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Pony pulling is out of control HELP!

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  • Pony pulling is out of control HELP!

    Our younger pony has a horrible habit of pulling the reins right out of DD's hands and really tipping her forward. Now Dd knows how to just let the reins slide and manages to get this done most of the time but the pony is relentless. I have grazing reins on her but she is STILL pulling ( yes I will tighten them some more) but the issue is we cannot show this pony with them on and the kid can't SHOW the pony at all without them!
    Pony has had her teeth done, she is not sore she is just a little brat ( cute as a button, sweet, sane just PULLS) how so I fix this problem so the kid can take the pony to a horse show??
    POny is only 11.3 hands so I can't get on her and we really don't have anyone who can ( not that I think it would make a difference anyway she just pulls) so what is the training trick to stop this rotten behavior???
    If you are lucky enough to ride, you are lucky enough.

  • #2
    I have ridden ponies who do that for people before. I am a small adult so I can ride the small ponies. It is a behavioral thing usually, and can be fixed with a few schooling rides. You either need to find a good pony jock kid or adult. I'm not a pro, but I have worked with ponies that have done this before. If it is a mare, some regumate might help too.
    "Riding is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down, like a game of solitaire. It's a great passion." Ralph Waldo Emerson


    • #3
      If you've ruled out pain/ discomfort, I'd say it sounds like a typical, clever, evil pony trick. Having a small but more experienced rider school the pony may help, but ponies are smart little buggers and will frequently take advantage of people when they can (heck, horses do it too,ponies just seem to be more creative). I am guessing your daughter slips the reins to avoid being pulled over the head or out of the saddle, but by slipping the reins, she is rewarding the pony for the bad behavior.

      The only way I can think of for your little rider to stop this behavior is develop a strong enough base/ core not to be pulled forward and not to slip the reins. Could the pony and child work on the lunge line for a while with a focus on the child developing strength and balance, while you focus on every time the pony roots her head you send her forward/ make her work? Another thought might be working the pony in side reins on the lunge line (without rider) so that when she roots, she is pulling against herself.

      Ponies are just too smart, and if you don't develop a strategy for your daughter to deal with the behavior, I think the pony will continue to take advantage of her even if she won't do it for a more experienced rider.


      • #4
        I agree with the need to develop a strong base for the safety of the rider but I do not think that will help her to "outpull" a 500 pound pony. In general, it helps more to give the pony nothing to pull against. The pony needs to be on the bit and accept contact and pulling indicates that she is not doing that.

        You are dealing with a nasty habit and a good pony jock could help enormously with some good schooling rides.

        Is your daughter familiar with the use of half halts? If not, I would want her to learn how to use them properly.

        Good luck to you all.


        • #5
          At the trot the gait works in such a way that the head does NOT move up and down or side to side like it does at the walk or canter. So any action created by side reins or riders hands is minimal in having to follow the motion of the horse's head as it trots forward.

          Use this gait for schooling.

          The rider can actually hold the reins properly, but slide them back and down a tad AND close each hand over the knee roll on the side. You want to actually grip the knee rolls of the saddle with your hands. By doing this the rider is acting as a set of side reins would. I don't know if I explained that very well.

          When the pony roots, do not give an inch ... grip those knee rolls with your (daughter's) hands and squeeze or kick the pony forward. Your daughter can also give a sharp, "NO".

          Your daughter can do this in two-point or work on it with either the posting or sitting trot.

          if she needs to do it at the walk she should give the pony a bit more rein to accomodate the head action of the pony. You do not want to develop a bad habit of the pony shortening the walk.

          This works for the rider that has not yet developed a strong Independent Seat and a strong hand/hip connection (or a strong base/core as mentioned above). That is the advanced, correct way to work through this problem.


          • Original Poster

            Originally posted by Addison View Post
            I agree with the need to develop a strong base for the safety of the rider but I do not think that will help her to "outpull" a 500 pound pony. In general, it helps more to give the pony nothing to pull against. The pony needs to be on the bit and accept contact and pulling indicates that she is not doing that.

            You are dealing with a nasty habit and a good pony jock could help enormously with some good schooling rides.

            Is your daughter familiar with the use of half halts? If not, I would want her to learn how to use them properly.

            Good luck to you all.
            Kid has a GREAT base of support, but really she is only 42lbs the chances of her out pulling the pony are slim to none.
            Pony is a bit green so not totally on the bit yet, has been off of work for over 3 weeks due to weather and is just being a bugger. I am going to really shorten up her daisy reins and see if that helps. We just don't have anyone around until late next week who can put a good training ride on her. Thanks for the suggestions, I hate this habit in ponies I find it to be one of the MOST frustrating things they do!!!!
            If you are lucky enough to ride, you are lucky enough.


            • #7
              We have a large pony that will occasionally do this to small riders. If yours if anything like ours, schooling riders won't help because pony has a knack for knowing when a smaller, more timid kid gets on her and reverts right back to pulling. I taught my daughter to 'make a bridge' with her thumbs when she feels pony start to stretch down, and she started carrying a little jump bat so, along with her legs, she can drive pony forward and get her moving and pony thinking about something else. It got Daughter more focused on what pony was doing and within a few rides, Pony gave up on mean trick to little kid. BTW, this was mostly happening when DD was 5-6ish, so she was a tiny little thing.


              • #8
                daisy reins help a lot in situations like this
                "ronnie was the gifted one, victor was the brilliant intellect, and i [GM], well, i am the plodder."


                • Original Poster

                  Originally posted by alteringwego View Post
                  daisy reins help a lot in situations like this
                  WE are using them we are adding more holes today LOL!!!
                  If you are lucky enough to ride, you are lucky enough.


                  • #10
                    You may want to work this pony some on the lunge line with side reins prior to your daugher riding her that may help, particularly is she is fresh from not being ridden. Also a lot of ponies do this when the little ones are, honestly, in their mouth, and tend to stop once the childs hands are more stable. I would put a neck strap on pony and allow the child to use that for soem "leverage" when pony puls, also to use to help "remind" her to keep hands STILL. Also teaching your daughter how to do a one rein stop may help her to be able to deal with this behavoir better, as pulling on one rein will be easier for her tham both and pony can;t quite use it's neck so strongly with one rein being used. Teaching your daughter how to "bridge" the reins is another tactic.


                    • #11
                      Yuck. What a rude habit. You certainly can't out muscle a bratty pony (and I say that with all affection intended). When the pony roots, can she give him a smack with the stick and kick him up into the canter and make him work? Good luck.


                      • #12
                        LMEqT's pony will do this on occassion.

                        Something to consider of course is does the pony need to stretch down? Be sure that your daughter is making a decision to allow her to do so and it being very clear that this is a break/reward. Picking the reins back up cleanly and decisively, with a boot if pony tries to root during that process, will go a long way.

                        Otherwise, put a bucking strap on the front of her saddle and have her grab it when Po begins to do it. You may have to be watching very closely as you may see it start before she feels it. Ultimately you want her to feel it coming, grab the strap and boot her forward. If the pony takes discipline from a crop well, this is one of those rare times I would say to give her a smack on the shoulder also.

                        Good luck!
                        "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


                        • #13
                          I'd go with EqT on this one. I had a wonderful little student who was extremely petite for her age (9 yo) who would blow away in a stiff wing and had an otherwise quite nice little shetland pony. Student was rather timid and pony figured out that rooting was the best way to get out of working. I tried to get this kid to kick her on or smack behind the leg with her crop, but she was too timid to get mena. So I had a pony jock put in a couple rides on the pony and "beg" for the rooting. Fortunately, the kid was strong enough to bridge the reins, block the root, and give a nice resounding whack to the hindquarters. The worst the pony did was trot off, no buck or craziness. The little owner watched and realized that she could do it too, so she got tough. She still wasn't strong enough to block the root, but she could seriously get after the pony who eventually gave up the trick.
                          "Beware the hobby that eats."
                          Benjamin Franklin


                          • #14
                            Eq T and Come Shine have given some good advice. The fix may seem a bit crude but sometimes that is what is needed, especially when it is in the 20s and 80 degree weather is still a few months away!


                            • #15
                              I am sure I will get flamed for this but I have on occasion put the pony who pulls in a pelham with only the curb rein on and had small kids ride like that. As long as the kid has fairly decent hands it is only strong when the pony pulls down, giving the kid a little leverage, of course they also have to send the pony forward at the same time.A whack on the shoulder is helpful as well as long as it does not create a bigger problem.


                              • #16
                                get a small kimblewick bit 4 1/2inches

                                as thats a tad stronger than a snaffle but not as strong as a pelham
                                kids are only half pints compared to an adult they havent the knowledge or skill to correct a pony , nor strenght

                                i often put kimblewicks on the ponies for the kids to ride in as ponies are smart little things


                                • #17
                                  You are stuck in a catch 22. The little rider needs to let the reins slip when the pony roots, so she doesn't fall off. But every time she does that, she is rewarding the pont for rooting.

                                  What I have done (but it was a LOONG time ago, and with a bigger pony and a more secure rider, but I thinlk it may still work here) is to have an "emergency rein" (tied to a suitable length) resting on the pony's neck. When the pony starts to root, the rider grabs the "emergency rein".

                                  In my case, the "emergency rein" was a gag, but the curb rein of a pelham would also work.

                                  If you have a "bucking strap", then you can tell the rider to drop the regular reins, grab the emergency rein with one hand, the bucking strap with the other, lean back and stick her feet on the dashboard.
                                  Last edited by Janet; Jan. 14, 2010, 02:19 PM.

                                  chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


                                  • #18
                                    I think the side reins idea is a great one with an experienced rider. Some things my trainers have taught me through the years is never physically battle with a horse when you are riding they will always win. They are stronger, and its setting yourself up for you or the horse to get hurt. I think you should put side riens on the pony and ride with a good amount of contact when the pony pulls she will pull against herself and not you. Also when she pulls you should encourage her to go foward and not slow down. The more foward a horse is going the more they have to concentrate on moving and not on bad behaviors like pulling, head shaking ect. Thier is a thourabred at my barn that was just as bad at pulling as your pony seems to be and we did this and within a month we saw alot of progress! and slowly they started to loosen the sideriens to now he rides with non. He still pulls ONCE AND A WHILE however its not bad and if you ignore it and keep encouraging him to do what you are asking from him he stops.

                                    This is just my thoughts. I hope it helps. Best of luck with your pony : )


                                    • #19
                                      Please don't take this the wrong way.

                                      The kid is TINY. TINY! She is not just young, she physically is a tiny little thing. She doesn't have a strong core. She doesn't have long legs she can wrap around any pony. She doesn't have strength. She may be cute as a button and love to ride but she's a young kid and she's tiny.

                                      The pony is greenish. Adorable, but greenish.

                                      You might not be able to throw the kid on this pony and go show and ribbon every weekend. The kid is tiny and the pony is green. This may not be a show-ready combination. If the goal was to go show immediately, maybe a better pony would have been an older, seasoned, been-there-done-that-earned-my-wings pony. Or to wait until the kid is older/stronger/more equipped to handle the pony.

                                      You are a riding instruction for a living, no? And you want to know what gadget will solve this problem? You probably already know this-- the only solution for rooting is for the rider to get the horse moving FORWARD. That's it. Simple as that. Now, the kid is TINY and probably not strong enough to do this now. So it's either going to require getting an older kid to school the pony and install the forward button a bit better, plus lots of time and patience on behalf of the smaller child leaning to get the pony forward herself. Or perhaps, if the goal is to show now, selecting a different pony. The kid is really small. Cute on the pony, but small. She is not really physically able to be schooling through issues like this, I don't think. Tying the pony's head up is at best a short term solution and not a fix if showing is the goal.

                                      I also have to say, and maybe I am just overly sensitive, but I find it impolite when someone who has been free leased a LOVELY pony is constantly all over bulletin boards complaning about the pony and claiming it's got issues. And not just posting objectively about the issues but calling the pony names like "brat." Not a kind way to speak about a pony someone was nice enough to lend you for free Nor a very nice way to talk about a pony who is by all accounts giving your daughter a very safe (albeit not easy/perfect) riding experience. It doesn't sound like there's really anything unsual about the pony-- it's a bit of a green pony/tiny rider mismatch if your goal is to get into the show ring ASAP.
                                      "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


                                      • #20
                                        I'm dealing with a similar but slightly different problem with my sister's large pony (whom I'm trying to get prepped to sell). I think this is an issue that will crop up from time to time with any horse or pony that is used in a lesson program and/or ridden primarily by small children.

                                        My sister's pony flips her nose up and out instead of down, but the purpose is the same - yank the reins out of the kid's hands so that she can have her head. On her, a properly adjusted standing martingale does what the anti-grazing reins do on your pony - she can't make any extreme motions, but the behavior isn't prevented entirely. I have three suggestions for you.

                                        (1) As EqTrainer said, put a bucking strap on the front of the saddle and have your daughter grab that when the pony roots. That way, she won't be pulled out of the saddle, but the pony won't be rewarded for her behavior.

                                        (2) Longing in properly adjusted side reins will help the pony learn to accept contact and automatically correct her when she roots.

                                        (3) You really, really, really NEED to find a stronger, more experienced rider to school the pony. There is only so much you can do without having someone on board who is capable of correcting this kind of behavior. Do you not know anyone who is small enough to school the pony? I'm 5'1" and 125 pounds, so I'm often enlisted to school naughty ponies, some even a bit smaller than yours.