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Bitting ideas for difficult pony

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  • Bitting ideas for difficult pony

    We have a new pony at our farm, and I'm trying to decide on the best bit / training gear for him to wear. He's very quiet by nature (lazy!), but also very much a pony (avoiding work at all cost!) He's great with the older kids who have enough leg and weight to keep his attention, but with the smaller kids he has a very naughty habit of dropping his head and his shoulder, and popping them off the side (especially near the gate or other horses). This is never a freshness thing, but rather an "I don't want to work, and I'm NOT going to go forward." They'll get him into a good trot, then he'll randomly stop quickly, drop his head and shoulder, and they often come right off. He also doesn't respond well to discipline, and kicks out hard when a stick is used correctively behind their leg. He does much better when they use it on his shoulder to get his attention, but I've never been a fan of that (though it seems to beat him kicking his butt up and throwing them off balance when they discipline him!) I don't want to put a ton of bit in his mouth, as this will obviously further complicate the not going forward issue, but I need something that can help the kids keep his head up and his shoulders going straight! He's in just a plain D-ring Dr. Bristol at the moment. Ideas appreciated.

    And yes, we're doing lots of schooling with older kids / stronger riders (working on responding to light aids, moving off the legs, going forward, etc), but he's smart enough to be good, and doesn't really pull anything naughty typically with them. Smart ponies

  • #2
    Sounds like maybe he needs a career change?

    Not really sure if a bit will help this.

    Comment


    • #3
      I don't see how a bit will help... maybe something like an anti grazing rig, but not a bit. Or his own tough kid and not being a lesson pony.

      Comment


      • #4
        This is not a bitting problem, so a bit change won't solve it. You may have to consider a career change away from small inexperienced kids since ponies are so smart. reschooling may not work.
        One thing to try would be a fairly short set of daisy reins, if dropping the head precedes dropping the shoulder and then the rider.

        Comment


        • #5
          I'd say maybe anti grazing rig also. But sounds like he may just be a pony that needs an assertive rider more than the newbie little ones.
          Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole

          Comment


          • #6
            I have had ponies be naughty with the younger kids in a snaffle, but straighten out in a Pelham, especially a mullen mouth Pelham. Not saying it will work for your problem, but depending on the pony, sometimes they just go "oh, I know this isn't going to work any more" and quit trying.

            Comment


            • #7
              A lot of ponies need more than a plain snaffle to be adequately controlled by little kids. You could try a pelham with converter straps, a kimberwicke, or a full cheek twisted wire snaffle. I've been known to temporarily use a bit burr on a naughty pony as well. I would worry more about the control issue and less about too harsh of a bit "stopping" a lazy pony.

              That having been said, I think you may have more of a training and suitability issue on hand rather than a bitting issue. Some ponies aren't suitable for small children or for beginners.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Thanks for the ideas. =) Trying some kind of antigrazing device was on the top of my list. I am very aware that this is a training issue (as well as a suitability one), but the pony came to us VERY spoiled and allowed to get away with all this nonsense, so I'm hoping that once he figures out that being naughty will not make the work stop, then the naughtiness will stop (when it becomes easier to follow commands then fight them!) In the meantime though, obviously there are things that may help, and those were the ideas I was looking for. He has already improved leaps and bounds in the time we've had him, but only time will tell if he'll ever be one suitable for little ones (though certainly he'll likely always be one who needs to stay in a schooling program with bigger kids, and I'm perfectly fine with that).

                Comment


                • #9
                  Our bigger pony will not do this to an extreme, but he does root the reins. The daisy rein works well for us. If you don't want to invest in one off the bat, some baling twine works well too.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by fourmares View Post
                    I don't see how a bit will help... maybe something like an anti grazing rig, but not a bit. Or his own tough kid and not being a lesson pony.
                    All of the above and if he tries propping and dropping and the kid stays on they should trot his brains out behind a leader - a horse with a big trot that doesn't mind a brat pony following him closely. Lotsa figure 8s.
                    Follow the leader is a great exercise for barely broke horses, too. Makes it easier to get them to follow their nose.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by horsel01 View Post
                      Thanks for the ideas. =) Trying some kind of antigrazing device was on the top of my list. I am very aware that this is a training issue (as well as a suitability one), but the pony came to us VERY spoiled and allowed to get away with all this nonsense, so I'm hoping that once he figures out that being naughty will not make the work stop, then the naughtiness will stop (when it becomes easier to follow commands then fight them!) In the meantime though, obviously there are things that may help, and those were the ideas I was looking for. He has already improved leaps and bounds in the time we've had him, but only time will tell if he'll ever be one suitable for little ones (though certainly he'll likely always be one who needs to stay in a schooling program with bigger kids, and I'm perfectly fine with that).
                      School him for a year: trainer + kids that kindly,firmly,fairly keep him on the "Good Pony" books; then start with trainer + small childs on lunge line with kimberwicke & anti-grazing reins and go from there
                      Another year of close monitoring & he'll either be a truly reformed "Good Pony", or you'll know that he'll always need his boss trainer around to be that good boy

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by x View Post
                        I have had ponies be naughty with the younger kids in a snaffle, but straighten out in a Pelham, especially a mullen mouth Pelham. Not saying it will work for your problem, but depending on the pony, sometimes they just go "oh, I know this isn't going to work any more" and quit trying.
                        We had one that was forward but would drop the head coming out of the turn and then when they 'saw' the jump 3 strides out would drop the shoulder. Taught you not to jump ahead her but we finally put her in a short shank Pelham.(rubber) it wouldn't let the pony get its head down and it always jumped fine if it saw the jump out of the turn. Worked like a charm and stopping/dumping became a distant memory.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'd stay away from any bit that would or could cause an excess of discomfort like the twisted wires or slow twists, but go for a nice plain leverage bit ... pelham or kimberwicke is a good choice.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Well, we're in a straight mouth pelham with converters at this moment, and though I won't say it's curing the problem (obviously!), at least the kids can get his attention and usually stop him before he gets out of control when he starts being naughty! And doing LOTS of extended trotting work, making him travel in a straight line with his head at a good level (not his nose hanging by his knees, which is how he loves to carry it!) and getting in big trouble when he starts going crooked and trying to drop his shoulder (which is usually going away from the gate..) Lazy pony.

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