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What age do you start your ponies u/s?

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  • What age do you start your ponies u/s?

    I am curious to see at what age people are starting their ponies u/s? Do you start them, then turn them out for a while? I am just interested in hearing everyone's general program(understanding of course it can vary depending on the individual.)
    Please list breed as well.
    Thanks!

  • #2
    We usually begin late in their two year old year with walk and trot. Put them away until the ground isn't rock hard and do the same again their three year old year but stop around March 1st. We give them the rest of the year off until fall and begin again in earnest adding the canter.
    Randee Beckman ~Otteridge Farm, LLC (http://on.fb.me/1iJEqvR)~ Marketing Manager - The Clothes Horse & Jennifer Oliver Equine Insurance Specialist

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    • #3
      We start them as late 2 year olds and do some long lining and then lightly back them. We take them out trail riding to get use to the sights and sounds. After that we usally give them some time off to grow and mature. When they are ready they get a refresher course and will go to some local show.
      By then they are usually headed to their new homes.
      Worth A Shot Farm
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      • #4
        We start ours as 2 yr olds in middle of summer. We only do about 30 days--sometimes only 3 weeks depending on the pony --we like to end on a good note... just an introduction to ground driving, some very light lunge work, & then walk & then trot.
        Then they go back out to be ponies.. 3 yr old summer--we start again and add canter... and at the end of summer we jump a small x or two. During the 3 yr summer, we usually go to a show or two to have the overnight show experience and show in a flat class. Then back out to the field til 4 yrs old and in spring start a refresher and when solid, we add some x's & then small jumps.

        I have seen too many ponies ruined--just because they would do it all at two --doesnt mean they should. Year or two of that and their brains are usually fried. Not worth it in my opinion.
        Windswept Stables-Specializing in Ponies
        Sales, Breaking,Training,Showing, Stud Service

        Home of 2008 Sire of Year Reserve Champion
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        • #5
          Ours start at three and are brought along just like warmbloods. They are German Riding Ponies.
          Whispered Wish Weser-Ems: Breeding quality German Riding Ponies!
          Standing the stallion Burberry
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          • #6
            I start mine at 3 and continue on with their training, going slowly using a lot of trail riding to get plenty of saddle time without pushing too hard too fast. Mine are welsh cobs (some ponies, some just over the height limit).
            Ranch of Last Resort

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            • #7
              I will be starting mine as a 3yo. She's half pony half horse, but will finish top of the line small, or low medium pony. She's around 12hh right now. Her pony dam wasn't really worked hard until she was 6 so obviously I don't rush them. And the dam still hasn't cantered under saddle yet. My son is a walk/trot kinda kid so it worked out.
              A Merrick N Dream Farm
              Proud Member of "Someone Special to me serves in the Military" Clique

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              • #8
                We have two three year olds that we are riding this year.

                Late last fall they had about 5 easy rides on them. Just soft, soft, soft. Both have yet to put a foot wrong, so there have never been any stressful moments. Their rides were walk/trot, and then they were turned out for the winter.

                I brought them back up to the barn in February, and they are being ridden every other day right now. We are not pushing them. The every other day schedule means that the work is fresh and interesting for them, and you can see big smiles on their faces throughout every ride. They are genuinely enjoying their training.

                As they are just three year olds, we are keeping lessons short, usually no more than 15 minutes. They are making beautiful progress, and I'm delighted with them.

                I plan to own these two fillies for MANY years, and I expect to show them for quite a long time. I also plan for them to retire from the show ring SOUND -- so we're not putting tons and tons of miles on them, I just don't feel the need to push them. They have their whole lives ahead of them, and again, soundness is a BIG deal to me. I watch some of my competitors young ponies have soundness issues, and I have every intention of avoiding that, if at all possible.
                Family Partners Welsh Ponies - Home of Section B Welsh stallion *Wedderlie Mardi Gras LOM/AOE http://www.welshponies.com
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                • #9
                  We start ours as 3 yr olds and then turn them back out over the winter months. We start them up again in early spring as 4 yr olds and keep them going. We have Sport ponies, all of which are large in the 14 - 14.2h range. Mainly New Forest breeding and some crossed with WB's. Ours are not anywhere close to starting as 2 year olds.
                  www.trevelyanfarm.com
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                  Breeders of Sport Horses & New Forest Sport Ponies

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                  • #10
                    Late 2 yr olds. I take them to an indoor and break them lightly in the winter of their two year old year. Then in the spring as 3 yr olds they are ready to go on.
                    ~*Adult Pony Rider Clique*~
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                    • #11
                      I don't do anything but groundwork until the fall of their 3 year old year. They are usually started u/s then, lightly, turned out through the winter months and started "seriously" the spring of their 4 year old year.

                      All of mine now are warmblood/pony crossbreds ... breeding that is typical of the GRPs. I have never handled them any differently than I did the warmbloods when I was breeding them as they seem to have the same type of growth/ maturity patterns.
                      Kaleidoscope Farm
                      http://www.stallionstation.com/kaleidoscopefarm

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                      • #12
                        It depends on the pony. We normally start them in the spring of their 3 yr old year. We see how it goes. If we run into any problems we put them away and start them in another few months. Some just mature later and we don't do anything to stress them. I wait until they are 3 because knowing me, I just cant help it, we want to hop them over a tiny X as part of their w/t training. Ground poles are also used.

                        I find that most (not all) of the fillys are more mature at 3 than the geldings. But, right now I have a 3 yr old gelding that acts like he is 8. So super easy and quiet.
                        Sandy
                        www.sugarbrook.com
                        hunter/jumper ponies

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                        • #13
                          Our small Dartmoor cross was just begging for a job, so she was started as a 2 y.o. She spent the first year being long lined being trail ridden.
                          Y'all ain't right!

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                          • #14
                            I start Colonial Spanish babies at 3.5 or 4...no younger. I like them to be well grown physically and mentally before I get on their backs. As long as they lived as as sound as they are, there is no need to rush them.

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                            • #15
                              This is interesting.
                              I had a pony colt born here last june 08, and today for the first time, I cross tied him...his response was wonderful, ok, so you want me to stand, what else is new?

                              I plan on using him for driving, since he will probably mature at 13 hands(I hope). I have no idea of his breeding, his dam was a rescue I got, pregnant unbeknownst to me. She is the most untrusting horse I have ever met, probably the result of many beatings. She must have been a well loved and started pony, as she does anything you ask, except to be restrained or touched.
                              I worked hard to not let baby colt see his mom's total mistrust of humans.

                              So, I did very little imprint, and handled him when mom showed disinterest in me, and accepted that I wasn't going to hurt her colt. His legs have been picked up, a rope under his butt to simulate a harness someday, lots of hoses and ropes around his legs, etc, etc.

                              I planned on ground driving him this summer...putiing a surcingle on him, long lines and having someone at his head and just walking up and down the driveway...10 minutes top, a couple of times a week. He will be a one year old.

                              I get the impression from reading these posts that it may be too much mentally, physically I am not asking him for very much, so I have to say I am ruling that out.

                              my horses are all turned out 12 hours a day in large pastures, and stalled at night.

                              I don't think anything I am asking is nearly as mentally challenging as what I have read and seen when a foal is imprinted.

                              I also do not push nor do I insist on any horse do something they are not interested in or willing to do. If they are not ready, they are not ready...end of story. I have 7 year old who is only now ready for ground driving, so I am of the mind, each horse is different and needs to be ready, willing and able to do what we ask.

                              I guess I'd really like to hear discussion why folks think that this may be too much menatally for him.
                              save lives...spay/neuter/geld

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by fivehorses View Post
                                This is interesting.
                                I had a pony colt born here last june 08, and today for the first time, I cross tied him...his response was wonderful, ok, so you want me to stand, what else is new?

                                I plan on using him for driving, since he will probably mature at 13 hands(I hope). I have no idea of his breeding, his dam was a rescue I got, pregnant unbeknownst to me. She is the most untrusting horse I have ever met, probably the result of many beatings. She must have been a well loved and started pony, as she does anything you ask, except to be restrained or touched.
                                I worked hard to not let baby colt see his mom's total mistrust of humans.

                                So, I did very little imprint, and handled him when mom showed disinterest in me, and accepted that I wasn't going to hurt her colt. His legs have been picked up, a rope under his butt to simulate a harness someday, lots of hoses and ropes around his legs, etc, etc.

                                I planned on ground driving him this summer...putiing a surcingle on him, long lines and having someone at his head and just walking up and down the driveway...10 minutes top, a couple of times a week. He will be a one year old.

                                I get the impression from reading these posts that it may be too much mentally, physically I am not asking him for very much, so I have to say I am ruling that out.

                                my horses are all turned out 12 hours a day in large pastures, and stalled at night.

                                I don't think anything I am asking is nearly as mentally challenging as what I have read and seen when a foal is imprinted.

                                I also do not push nor do I insist on any horse do something they are not interested in or willing to do. If they are not ready, they are not ready...end of story. I have 7 year old who is only now ready for ground driving, so I am of the mind, each horse is different and needs to be ready, willing and able to do what we ask.

                                I guess I'd really like to hear discussion why folks think that this may be too much menatally for him.
                                I really do not think you are asking too much of him as long as you are keeping his lessons extremely short...like any baby/toddler, their attention spans are very short. I think little lessons are good to keep their minds focused on you and the interesting things you have in store for him. I just wouldn't get your lessons into being something monotenous (spelling??) and boring. Then your work could backfire on you. Maybe show him some new surroundings or something. I would also definately keep someone at his head to keep it as stress free as possible. I am sure you will get lots of differing opinions on this one but each individual pony is different in my opinion, and only you know yours.
                                That being said, the cross-ties do tend to make me a bit nervous and I do wait to do that later with mine.
                                Last edited by Summerwood; Apr. 3, 2009, 05:14 PM. Reason: add
                                http://summerwoodwelsh.com
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                                • #17
                                  winter of their 2yearold year (2.5) we start hopping on them and taking them on trails. Maybe once a month or every 5 weeks or so, till early summer, then maybe once every 3 weeks till fall. Its only walking and short spans of trotting on the trails, maybe going through a pond or over a fallen tree or something like that. Easy stuff.

                                  In the fall we start "real work," introducing the canter, leads, all that good stuff. Over the winter its back to trail riding till spring.

                                  Starting them like this I've never had them put a step wrong. They take everything in stride, no fuss no stress.

                                  (I was watching a friend work with her 3y/o draft cross filly and the spazzouts she had I was shocked by. And they weren't bad, it was complete normal baby behavior, but I'm just not used to it from the ponies)
                                  Riding the winds of change

                                  Heeling NRG Aussies
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                                  • #18
                                    My medium pony project was 2.5 when we started him. He was also a VERY balanced pony. He sold about 4 months later so no clue if they kept him in work or not.

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                                    • #19
                                      I like to start them at 3 years under saddle. I like to ground drive them in the fall of their 2 year old year. Then we start up again in the eairly spring.
                                      Unbridled Oaks - Champion Sport Ponies and Welsh Cobs

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                                      • #20
                                        interesting, since I was getting grief that 'he doesn't know how to be cross tied'?! And here I thought I wasn't doing enough with him!

                                        I was a bit nervous, but he isn't a flip out kind of colt. I had baling twine on either end and had tied the lead line to bailing twine with a knot you can pull to undo quickly. I did not want him to learn how to break out of crossties, nor panic, but also be ready to stop him from flipping out.
                                        He did neither, and compared to my draftxs' he was so easy going about the whole thing.

                                        As far as riding, or serious training to a cart, that will not happen till he is at least 3 or later. However, anything I can do with him that is not weight bearing or leg straining, I feel comfortable introducing him to it, as long as he seems ready and we can do it without any serious complications safely.

                                        I won't do anything that could harm his young body(weight or legs) or that is too much a challenge for him that could end negatively.

                                        Having a lesson end with 'lack of trust' or getting away with something contributes to long term issues imo.
                                        save lives...spay/neuter/geld

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