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What is worse? - Updated w/ pic below:

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  • What is worse? - Updated w/ pic below:

    For a fat pony to not get enough exercise, or a fat pony to get exercise with a too-fat rider?

    Mini MO's pony is copping some 'tude and needs a little adjustment. She is also getting round despite her restrictive diet and could use more work than her 2 walk-trot only riders can give her.

    I could long-line her. But, I'm not super handy at it, and I'd have to order a smaller surcingle. I could also pony her off of my horse, but again, I'm not super proficient at that either (requires Mr. MO or somebody to hand her to me after I've mounted).

    Pony is good as gold for mini MO, who rides mostly on the leadline. Other rider is older and bigger, and pony likes to be a bit of a stinker for her (barn sour, tries to wander out of the unfenced arena at the corner near the barn, trots faster towards barn and barely shuffles when headed away). She also needs to canter. I can canter her on the longe line, but I still feel like she should do it undersaddle, especially since she has a few kinks that need to be worked out.

    Me + saddle = 28% of pony's body weight. I think that is an awful lot. I asked the vet when he was out and he said he thought it would be fine as long as I wasn't planning on galloping or jumping. I just don't know. I could ride her bareback to shave a couple pounds off, but I almost think the saddle would distribute the weight better. It's a synthetic so it's light anyway. It's just me that's heavy.

    Ideally I'd like to find a kid to ride her. She isn't bad by any stretch. she's just taking advantage of her very novice rider. she does have very good brakes and for the most part goes where she is told at the gait asked for, but I would like to nip the barn sourness before it accelerates. And I'd also like to fine tune the canter (prior owner just ran her into it, didn't really teach cues for proper leads). I'd like her to be a little easier to get to canter when it is time to teach the girls to do it.

    This article has a formula where you add the horse's weight + rider and tack weight, and divide by the circumference of the cannon bone and then half that, and if it's between 75 and 85 you're good. We are well below 75 using that calculation.

    I guess the only way to find out is to go ahead and get on and see how she handles it? If I did ride her, it would not be often, and I'd supplement it with the longing or ponying for fitness purposes. I think our riding sessions would be a lot of walking (I can do a lot of suppling exercises at the walk) and some canter work, mainly focusing on the departs and learning proper cues.

    Last edited by meaty ogre; Dec. 5, 2010, 10:16 PM. Reason: added pic below

  • #2
    control her diet and food intake and dont let her wander to the unfenced bit
    stripe graze her as in section an area off and then work her in hand as unfit
    then long rein her thats not lunging its long reining
    and cut out her feed and just feed her hay at a controlled pace if the area given hasnt any grass


    • #3
      You're fine. It's a pony. As long as she's not super light boned, I can't imagine it would be an issue. You probably shouldn't take her on a 5 hour ride, but hopping on her a couple times a week for a tune up is no problem.
      Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
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      • Original Poster

        Thanks amastrike. I think I might get on her tomorrow and make Mr. MO take some video so I can see how bad it looks. I've seen vids of icelandics on youtube that are carrying bigger loads.

        GLS, I've already micromanaged her diet down to bare bones. And I do know the difference between long reining and longing, as I said I can long-line her but I need to get a smaller surcingle (the one I have works but I have to tie a knot in it to make it small enough...don't want it to rub her). But, I would like to do some work undersaddle. In-hand work definitely has its benefits but sometimes I think they need a competent rider to remind them.

        And, if it is light outside the kids ride her in the fenced arena, but most of our riding is done after dark due to the short days, which only leaves the unfenced arena, as that is my only area that is lit. I ended up standing at that corner with a whip to discourage the behavior, but I could fix it a lot easier by hopping on her.


        • #5
          I think you'll be fine, too. I know many ponies who get regular tuneups from riders who weigh too much to ride them regularly because that's about the only option, and it is fine. Like both amastrike and your vet said, don't overdo it, but for a bit of a tune up and some extra exercise you should be fine.

          I'd stick with the saddle, if she does have trouble carrying you those few extra pounds will be well offset by the weight distribution. If you were using one of those 40 pound ranch saddles or something I'd say differently, but really any english saddle I've ever used is light enough that the benefits should outweigh (no pun intended ) the extra weight.
          exploring the relationship between horse and human


          • #6
            My trainer (a normal sized adult who is the perfect weight for her height (although she doesn't think so!)) starts small ponies and puts training rides on the small ponies at our barn all the time. None of them have ever suffered for it. The only problem is, that because they're ponies and smarter than we are, when she gets on the bad ones they never act up so she sometimes has difficulty fixing them for their little riders. For this reason alone, you may be better off finding a good kid jock.


            • Original Poster

              Originally posted by skyy View Post
              The only problem is, that because they're ponies and smarter than we are, when she gets on the bad ones they never act up so she sometimes has difficulty fixing them for their little riders.
              I am almost 100% certain that she won't act up for me. She doesn't really act up much for the kids, just the gravitation towards the barn, which I think is extra obvious because neither of them steer well yet. But, I can still work on sharpening up the canter departs, and do some bending and lateral work on her.

              I think I may still get a smaller surcingle so I can long line her for fitness purposes, but I am going to hop on her tonight. She needs a more advanced rider to keep her skills tuned up. She is a nice W/T/C pony who jumps too, but her little riders are just W/T. I had found a neighborhood girl to come and ride her, but she broke her arm and is out for a while. I may try to find another kid to help keep her exercised. I'm hoping by summer the older rider will be cantering and jumping so hopefully it won't be an issue for long.


              • #8
                Could you run the stirrups up on the pony's saddle and run the long lines through them? Might not be the ideal long term solution...

                And have fun riding that pony!


                • #9
                  Originally posted by meaty ogre View Post

                  I could long-line her. But, I'm not super handy at it, and I'd have to order a smaller surcingle. I could also pony her off of my horse, but again, I'm not super proficient at that either (requires Mr. MO or somebody to hand her to me after I've mounted).
                  Only one way to get better at it.

                  I wasn't proficient at either when I started my filly at 3 1/2 but I was an expert by the time she was 4. I ponied her off my 17.2 h eq horse (she's 15.2ish). I've since sold him and really wish I had him back. It was so much fun taking the two in the park.

                  You can mount while holding onto the pony horse. Do it the first time with someone there in case you drop the line, but it's not that hard. You get better in time.

                  Long lining also gets easier the more you do it. It can be a lot of fun and really beneficial.

                  Good luck!


                  • Original Poster

                    [QUOTE=bdj;5258625]Could you run the stirrups up on the pony's saddle and run the long lines through them? Might not be the ideal long term solution...


                    OMG, why didn't I think of that!?

                    sptraining, I definitely plan on continuing the long lining and ponying, both for the pony and for my own skills as well. I do OK with the long lines but when I have to use the whip (often, as pony goes nowhere in a hurry!) I get discombobulated. I know it's just going to take practice.

                    for the ponying, I just don't have a good set-up yet. everything was fine once I was up, but as i was getting on, the mares like to pin their ears and be mean to each other, so it's just easier if hubby hands me the pony. I may try tying pony and then getting her once I'm on the other horse (I have a sturdy post with a blocker tie ring that might work well).


                    • #11
                      How big is your pony?

                      I ride my small (just shy of 12.2h) pony and I'm not particularly small (5'6" and 130lb). I don't have time to ride him often, but I have a neighbor kid who regularly rides him for me to keep him better conditioned and she's about 5'2" (? definitely shorter than me) and maybe about the same weight. When she's not too busy working she rides him 4-5 times a week and jumps him 2-3 of those days. We don't do a lot of jumps (usually only 3-4 jumps on any given jumping day) and we keep them at 2'3" and below (usually 2' verticals and crossrails). He's been perfectly happy with that schedule.

                      When I've put him into work I've just taken it really slow to give him a chance to adjust to carrying more weight. We start out trotting once around the ring in each direction and maybe 1/2 way around the ring each direction at the canter (unless he's been off for a long time in which case I start with just the trot). Right now he's on a less-riding-than-summer schedule but he's still good for a 20+ minute ride.

                      I thought about getting my guy going on the long lines, but it just hasn't worked out the way I envisioned with my schedule. I've long lined enough to feel comfortable doing it, but it's easier just to throw a saddle on him and ride quickly (I guess that's all about what your regular routine is, right?).

                      I say have fun riding her and good luck whatever you decide!
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                      Horses in the NW


                      • #12
                        Well, a pony is a good opportunity to learn how to long line, or double lunge, or whatever you want to call it.

                        I think you can still ride her; you can long line for a bit and then finish off with a 20 minutes schooling ride.

                        I suspect it won't kill the pony


                        • Original Poster

                          Originally posted by PNWjumper View Post
                          but it's easier just to throw a saddle on him and ride quickly (I guess that's all about what your regular routine is, right?).

                          I say have fun riding her and good luck whatever you decide!
                          i think that's just it...for me and my particular skill set, it's just easier for me to hop on and do the fine-tuning I want to do. I can long-line and and I can pony, but it's easier to work on canter departs or to teach her that heading back to the barn without being asked is a bad thing from the saddle.

                          I'd put her at about 13 hands, but I don't have a stick. i did put her on a scale though so i know exaclty what she weighs. She's not drafty, but not finely built either.


                          • #14
                            I'm about the same size as PNWjumper and have regularly ridden smalls...Some pretty fine-boned ones at that. I'm sure you'll be fine.


                            • #15
                              You won't squish her.

                              I wouldn't do any long or super intensive work, but a few short schooling sessions a week won't harm her.
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                              • #16
                                another yes to school the pony
                                If i'm posting on Coth, it's either raining so I can't ride or it's night time and I can't sleep.


                                • Original Poster

                                  Update with a pic

                                  Well, pony made the decision for me this weekend. The third time she trotted full-tilt boogie towards the barn and then planted her feet like a mule when my little rider finally got her directed away from the barn, I could stand aside and watch no more.

                                  I prefer anonymity, but the pic is so bad you couldn't ID me in a 2 person line-up, so here it is:

                                  It didn't feel nearly as bad as I thought. The worst part was that my calves touch, but not my feet/heels so I had to really turn my toes out lift my thigh a little to kick her. She did not seem to have any trouble carrying my weight, and she never even broke a sweat.

                                  I still think I'm too big by a good stretch, but she went so much better after the tune-up. It's hard enough learning to ride without having to deal with barn sourness. I'm still going to long-line and work on the ponying, but as others said, sometimes it's just easier to hop on and fix it.


                                  • #18
                                    why didn't I think of that!?

                                    sptraining, I definitely plan on continuing the long lining and ponying, both for the pony and for my own skills as well.
                                    you can do some wonderful wonderful things with tiny ponies and long lines...their real intelligence shines when you can give them an adult educated feel on their mouth...not the snatch and sway and teeter so many little children subject them to

                                    Tamara in TN
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                                    • #19
                                      Not too big at all! Now, if she'll just learn that it's easier to listen than to fight!


                                      • #20
                                        You're more than fine on that pony. Put your stirrups up a hole or two so your heel touches and ride your heart out.
                                        Big Idea Eventing