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Would you pony a horse 2 miles along a rural road?

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  • Would you pony a horse 2 miles along a rural road?

    My OTTB is leased out to someone 2 miles down the road. They want to send him back, but don't have a trailer anymore and neither do I. They thought of just leading him home, but I really really doubt he would go willingly alone. So I thought of riding my horse down there and ponying him back. I'd have a car follow us with flashers on. It's a rural road, but hilly and windy, and cars go pretty fast (50ish). The OTTB certainly was ponied on the track, but not since, and my riding horse hasn't had anyone ponied off him before. Is this a terrible idea or might it work out?

  • #2
    It really depends. 40 years ago I ponied horses between farms on the roads rather than trailer (why drive when it was only a couple of miles?). How heavy is the traffic? It sounds like you have thought a lot about being safe.

    What about doing it at a time when it is most likely nobody is out (Sunday morning) etc.?

    Reed

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    • #3
      why not ride him?
      Originally posted by BigMama1
      Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
      GNU Terry Prachett

      Comment


      • #4
        Good idea to do it Sunday morning, early enough that the only people out driving may be older church folks but not too early when Saturday nighters' may be coming home.

        I would only do it if the horse you're ponying off of is pretty quiet and practice it a little bit in the yard before you head out on the road. Should be okay- just make sure you have full control first and the car following with flashers is a good idea too. Hopefully you have some grass on the side of the road you can move over to when coming over the crest of a hill or turn.

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        • #5
          Why not have someone drive you down to their place, tack him up, and ride him back to your place with someone following in a car?
          Trying a life outside of FEI tents and hotel rooms.

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          • #6
            Yes I would pony, and have. Walking in hand would be fine too.

            You can always pony him from the passenger side of the car or truck. Course you would need a helper for that. Or you could walk him in hand, and have somebody follow you in a vehicle to make sure nobody comes up behind you or anything like that.

            They do not forget being ponied. Pony him with the pony horse a few times on a few different days, so you know what to expect, and he knows what you expect.

            You or somebody could ride the pony horse and you or somebody could walk him in hand, also with a car following with flashers.

            Guess you first need to find out how he pony's in the first place.

            You can do it.

            Comment


            • #7
              Not knowing the circumstances (how busy is the road, what sort of shoulder/ditch you can ride in, how traffic savvy are the horses) i can't speak for your situation but i pony down roads, into town, all over creation. Certainly never been an issue for me. I used to regularly ride one and pony the other to keep them both conditioned at the same time. Used to do 8mile stretches like that a couple times a week.
              People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they're lost.---Dalai Lama

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              • #8
                Honestly, I would walk him back rather than pony him. Is he really that much of a monster that you are not going to be able to drag him home, even with a chain over his nose? Cause if that's the case he needs some MAJOR training.

                The issue in your scenario is not the ponying. It's the ponying off a horse who you have never ponied with before. I pony off my guy all the time, and he's a tough, no-nonsense alpha horse who just needs to pin an ear to get obedience. He also doesn't mind horses bouncing off of him, tripping, trying to shove ahead, etc.

                But trying to pony a possibly misbehaving horse off of a horse who's not an old ponying pro along a bendy, well-traveled road is a recipe for a giant disaster, in my opinion. Car following or not, the last thing you need is for ponyed horse to amp up your ponying horse, and cause a mess.

                Just lead/ride him home by himself.


                (BTW, "ponying" him out the side of a car is the worst idea I've heard in a long while. What happens when he spooks and breaks your arm on the door frame? I HAVE ponied horses while sitting on a tail gate of a truck, however, which worked out quite nicely. But then again, they were old pros. And my fat mare did stop abruptly once to munch on a tree limb, pulling me right off the tailgate of the still-moving truck and right onto my face in the dirt. )

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                • #9
                  I would handwalk, if I had to, a horse along a rural road. With a friend in car or truck following us. I've known people who have done that successfully.

                  Ponying could end up with horse breaking away and running out into road.

                  So walk, don't pony. But have someone follow you in a car or truck for your safety.

                  And use a stallion chain. Even if he's the quietest horse ever. As well as a longe line.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by Alagirl View Post
                    why not ride him?
                    Yes. Duh. I thought of this shortly after posting. I don't love riding this horse and he's out of shape, but a 2-mile amble shouldn't kill him. I'll have my DH ride my guy down there and we'll ride them back together. I feel so dumb that it took me so long to think of this!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by JCS View Post
                      Yes. Duh. I thought of this shortly after posting. I don't love riding this horse and he's out of shape, but a 2-mile amble shouldn't kill him. I'll have my DH ride my guy down there and we'll ride them back together. I feel so dumb that it took me so long to think of this!
                      pack a lunch! make it a date!
                      Originally posted by BigMama1
                      Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
                      GNU Terry Prachett

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have never had any issues ponying a horse beside a car or truck. Sometimes you have to. They don't usually spook, because they are following along and paying attention. I have had one issue ponying a horse on a very very wide trail. The one I was ponying wanted to go faster and be silly. But soon figured out they would get in trouble when they figured out I was in charge. Most like to be ponied, no rider, and doing what ever gait they want to and they have a buddy along. I frequently, or should say most of the time had a horse I was ponying. Only way to keep 2 in condition, and work full time. I would sometimes would stop, untack the one horse and saddle the other and commence ponying.

                        Maybe endurance/trail horses just do not have that kind of problem. ??

                        Not really any different than seeing $$$$ horses at a $$$$ horse show being ponied/walked beside/behind a golf cart. I have seen that many many times. Yes, they are in a more protected place, but lots of stuff can happen still. Not seen any object to it.

                        Just because your mare did that does not mean all horses will do that.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by rmh_rider View Post
                          I have never had any issues ponying a horse beside a car or truck. Sometimes you have to. They don't usually spook, because they are following along and paying attention.

                          Maybe endurance/trail horses just do not have that kind of problem. ??

                          Not really any different than seeing $$$$ horses at a $$$$ horse show being ponied/walked beside/behind a golf cart. I have seen that many many times. Yes, they are in a more protected place, but lots of stuff can happen still. Not seen any object to it.

                          Just because your mare did that does not mean all horses will do that.
                          The difference between a golf cart and a car is that you are not locked into a golf cart. If the horse pulls back, or trips, and gives you a yank, you are just pulled out of the cart, or your arm hits the 1'' metal tube. You are not stuck in the car.

                          BTW, this mare was a seasoned trail horse. She just also happened to be a fat pig and literally went from a brisk trot to a dead stop to grab a leaf. All of my horses are led around in groups of five or six, polo-pony style.

                          No matter how good an animal ponys, I would never ever lock myself in a vehicle where I was stuck if they did something stupid. That's why I suggested the back of a pickup truck, where you just slide off if something bad happens. I would never suggest locking myself in a vehicle when ponying a horse we're not even sure has been ponied before, apart from some race training.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by GoForAGallop View Post
                            The difference between a golf cart and a car is that you are not locked into a golf cart. If the horse pulls back, or trips, and gives you a yank, you are just pulled out of the cart, or your arm hits the 1'' metal tube. You are not stuck in the car.
                            .
                            Drop the rope. I am more valuable than the animal

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by katarine View Post
                              Drop the rope. I am more valuable than the animal
                              Yeah but plenty of us have the opposite reflex. Or have developed that reflex after mean old riding instructors yelled at us as tiny children not to let go of the pony!


                              Plus, from a serious angle, guess who doesn't want to be on the wrong end of the lawsuit when that loose horse causes a wreck on the busy, wind-y road? This girl!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                rural doesn't equal busy in my mind. At all.

                                I routinely bring three horses and the donkey up the road frontage, from a Mule. All together. Geldings on the left, mare and donk on the right. I do this because it's rural enough to make it manageable. If I had to turn loose of one, I have ample time to regroup.

                                YMMV.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by GoForAGallop View Post
                                  The issue in your scenario is not the ponying. It's the ponying off a horse who you have never ponied with before. I pony off my guy all the time, and he's a tough, no-nonsense alpha horse who just needs to pin an ear to get obedience. He also doesn't mind horses bouncing off of him, tripping, trying to shove ahead, etc.
                                  I know you already said you're going to ride him OP, but just in case that doesn't work for some reason the main problem I see with ponying would be what I quoted above. I pony horses pretty regularly down the road (or used to, anyway...where I live now I don't have to go on roads) even if the horse being ponied isn't used to it, but you've got to have a steady pony horse to do it safely. If you do wind up deciding to pony him, then I'd ride your other horse over a few times and practice at their place before hitting the roads, just to make sure both horses are comfortable with it.

                                  Generally speaking, though, ponying along a rural road doesn't bother me.
                                  exploring the relationship between horse and human

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I would hand walk him. I hand walked my OTTB mare from one barn to another on rural roads - about 3 miles, and I had my friend follow us with a car and flashers. We had shoulder where I could move her off the road if needed, and even though it's not a terribly "horsey" place, every driver we came across was very good, slowing down, moving over, etc - many even waited for us to wave them around, and I nodded to them and thanked any of the drivers I could. We even had some bicyclers come up behind us and one called out a warning that they were there, and didn't want to scare the horse - I was so appreciative of their consideration.

                                    Another consideration - are there storm drains in this road? If there are, navigating two horses around them is going to mean going much further out into the road than you'd have to if you're just hand walking one. Just a thought.
                                    Dapplebay - home of original equestrian clothing and accessories.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by JCS View Post
                                      My OTTB is leased out to someone 2 miles down the road. They want to send him back, but don't have a trailer anymore and neither do I. They thought of just leading him home, but I really really doubt he would go willingly alone. So I thought of riding my horse down there and ponying him back. I'd have a car follow us with flashers on. It's a rural road, but hilly and windy, and cars go pretty fast (50ish). The OTTB certainly was ponied on the track, but not since, and my riding horse hasn't had anyone ponied off him before. Is this a terrible idea or might it work out?
                                      do it all the time here at home in uk, 2miles for a horse is nothing
                                      you be less than 1/2 an hour lol
                                      go for it as long as you got plenty of helpers and someone to follow your be ok or
                                      get a person to lead him back and give them a lift ther via your car still onl y be about 20mins or so and wear hi viz gear make other road users aware of your presents

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Darn, as a teenager I used to pony the hack horses from one barn to the other on a regular basis.
                                        We had to go down the road that ran between the quarries, turn right on another road and go over the bridge that went over the RR tracks. There was a little bit of a shoulder but people would fly down both roads and we didn't have a car following us.
                                        These horses were all arabians, not exactly dead quiet either.

                                        We didn't particularly worry if the horse pony horse had ever been ponied from or the other horse had ever been ponied.

                                        The worst was I was ponying one on each side and we picked up a canter on the front lawn of a large corporate complex since we were running out of daylight. Stopping at the end of the grass before the driveway was interesting. I would hesitate to repeat that particular scenario.
                                        Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)

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