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HELP! I know ponies are brats...but this is crazy!

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  • HELP! I know ponies are brats...but this is crazy!

    I typically pride myself on being a knowledgeable horse person, but I'm at a complete loss and need to pick the brains of other knowledgeable horse people.

    I recently bought a pony that seemed great. I had planned to start a lesson program in my town, and was going to use this pony to get it off the ground. I bought a 6yo., 12.2, Dartmoor gelding 10 days ago and he's been a nightmare.

    Some of his history...His previous owner had him stalled for FOUR months because she didn't have any turnout. (...don't get me started on that...) She bought him for her three year old daughter from a lesson barn and her daughter rode him on a lunge line (I've seen video as proof). They're selling him because they didn't have any time for him.

    Anyway...I bought him and brought him to a little farmette (literally 5 stalls in an oversized run in shed) with a paddock and a huge field. There are 2 mares, another gelding, and a mini mare. Upon coming to the farmette, he was great for the first 24 hours. We had him turned out in a paddock by himself and he was great. He stood for grooming, was still the pokey little pony I had thought I bought. The next day, I go out to lunge him and he's turned into the devil wanna-be stud. He broke through the fence in the paddock to get to the mixed herd. He tried to mount a 15 yo arthritic mare who couldn't run away and ran the other mare so hard the owners of the farm thought they broke out of the field. He's rolling around in the mares urine/poop and herding her around the field. He was overly agressive to the gelding (pawing and kicking/biting) to the point that while the gelding was stalled, this pony came up to his gate, pawed at him and got his leg stuck in the gate. He tried to kick at the owners mom when she tried to lead him away from the younger mares stall. Even worse, he bolts away from me while being lunged to get back to this mares stall.

    The next day, I hop on his back (at 5'4 it was a joke), and he's the quiet, pokey pony that he was when we bought him. Popped him over a cross rail, W/T/C him and nothing went wrong.

    A couple days go by and I go out again, and he's stopped caring about the mares, is still somewhat annoyed by the gelding but not near the extent of the beginning, but now bolting off is his new favorite thing to do.
    I can lunge him (with or without lunge whip) and he bolts off. He has broken my finger, kicked at me, charged me to get to the in gate and run around the ring like a wild pony. If you crouch down, he'll trot right towards you, and once you take a hold of the lunge line again, he'll bolt off. Every once in a while he'll do 2-3 rounds of good walk/trot, but if you give him more than 6' of lunge line, he tries to bolt off again. If he does this enough, he'll become agressive towards the gelding again once he gets back to the barn. My husband has lunged him and because he's bigger/stronger than me, he's been more successful at not letting go of the lunge line, but he still tries to bolt.

    I've had him vetted...no cryptorchid but haven't had his testosterone tested yet. I obviously can't put beginner kids on him. I don't trust him and can't be lunging him with a kid riding, and still waiting for him to bolt off.

    Has anyone dealt with an overly bratty wanna-be stud?! This is crazy and I'm at a loss!!
    \"Just keep riding, just keep riding...\"

  • #2
    ....and I always thought you couldn't top the brattiness of a pony mare.

    From my nightmares: Lunge only in the bridle, with lunge line passing into inside bit ring, over the poll, down to outside bit ring. Also add roller and run line through low inside ring (and on through inside bit ring over poll etc) to start. This will bend his neck toward you when he pulls outward. If he's popping out the outside shoulder to brace when he bolts, have him go in moderate side reins too. HE MUST NEVER GET AWAY ON LUNGE AGAIN. And, incidentally, never ever brace and pull on lunge. This is the start of the terms of your future relationship.

    Once you are confident in simple lunging and getting those downward transitions by voice, lunge/groundwork/long line his little butt all over the farm.

    That said, he's not sounding like lesson pony material. Actually not many ponies are. Takes a special kind of bratty pony to be a star lesson pony. Start shopping?
    At all times, we are either training or untraining.
    Flying Haflinger blog: http://flyinghaflinger.blogspot.com/ Flying Irish Draught blog: http://flyingirishredhead.blogspot.com/

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Thanks. We'll see what tomorrow brings I guess. I really wish this farmette had a round pen, but no. Ill try your suggestion. I want to try riding him while someone else lunges him too. Hes just so bipolar he'd probably be great that time and bolt with my next kid. :/ ugh. I hate selling him since we just got him...I feel like its giving up on him in a way...but hes obviously not cut out for lessons right now.
      \"Just keep riding, just keep riding...\"

      Comment


      • #4
        Stud chain over the nose... and you have to catch the little booger before he gets straight.

        Comment


        • #5
          You could also lunge him with the line ran through the inside bit ring and then back to the surcingle, clipped on just below the wither (or to the saddle-d or stirrup iron if you lunge him with a saddle on instead of the surcingle.) If the brat takes off one good tug will yank his nose back to his shoulder and shut him down. I held on to my 1300 lb 16:3 idiot this way through some fairly serious temper tantrums, and I'm 5'8" and about 138 lbs. Good luck!

          Comment


          • #6
            Ummm...I don't actually think this is that bad or that it's time to give up.

            This brat is only 6 years old, you have only had him for 10 days and the seller admitted he'd been standing in the stall for 4 months...with a 3 year old "rider" I would bet it's been longer then that since he has been gainfully employed.

            Far as the turn out? Probably hadn't even seen another horse except thru the stall window for lord knows how long, let alone go play with them. Not surprised at the behavior at all and it seems to have fixed itself as he got used to being with the others and probably got smacked back a few times when they got sick and tired of him.

            He just has to go back to work and you need to get serious and train him up. He can NEVER get loose again so you need the chain when you lead and you need to lunge in proper equipment, preferably with side reins and run that line from outside ring over the poll to the inside ring and then your hand. That not only controls him, it makes them balance up and carry the bit so you can get alot of training done. Wear work gloves and use a watch to time your sessions so you get each way equally...and get on him afterwords and do what you can to reinforce and/or find a small older kid who can ride.

            Those better lesson barns do NOT pull a fresh Pony out for a kidlet lesson-they get prepped either on the lunge or with a stronger kid rider so they are a little more worn out and less likely to misbehave-and if they do it gets fixed pronto by a stronger kid or trainer.

            Not been around that many Dartmoors but they never struck me as wicked smart and devious like the hotter, fancy show Pony breeds so I think he just needs a job and regular work and discipline. Warmer weather helps too.

            Put 60 to 90 days on him 4 or 5 days a week with regular turn out and I bet he is not going to be the same Pony. 2 or 3 months is alot cheaper then buying another Pony who may or may not work.

            Good luck and keep us posted.
            When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

            The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

            Comment


            • #7
              I agree with findeight!!!! Sounds like a very typical 6 yr old to me,especially one who has hadvery questionable training/handling/care. My 4 year old pony has been handled DAILY since he was 2 (when I got him) and even before that at his breeder's. Ponies especially need to be desenitized and taught proper behavior on the ground VERY young, or they develop their own opnions...never a good thing in a pony - lol. Yours sounds a lot like my last pony (RIP), so much so that reading your poost brought be back..sigh. He will come around if you put in the time. Be ready for some fights - lol. sounds like yours is pretty opinionated and enjoys testing. Smart ponies like to test - it gives them something to keep their mind occupied. However, smart ponies can be a godsend -- they usually develop so that they are very careful with themselves, which in turn, makes them safe. I have rarely seen a smart pony do something to hurt themselves - I am thinking flipping and/or bolting (the two things that are the WORST!!)

              He actually sounds like he is worth the time, especially since he HAS shown you that he can be a very good boy. Also, Dartmoors are sound as anything and usually pretty athletic and sturdy (can carry a lot of weight for their size).

              Sounds like a keeper to me

              Oh....mine was always a bit stud-y but he was abominable when he was 6. Tried to mount anything, even me once. THAT didnt work out so well for him!!!
              Save a life...be an organ donor! Visit www.Transplantbuddies.org

              Comment


              • #8
                10 days is not very long to acclimate to a new herd. I bought a new mare at the end of November and they are still working out their "new" herd pecking order. Even if they are not all turned out together, they have to figure out the new schedule, work schedule, feeding routine, etc.

                That said, 6 is fairly young for a lesson pony, so I would be thinking about acquiring other lesson horses in case he doesn't have to temperament for it. He sounds like he could still be a great pony!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Even our Nanny pony behaved like a stud when turned out with a pony mare.....I would not give up yet. Let him get into a routine of as much turn out as he can have and regular work. Check what he is eating. Does his grain have more than 10% protein? I have seen ponies react to a lot of protein.

                  I would also consider adding Quiessence to his feed. I have seen the research that shows a lack of magnesium can lead to skittish, spooky behavior.


                  Poor pony getting no turn out for four months....I would go crazy too! Good luck and keep us posted.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by S1969 View Post
                    That said, 6 is fairly young for a lesson pony, so I would be thinking about acquiring other lesson horses in case he doesn't have to temperament for it.
                    We have a large lesson barn nearby that deals with a lot of little beginner kids and the smalls that they use are at least 15 to 20. The best ones are 20+. And the owner brings many on to the property to try that end up not working out.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by T-storm chick View Post
                      You could also lunge him with the line ran through the inside bit ring and then back to the surcingle, clipped on just below the wither (or to the saddle-d or stirrup iron if you lunge him with a saddle on instead of the surcingle.) If the brat takes off one good tug will yank his nose back to his shoulder and shut him down. I held on to my 1300 lb 16:3 idiot this way through some fairly serious temper tantrums, and I'm 5'8" and about 138 lbs. Good luck!
                      This exactly! I have tried the chain, the line over the poll through the bit, etc... None of it works except the above.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        After you make sure you have the right equipment to make sure he does not get loose again take the time to look into his diet. Did you change his feed?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Not to digress, but my vet has a cute mathematical formula for pony/child success. The combined age of the child and pony should be 25. Therefore, if your kid is 5 your pony should be 20. If your kid is 12 your pony should be 13, etc.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by skyy View Post
                            Not to digress, but my vet has a cute mathematical formula for pony/child success. The combined age of the child and pony should be 25. Therefore, if your kid is 5 your pony should be 20. If your kid is 12 your pony should be 13, etc.
                            I have heard that before.....

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by skyy View Post
                              Not to digress, but my vet has a cute mathematical formula for pony/child success. The combined age of the child and pony should be 25. Therefore, if your kid is 5 your pony should be 20. If your kid is 12 your pony should be 13, etc.
                              Works for me!

                              I have a 50" Welsh that gets the nickname Pissy Chrissy. He's pushing 20 now and is handling kids a bit better. I noticed a huge change in him after I had the 6 yr old granddaughter here for a week last summer. I let her spend time alone with him in his stall - without an adult hovering over her (he was safe for ground handling). She spent hrs brushing and hugging and talking to him, learned his moves, the instincts that you need around horses. Then when it came time for the leadline pony rides he trusted her! He was so much better behaved and relaxed. I can't tell if it's his age or what they worked out between them.

                              I agree with the posters about a young untrained unexperienced pony - soldier on for awhile and then see what you've got. Ground driving and maybe teaching him to drive period - drive his little butt off.
                              Don't let anyone tell you that your ideas or dreams are foolish. There is a millionaire walking around who invented the pool noodle.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Sounds like the new place/other ponies/turn out is blowing his mind. Is he getting any hard feed? I'd pull it if he is and just give him hay.

                                You could try lunging him with two lines. Or honestly, just get on him and ride him. Put him to work. If you cant do that, can you ride and lead?
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                                • #17
                                  1.) Stop feeding him. Hay only.
                                  2.) Stop letting him get away on the lunge. Great suggestions above. If you don't have a roundpen, at least get him into the corner of the pasture so that you have two sides to drive him into if necessary.
                                  3.) Work him. At 5'4'' you are NOT too big to ride him, and feel free to ride him until he is TIRED. He has too much time and energy to think about being bad.

                                  I think that you are not completely screwed, not after just ten days. You just need to get a little meaner with him. More than a horse, you need to not let ponies get away with things. They learn, they remember, and then they keep taking it one step further.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    The next day, I go out to lunge him and he's turned into the devil wanna-be stud. He broke through the fence in the paddock to get to the mixed herd. He tried to mount a 15 yo arthritic mare who couldn't run away and ran the other mare so hard the owners of the farm thought they broke out of the field. He's rolling around in the mares urine/poop and herding her around the field. He was overly agressive to the gelding (pawing and kicking/biting) to the point that while the gelding was stalled, this pony came up to his gate, pawed at him and got his leg stuck in the gate. He tried to kick at the owners mom when she tried to lead him away from the younger mares stall. Even worse, he bolts away from me while being lunged to get back to this mares stall.

                                    The next day, I hop on his back (at 5'4 it was a joke), and he's the quiet, pokey pony that he was when we bought him. Popped him over a cross rail, W/T/C him and nothing went wrong.

                                    A couple days go by and I go out again, and he's stopped caring about the mares, is still somewhat annoyed by the gelding but not near the extent of the beginning, but now bolting off is his new favorite thing to do.
                                    I can lunge him (with or without lunge whip) and he bolts off. He has broken my finger, kicked at me, charged me to get to the in gate and run around the ring like a wild pony. If you crouch down, he'll trot right towards you, and once you take a hold of the lunge line again, he'll bolt off. Every once in a while he'll do 2-3 rounds of good walk/trot, but if you give him more than 6' of lunge line, he tries to bolt off again. If he does this enough, he'll become agressive towards the gelding again once he gets back to the barn.
                                    Sell him!
                                    You are not experienced enough for this willful young boy - sure you can follow everyone's advice & things may get better ...
                                    but they may also not ... Pony is going to remember his successes for a l.o.n.g time & will keep testing you (he's already shown that's in his nature).
                                    If you were NOT going to be using him in a lesson program (an I assume you'd rather sooner than later), I might also agree that you might use this pony to learn ALOT about ponies
                                    There are many ponies out there that would not have taken the liberties he has.

                                    I assume you got a good deal on him so he should be a pretty quick resale, then buy a pony that is actually currently doing the job you want him to do i.e. a "steady eddy" in an up/down lesson program

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I'm not for drugs per say , but ORAL magnesium supplement can help 'focus' the brain of a naughty pony. Likewise, B-1 crumbles or powder works as a calming agent and a digestive aid. Otherwise, the pony seems like too much for a lesson program unless youre willing to put a LOT of time in.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        It's been less than two weeks. Put him on just hay, give him LOTS of exercise, and let him get settled down. He's been without turnout for four months and now he's in a new place with new horses, he'd have to be a lot older and more laid back to not be squirrely.
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