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What makes a good pony club horse?

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  • What makes a good pony club horse?

    I grew up doing 4-H, AQHA and huntseat. I don't know much about eventing or pony club.

    I've got a young mare that I anticipate keeping forever, but, I like my horses to be well trained and marketable in case for whatever reason they have to move on from me.

    She's a Morgan, so an "off" breed for both dressage and hunters. She's not the breed show type of horse, either.

    My goal is to make her as well rounded as I can. I think she will make a *superb* kids' horse. I am planning on showing her on the local hunter circuit this next summer, and hitting up some dressage schooling shows.

    What makes a good pony club horse? Is there a market for them? What kind of qualities and qualifications are sought after?

    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

  • #2
    A sense of humor and a willingness to forgive a kid for mistakes. Morgans make GREAT PC mounts because they are very even tempered and have a ton of try. There is a good market for any well rounded, well broke, sound horse with some show miles that will not hold mistakes against a young rider.


    • #3
      I always make sure you can ride them bareback in a halter - you know the kids are going to do it!!

      They *should*:
      -be perfect for trailer loading, tying, picking up feet, tacking up
      -not kick
      -have a "been there, done that" attitude
      -put up with things like Prince Philip games
      -behave on a group trail ride

      Ideally, have lots of experience jumping, so it's not a green-on-green situation.
      Hope that helps!

      You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng


      • #4
        The ones you have to kick to the fences are priceless!
        Big Idea Eventing


        • #5
          Pony Club Mom's Opinion

          HI FG:

          Thanks for making more sane, wonderful PC horses! Although there are many disciplinces in PC now, the primary discipline is still eventing. BN eventing is 2'7", so she needs to jump, have good dressage, and be a saint on XC. She needs to stand endlessly for brushing, bathing, and braiding, love the trailer, and never wander off when she gets out of her halter!

          In my area, there are many PC horses who are Morgans, Haflingers, QH, etc at the lower levels. At upper levels, most have TB or WB cross.

          There is always a good market for the lower level eventers if they are REALLY broke. You can check the PC classifieds to see some idea of prices. I think they are pretty reasonable except in area II.

          When I am looking for a new horse for my PC'er, I look to other PC families first. For qualifications, get some good show miles on her and a reasonable price. I don't care about pretty, just safe and sane. I also don't care about dressage scores too much if safe and sane.



          • Original Poster

            Thanks guys! What great feedback thus far.

            I think she's going to be a super, all-around horse to do pretty much anything at the lower levels. I've just been worried about the fact that she's a Morgan around here it is all QHs and TBs. She's a lovely mover so might make a nice adult ammie dressage mount.

            But you are right, there is going to be a market for anything broke, sane, sound and well trained.

            I was joking with my friend the other day that I need to send her to a 12 year old for a year so they can do all the crazy things kids do. You know, bareback and costume classes and riding 4 hours at a time etc.

            I really have no intention of selling her, but, I do like to always have a plan B and for her, the pony club market seemed like it might be a good one.
            We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.


            • #7
              send her to a 12 year old for a year so they can do all the crazy things kids do. You know, bareback and costume classes and riding 4 hours at a time etc.
              12 yo... 44 yo... it's all the same Don't forget crawling underneath the horse to groom the other side, and carefully untacking and putting up your saddle before dismounting. All useful skills at any age


              • #8
                I haven't done Pony Club, but it seems like patience would be a big plus. There seems to be a TON of hurry up and wait at Pony Club rallies.

                How is your girl? Why don't we get more pictures?

                (KateWooten, your profile picture is priceless. That pony looks like as much fun as it's possible to have with one's clothes on.)
                I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
                I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09


                • Original Poster

                  I know I definitely need to post more pics! I stuck some on the Baby/Green Horse thread I started on the Dressage forum, but I'm pretty sure you saw the same ones on FB.

                  I'll try to get more of her. I feel like I'm always in a hurry to get her worked when I am at the barn.... all business.... I need to spend more time hanging out with her and just enjoying her. She's so easy that I don't fuss over her, kwim? I need to.

                  She is such a gem though.... Yesterday I was stood chatting with my friend, who has been riding her for me, after their work-out. Bella was falling asleep, we were yammering on, and then a big bust of wind came and the huge metal door shook. It was loud, and my friend and I both jumped out of our skin... Bella barely noticed. And then she went back to napping.
                  We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by KateWooten View Post
                    12 yo... 44 yo... it's all the same Don't forget crawling underneath the horse to groom the other side, and carefully untacking and putting up your saddle before dismounting. All useful skills at any age
                    Heh. I like your style. My coach shudders at what my horse has tolerated when she's not looking
                    The big guy: Lincoln

                    Southern Maryland Equestrian


                    • #11
                      I have two girls in pony club.
                      I would say there are two things that make a great pc mount
                      The first would be that this horse is a good fit for its rider, whatever skill level they are.
                      The second thing that is very important is that it needs to have excellent manners.
                      These kids are expected to go it ALONE at rallys and such. Manners become very important when you consider you are sending Sally away for the weekend with a bunch of kids and her horse. In this case it is not just about your own kid knowing the tolerance of their mount. You never know what kid is going to be "helping" with grooming and such. The horse needs to be safe in such circumstances. This obviously includes easy trailering, being good away from home, and not being buddy sour AT ALL.


                      • #12
                        Basically what others have said. I'll add that having PC games/gymkhana experience increases the saleability. It's secondary to having a strong eventing resume and good manners, but it helps.

                        Many of the Pony Club games are things you can expose Bella to early in her training. When Skyler was green, we used to play some of these games (or at least introduce the game concept) to get us through boring walk/trot winters before he was ready to return to canter work.
                        Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/


                        • Original Poster

                          Originally posted by jn4jenny View Post
                          Many of the Pony Club games are things you can expose Bella to early in her training. When Skyler was green, we used to play some of these games (or at least introduce the game concept) to get us through boring walk/trot winters before he was ready to return to canter work.
                          Oh thanks Jen! We are definitely already bored with the W/T in the indoor. Even ground poles have gotten boring. And going around cones. It's too wet to hack out, I keep hoping the ground will freeze and at least then we can W/T her around the property.

                          So will definitely check out some of those games! We used to do a lot of game days when I worked at summer camp years ago. (Maybe I should just send her to summer camp... lol.)
                          We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.


                          • #14
                            Games are a good way to bombproof a horse. I would suggest slowly getting her used to someone reaching over and hanging on one side of her (useful for games and that kid that's falling off hanging on the neck.) I also would suggest getting her used to a flag on a stick swinging along side her. (useful for 3 flag race etc.) Again, it mimics those stupid things that kids do when they have a scarf, jacket etc. Touching their legs with everything is also perfect kid proofing. I can't name a single kid that hasn't pulled a hose against the horse's leg or banged something into them.

                            One suggestion that my daughter's PC instructor had for practicing games: change to a hackamore so the horse doesn't confuse games behavior with real world. I can attest that all her horses are fabulous games ponies but slow down and go back to full schoolhorse mode as soon as you put a bridle with bit back in their mouth.


                            • #15
                              Oh FG - I bet Bella would make an AWESOME PC mount. Especially for little Miss FG in a few years

                              I third/fourth/fifth the whole gaming thing. It gets really old, even for an adult horse, for them to be startled by stupid things ammies do (drop coat, answer phone, unbalance stupidly while reaching for coat they wanted after all, mounting for weird obstacles because we're not athletic enough to get on from the ground after we got off to retrieve to coat we accidentally dropped on the ground when we missed the jump standard we were trying to hang it on etc etc etc).
                              "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."


                              • #16
                                FWIW, one of my most fabulous kids horses is a Morgan- Major.


                                He has never said "no" to anything we've asked him to do. He just gives and gives and gives. He is sound, sane, barefoot and eats next to nothing. LOVE him. I would clone him 17 times if I could.
                                Big Idea Eventing


                                • #17
                                  FG - Agree with what many others have said about the qualities needed in a PC mount. And the good news is that Morgans have these qualities in spades!!!

                                  EponaC - OMG, I love that Morgan!!! He epitomizes a good Morgan and reminds me very much of my mare (not looks, but qualities) Your description of him could have been of my mare, exactly.

                                  FG - the other thing, too, is that if she is AMHA reg'd, you have the Morgan Breed Circuit or even just Morgan "Peeps" like me. Morgans tend to be very versatile, extremely sound, can go barefoot, have excellent SANE temperaments and manners, and very easy to manage (easy keepers, very sound, etc) They also have lots of GO - but coupled with a very even-keeled and wise personality. IOW, you can have a go-go-go Morgan, but it will often NOT be spooky or pull any funky stunts. It just may be "fast"

                                  I've had 3 Morgans over the last 20+ years, and prior to Morgans I had OTTBs, Ponies, etc (when I was a Hunter Princess)

                                  I LOVE MY MORGANS. Just expose your mare to everything you can think of, and I'm sure she'd be a great PC mount, a lower-level eventer, lower level dressage, schooling/lower level Hunter/Jumper or anything really!

                                  They make GREAT trail horses and foxhunters too.

                                  Gee - can you tell I love Morgans

                                  My mare goes from riding bareback in a halter on the trail:

                                  To doing an Eventing Derby:

                                  To a local schooling H/J (flat) and a tiny Hunter Hack class:

                                  And she's GREAT, XC
                                  And can even gallop (well, more like a hand-gallop probably. The TBs leave her in the dust)

                                  And at a schooling Dressage Competition Clinic:

                                  And this is us at the '06 Western States Horse Expo, in the Morgan Breed Demo (demonstrating Hunt Seat - yes her mane is down, but I thought she looked more "Morgany" with it down

                                  So just keep doing the things you are doing, and expose her to LOTS of variety....I'm sure you'll have lots of demand for her if you ever need to sell. I've had lots of folks wanting to buy my mare
                                  Equine & Pet Portrait Artist
                                  **Morgans Do It All**


                                  • #18
                                    eponacowgirl and Fancy That, your horses are adorable!!! Love them both!!
                                    I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Dewey View Post
                                      eponacowgirl and Fancy That, your horses are adorable!!! Love them both!!
                                      Aww....thanks for taking a peek at the Fancy Pics and the compliment
                                      Equine & Pet Portrait Artist
                                      **Morgans Do It All**


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Oh loved the pics!!

                                        I think that is what I love best, the fact that she is forward but not spooky. I like a horse with a motor, but prefer they have their wits about them! She's definitely very much like that.

                                        I'm kind of lonely here in QH/TB land.... you rarely see anything but. I met an eventing pro a few weeks ago who just bought a lovely property here, she said she has a few clients on Morgans so that kind of inspired me.
                                        We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.