only a low level pony then you might be OK. It's just not something I would try - especially with the back issue.
                  Pat Belskie - ASHEMONT Farm

                  PnP Distributors - KUTZMANN Carriages


                  • #10
                    It may not be as much of an option this year with the economy in the tank, but we knew someone who had a mare in need of a job who hooked up with 4-H to find kids in need of a horse. The kids took the well-prepared and broke mare in the in-hand and grooming and showmanship classes and the horse had a boatload of kids to enjoy (and she did) and got to go to shows.

                    Nobody told her she was getting on and, as a long-time broodmare, no longer had the most lovely of shapes and since she was the queen of her world she took great delight in winning many of the Grooming/Showmanship classes for her kids.

                    If she can be trained to do this, enjoys the interaction at shows and with handlers and you have access to local schooling shows with in-hand classes, it could be a job she'd enjoy


                    • #11
                      Every polo pony I've come across has a problem trotting! They tend to be VERY well trained at going from stand to canter and the "stand" is often a little tricky as often even that tends to be a canter on the spot.

                      You need a proper diagnosis re the back and veterinary advise regarding what activity might be done.


                      • #12

                        Sounds like our friend's Paso he doesn't stand... he hovers


                        • #13
                          The only x polo pony I have had experience with was one that was donated to pony club. We ended up giving it to a mom to trail ride because the previous training made it impossible for a kid to ride. I can't imagine driving one.


                          • #14
                            My daughter was once out hunting on an ex polo pony. It was doing the "normal" canter on the spot and steady canter at various speeds when everything else was walking or trotting and daughter was just calmly sitting to it when a few girls were chatting to her and someone said something to the effect of "you really should stop him doing that" and she was insisting it wasn't really a huge problem for what he was going to do and she just accepted that he couldn't be retrained and would just do it all the time.

                            Then someone chirped in, "I know someone who could retrain it for you. He can retrain anything". Tracey responded with a "who's that then?". "Tom Fletcher" they replied.

                            "erm, that's my dad and he trained the darned thing in the first place" she responded!


                            • #15
                              No advice on the driving thing...

                              But people please don't lump all polo ponies into one category... Mine all know how to trot, stand and well go fast! But one is going to try his hand in dressage this year.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Carrera View Post
                                But people please don't lump all polo ponies into one category...
                                What level ponies are they? That makes a difference
                                Pat Belskie - ASHEMONT Farm

                                PnP Distributors - KUTZMANN Carriages