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Naughty small pony

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  • Naughty small pony

    I have a nine year old small welsh pony. He is such a nice pony when he is being good and he is unbeatable in the summer. However, he is AWFUL in the winter. He is terrified about one corner in the arena. However, some days he'll trot right past without batting an ear. But, the other days he'll stop and refuse to go forward. The barn owner/ main trainer tells the girls to crack him one when he does this but he has begun bucking then spinning. I am just at my wits end. He is a pony i bought when he was younger in hopes of training and reselling however, this just seems like a deal breaker. We live in northern NH area so winter is a substantial part of our climate. I originally bought him for the barn owner's daughter, however she grew much faster than expected and now at age fifteen is 6'2"! So her riding him is kind of unreasonable. Any advice would be welcomed!!

  • #2
    In my experience, whipping or punishing a pony when he is afraid of something is counter productive. You are only confirming that there is a reason to be afraid of that spot or a certain activity. I would suggest an older more experienced rider school him in the arena - if he stops at that spot get off, lead him over to the corner, pet and reassure him -maybe give a treat. Get back on try again. With our ponies, using repetetive small steps with positive reinforcement works - but you have to have patience. Getting mad at a stubborn pony will probably not help. I am sure it is frustrating and I wish you success.
    Quicksilver Farms, LLC
    "Welsh Hunter Ponies"
    Welsh Sec. B Stallions and
    Fancy Show Pony Prospects
    www.quicksilverponies.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Ooh i see what you're saying. That makes a lot of sense and i have nothing to lose trying it. Thanks so much!

      Comment


      • #4
        I had a VERY similar situation. My daughter's small was DEAD quiet when we got him, would cart a 3 yr old walk/trotter around like a complete babysitter. then our first winter hit, we clipped him, and no amount of lunging/turnout/quietex could keep ANYONE on him. He would spook at anything and everything, bolt at the drop of a dime and was completely unrideable. It got to the point where we were THIS close to sending him back.

        However, this winter (our second winter with him)...we opted not to clip him and deal with a less attractive hairy pony and when it's very cold we ride him with a quarter sheet and he is a completely different pony. I trust him with anyone and he is a saint again. The truth is he was just TOO COLD.

        some ponies the answer is as easy as this, especially if they are saintly in the summer.

        Comment


        • #5
          I have a few like this and we ride outside all winter in PA. You just have to manage them. Lots of turnout, I stuff their ears which really helps and 1/4 sheets for temps under 45 FOR really cold weather I put on 2 and they are not clipped. Make sure that when you tack up that they aren't naked. Keep a cooler or put 1/4 sheet on right away. You don't want them to get chilled.

          Yes, ponys can withstand very cold temps but the question is can a kid stay on a pony that is fresh from the cold? A chilly pony is a FRESH pony. Keep them extra warm.

          Good luck!

          Comment


          • #6
            Feed him in that corner of the arena if possible.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by headsupheelsdown View Post
              Feed him in that corner of the arena if possible.
              I don't know if this is a good idea or not.

              Have you ever seen a pony dragging a small child toward/into a feed room? Or dragging a little rider around in a grass ring because they're more interested in eating than working?

              Feeding in the corner, IMO, is a solution more appropriate for a horse than a strong willed children's pony.

              Comment


              • #8
                Get him to refocus on the job at hand. Don't let him look at anything, only concentrate 100% on what the rider is asking. This means lots of circles, bending, anything that makes the pony have to think about the rider and not what ever else is happening.

                Comment


                • #9
                  ponies that hate winter

                  I have one too! We are in Mass so every year it's the same old same old. I have had mine for 11 years so I can attest to the fact that anytime the temp goes below 32 she is a completely different pony. She goes from a beginner bomb proof saint to tense, spooky and "up". Some things that I have done to manage her in the winter over the years is:

                  Try really hard not to body clip and if you do then do it early in Oct so is can grow out a bit.
                  She needs more blankets than everyone else (2 heavy w neck and 1 med this weekend).
                  I assist in the tacking up so that it is done very quickly and she is never naked, always has a quarter sheet and a cooler. We groom after the ride when she is warm.
                  I make sure she is in her stall by 3:00pm before the temp drops again. Then she eats hay to warm up before riding.
                  She needs to go right to work when they are on.
                  She was always worse when we were at an indoor and alot of times she would need a lunge before she was ridden. Now we ride outside and most of the time it is warmer than an indoor so that helps. If it is really cold we just don't ride and all the horses and ponies do just fine.
                  I also pick my winter shows and make sure the temp will hit at least 35 for this girl.

                  good luck!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by HunterRider992 View Post
                    Get him to refocus on the job at hand. Don't let him look at anything, only concentrate 100% on what the rider is asking. This means lots of circles, bending, anything that makes the pony have to think about the rider and not what ever else is happening.
                    This.

                    I had the same issue with my pony, and what it took to fix the problem was realizing that no one else who rode him had the problem -- they all ignored him when he started getting silly in the "haunted" corner of our indoor arena! Once I took my trainer's advice and learned to (a) redirect his attention and (b) stop rewarding the spookiness by reacting, he almost never did it again.

                    That said, my guy never got to the point yours did -- his episodes consisted of a short bolt or sideways spook -- so it might be worthwhile to find a trainer or experienced rider, someone who won't abuse your pony, to ride him "nonreactively" for a bit before you try it again. It'll help your nerves, which in turn will help your pony's. Good luck!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Have you tried having whoever is riding him walk him to the corner he is afraid of and standing there for a minute before mounting? Maybe even mount him in the scary corner?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        My mare is like this about one area in the ring. There are woods along this side, and I have come off many times as she spun around or took off bucking at something I can't even see. I do think there is something back there when she spooks - a rabbit or barn dogs or whatever. But, it still is not okay for her to do this.

                        I have walked her through the area over and over, and I have asked her to follow quieter horses through the area. For us, following a quieter horse gave us the best results when we tried to go through alone. I've done turns on the forehand and side passing to occupy her mind and get her listening to me instead of the crickets in the woods. All these things have helped. We also started trail riding through said spooky the woods. We started out with friends and worked up to the point where we would go out for an hour by ourselves. She occasionally spooks on the trails, but I have learned how to get her back and listening to me. I think this gave us both more confidence in each other and after two years, she doesn't even blink an eye in the scary corner. Good luck!
                        My blog: Journeys in Riding

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by headsupheelsdown View Post
                          Feed him in that corner of the arena if possible.
                          This does work. Infact. I'd stand in the corner with pepermints and give him a treat about 10 times when he comes into the corner, then I'd move out around the corner and if he trots through the corner he gets a treat each time. Then I'd do it every other time and then every third time, until he loves that corner. Mix it up. Sometimes stand in that corner, sometimes have the rider ride him into the corner and then walk over with your treat, sometimes trot by the corner and then give him a treat.

                          You really won't create a monster. Nothing is more food motivated than a Labrador Retreiver and we use treats all the time to train them.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I was not expecting all of these wonderful replies! I really appreciate it.
                            Today, I went to the barn and found that he was actually outside! Turnout is very very limited in the winter here due to an unavoidable icy patch going out to the pastures. The pastures are supposed to be redone during the spring. However, I got him and brought him in and i made him stay down in that corner and rewarded his good behavior instead of punishing his fear. He was much much better but i can't tell if it was a combination of this and turn out but i will definitely be speaking to my trainer on Tuesday about getting him out during the day.
                            Thanks again for all your responses!!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Lazy Palomino Hunter View Post
                              I don't know if this is a good idea or not.

                              Have you ever seen a pony dragging a small child toward/into a feed room? Or dragging a little rider around in a grass ring because they're more interested in eating than working?

                              Feeding in the corner, IMO, is a solution more appropriate for a horse than a strong willed children's pony.
                              I wouldn't leave the feed in the corner while the pony is being ridden.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by llsc View Post
                                This does work. Infact. I'd stand in the corner with pepermints and give him a treat about 10 times when he comes into the corner, then I'd move out around the corner and if he trots through the corner he gets a treat each time. Then I'd do it every other time and then every third time, until he loves that corner. Mix it up. Sometimes stand in that corner, sometimes have the rider ride him into the corner and then walk over with your treat, sometimes trot by the corner and then give him a treat.

                                You really won't create a monster. Nothing is more food motivated than a Labrador Retreiver and we use treats all the time to train them.
                                That's exactly right!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  This is not an uncommon problem, nor is it limited to ponies!!! As others have said - keep them warm (early clip, 1/4 sheets etc), keep them tired (all day turnout, free lunge in indoor), control their calories (senior feed), and here are a few other thiings that work too-

                                  Teach pony to leg yield and shoulder in, so you can keep the pony busy as you go by spot. Dont ride straight at the spot - work up to it gradually, so you are always in a position of 'ribs towards, nose away'

                                  Have someone stand in bad corner with treats or another horse. Have helper led pony over if need be and then feed a treat. Let pony loose in Indoor with treats in scary corner - this works for spooky jumps too.

                                  Remember - he's cold and wild and bored. . . he's not bad (I'm presuming you can ride around the indoor just fine in the summer if you so choose. . . )
                                  Dina
                                  www.olddominionsaddlery.com
                                  http://www.facebook.com/olddominionsaddlery Like us on Facebook!!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    OMG PocketChange....You just described my horse to a "T" in the winter!! It takes me 20/30 min lungeing, ride for 30/45 min and cool him down 20/30 min...Makes for a LONG/COLD winter at the barn. But I have to say, this past winter, I have learned alot with this horse! He is a good teacher on how to handle these situations.
                                    In the summer, he is Mr. Wonderful.

                                    Best of luck with your pony!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Thanks guys!!!!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Someone on here once posted a phrase that I love-

                                        "Ponies are evil, because they're closer to hell."

                                        I think that about sums it up.

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