help and advice re new pony please - im worried

(48 Posts)
booksinbed Mon 14-Jan-13 18:01:17

Hi all - so have had my little cob for nearly a month.


I took care and got from a dealer who said that if there are any problems he gives after purchase support etc.trys to match owner etc and will swap if doeas not work.

He was rather thin on his top line on his spine -so i went to local supplier who told me to put him on baileys calm and condition.

Last week he has done several very stange things which do not fit the dealers view of him and not how he behaved ist weeks. i do know that they can try it on after a few weeks but this seems really odd to me and i feel unnerved.


first he tried to get out of his stable and put two legs over door when two horses he goes out with were being fed/put out. also racing round stable.he cannot always go out at same time as them.

few days later took him out in trailer for first time short distance only - seemed v agitated and somehow got one leg stuck in top partition.

third - out on hack after lesson y day- napped big style.few step s at at time only.used voice, leg ,crop after first 2 did not work.after half hr dipped his shoulder i came off and he trotted home and i had to walk.he had also been stamping a lot - agitated on hack .looks a bit manic/hectic to me but fine in lesson in school but i dont know if im projecting my worries .

The dealer has always said i can swap if i need to.

several things strike me - could it be the food??.trying it on?? - combo o f both???.We had a hack in company on sat ,the day before the napping hack and he was fab, but did the trailer thing with leg on way back. rang food company baileys today who said this was the fifth strongest food they have an d he shd be on low cal if anything.

dealer said that he was a t a busy yard and mine is very very quiet and i wonder if this ma impact on him too.

Got vet today to do teeth,vacs and back check.he reared when teeth done and needed to be sedated.vet said he is def trying it on plus the food may impact. vet feels he is trying it on but does have some anxiety too.

Am going to have lots lessons,stop the food suplement and try to be more asertive/ firm.he plants his feet for eg when i say go back and wont move but if i tap him he looks scared.am having an instructor asses s him and me tomorrow.i must admit the napping thing terrified me .the dealer said he has no history of this but then again he was with lots of horses before so he may be genuinly scared of hacking out alone but if this the case why has he been fine for three weeks doing so ....

Any pearls of wisdom please.am going to try best .As said will -
remove supplement.
give no treats .
have regular lessons and support to handle.
hack out in company only.
try to build his trust by handling a lot ,grooming etc.dont have confidence to try the join up stuff with out a speclist support.

hard to decicide if a difficult pony or teething issues.my friend said that a tactic of dealers is to sell underweight, which he was ,and then when they back in condition are difficult ,which has been masked by the low weight at time of sale.Must admit this is praying on my mind.

Any support much appriciated. thanks .

CatPussRoastingOnAnOpenFire Wed 16-Jan-13 23:26:04

Im very glad to read your update. And very glad that you are moving yards.
It will take a few days for him to come down. TBH, behaviour wise, he is a cob. They can be bargy and rude.
Time will tell, try and keep to a good routine, and help him feel secure. As for the trailer, have you tried 2 short ropes, one on each side so he cant go up? If hed to rear high enough to get a leg over the partition, he was tied much too loosely.
Anyway. Well done for your proactivity, things will work out.

Booboostoo Thu 17-Jan-13 07:58:29

Good to hear from you. I think changing yards and stopping the food are great ideas.

If he were mine I would have a plan of action in the new yard:
1. ask for someone more experienced to help you turn him out. Walk away and leave him to it. Yes he will go bonkers, that is what horses will excess energy do. Keep a discreet eye on him from where he cannot see you but don't stay with him.

2. only work with him when he has been out all day long. The first day lunge him but after he comes in in the evening. The second day lunge him again. On day three have a lesson booked. Another lesson on day four. Day five rest for both of you. Repeat with the lunge on day six and see how you both feel about you riding him on your own on day seven (if unsure, book a lesson. Negotiate with the instructor for a reduced rate for frequent lesson).

3. get someone experienced to show you some handling tips so that his manners improve.

If you want to run the bloods call the vet who did the vetting who can do it for you.

I don't think it is possible to assess this pony's suitability until you have had him a few weeks at a yard with proper turnout and no hard feed.

Booboostoo Thu 17-Jan-13 08:00:26

Sorry, forgot to add. Keep to the school for the first week or two until he is settled and then only go on hacks in company with another settled horse.

miggy Thu 17-Jan-13 08:11:41

Sorry to hear you are having problems, alwas tricky with a new one.
Doubt its worth testing bloods TBH, he isnt actually being that naughty considering he is in 24/7 and stuffed with food!
New yard and turnout and no food and help is great plan.
Would def second the idea of gettng a kelly marks RA out. They will show you how to handle him, help you with loading and be abl to give you a good assesement of his personality etc. Would help in making a decision as to if you should keep im or not, as presumably dealer has a limit on time for exchange etc.
Tricky as he does sound a bit like a pony who will always be looking to take advantage and be a bit rude and the pair of you might not be the best combination, something kinder might suit you better, but so hard to say given his current routine, thats where the RA will help you.

Callisto Thu 17-Jan-13 08:20:06

He is taking the piss because he knows he can get away with it. He sounds too much for you tbh and he will get worse unless you get ontop of it now. If he is bargy around food (hard feed rather than forage) then this may always be the case - my sheltie is a bloody nightmare around food and always will be.

I don't want to be really negative, but it doesn't sound like you're ready for horse ownership yet. Perhaps sending him back to the dealer and finding a share on a yard where you will get plenty of back up would be a better plan, at last until you have the knowlege and confidence to have one of your own.

ponydilemma Thu 17-Jan-13 10:21:58

I agree 110% with Callisto. You sound over horsed, nervous and unconfident. Your heart is clearly in the right place but more lessons and or a share would be so much better for you. Your new pony sounds like a sod to be honest and I can't understand why on earth you went to a dealer! A pony you know from someone you know locally would have made tons more sense, i don't know whereabouts you are but older, kickalong ponies are being loaned out left right and centre where we are. Can you not get dd a pony instead and you grow in confidence by helping her look after it?

ponydilemma Thu 17-Jan-13 10:23:48

Can you lunge? Do you have the money for a Kelly Marks RA? Do you really want this to work and are you willing to work at it? Some of the behaviour you've described sounds normal to be honest and it concerns me that it concerns you so much. Poor cob being stabled all the time :-( it really won't be good for him.

booksinbed Thu 17-Jan-13 13:41:57

hi pony- yes do want to make it work - have plans to move him asap to another yard were have turn out,have lessons and handling lessons x 2 a week.my dd has a pony herself but i think that ive got all nervous as its been a dream to get my own.maybe if some of this behevoiur is normal i need to wise up and have lessons etc and develpo greater confidence .i must admit that i was very emotional and too soft when i got him and kept giving him treats as very sadly my beloved father passed away that week and i was very traumatised . am having him assessed by an instructor tomorrow too.

Booboostoo Thu 17-Jan-13 13:51:40

Food wise, stop the treats for no particular reason. Also teach him to move away from food.

This has worked well with me in the past:
Put horse in stable, close bottom door and stand outside. Put 2-3 pony nuts in your hand, make a fist so that the horse cannot get them and offer your fist level with the horse's nose (as long as you don't have a horse that bites). If he touches your fist or licks it, ignore him and do NOT pull your hand away or move it at all. The moment there is space between his nose and your fist make a characteristic sound (a click from a clicker is ideal but anything neutral that you can repeat in a hurry is fine) and open your fist letting him have the food. Repeat.

Most animals will get the idea after a few repetitions, i.e. if I go after the food I don't get it, if I move away from it, I get it. Over a few days you can start asking for more, i.e. not just a small move of the nose away but the whole head moving away or even a step back. Once you get reliable behaviour you can name it ('off' or 'leave it' or whatever you want). The behaviour is then easy to transfer to any food item, e.g. the feed bucket.

I have a HW cob who used to try and mob me when I wanted to feed him, within a week he would see the feed back and reverse (at great speed for such a lump of a horse!) to the back of the stable!

Callisto Thu 17-Jan-13 14:33:27

If you tried that with my sheltie he would have your hand off and then turn his arse around and double barrel you for god measure, Boo. Which is why he never has treats, or anything by hand, and is only on a bit of lo-cal chaff to get some oil into him (which I will be cutting out as soon as this cold snap is over).

Booboostoo Thu 17-Jan-13 15:15:27

Yes some horses (and dogs) bite in which case you should not do it with your hand. Instead you use a box with remote opening (easy to make one yourself or you can buy one). Same principle as before.

The horse is in the stable and should not be able to easily kick you.

If the horse is so aggressive that it could get you from the other side of the stable, then I am afraid it's beyond my expertise.

Indiscriminately giving treats leads most animals to search for more food which makes them pushy, bitey, bolshy etc. Using food as reward for good behaviour reinforces the behaviour, so if the behaviour is 'move away' what you get is more 'move away'.

Callisto Thu 17-Jan-13 16:37:16

Yes, I totally understand the principle and it sounds good. I would like to put this idea into practice with him as he is bright as a button and woud catch on pretty quickly, but feeding both ponies in the field just makes it impractical atm.

I have to say that the sheltie is very sweet normally, but he becomes Mr Hyde if there is a bucket containing hard feed, I think this is down to him being at the bottom of the heap in any herd so he gets bullied off food, though he isn't intimidated by a smack on the snout from me. I just handle him differently to the way I handle other horses and make allowances for his bad start. The nil-by-hand rule means that he no longer nips at least and I can pick all four feet out without him trying to lie down (fronts) or double barrel me (hinds).

When I tried my dhorse I was slightly alarmed that after every ride he was given sweeties and therefore rootled about looking for them in my pockets. I have never given treats on a regular basis, only to catch with and he learned very quickly that he didn't get anything from me - his food was in his bowl, and I used a food scoop for catching. They do randomly get things, but do not hassle me or anyone else for food.

Books, do try not to overthink everything - that way lies madness! Above all relax with him, talk to him a lot, keep things simple but don't let him boss you around. Don't be afraid to use a deep, loud (but not shouty) voice with him - and don't be afraid to be physically quite robust with him. I don't mean violence of any form of course, but if you want him to move over then give him a good firm push with your hand, and voice command at the same time. You do need to be quite assertive and let him know when he's done well, and also when he's not! I wasn't entirely sure how "safe" in the stable my new horse was (ex pointer on 6lbs oats a day when he arrived with me), so I touched him a lot to let him know where I was. If I was walking around him I would run my hand firmly over his back and quarters, made no sudden movements and talked all the time.

It will take time and practice but it will come to you, and he will learn that a) you are in charge (most important) and b) you are his friend and will look after him.

BoffinMum Thu 17-Jan-13 17:10:03

TBH he sounds like he needs a good hard ride every single day to wear him out, and a loving but very firm hand otherwise this will just go on and on.

horseylady Thu 17-Jan-13 19:11:08

I think it's wrong to say horses who are bad with food always be. Ime horses are bad with feed when it's limited and an issue is made out of it.

My mare was evil with feed when I bought her. Shed been beaten up by other horses when fed in the field and then only given a tiny amount in the stable and she was very protective over it and would bite and kick out at you.

I overcame this by feeding her daily, even if just chop and standing next to her.

I never treat out my hand, any horse. They are always fed out a bucket or on the floor. They also have no hard feed. They do not work hard enough.

Books - be consistent. Its the best advise I can offer. They're big animals. A swift kick doesn't hurt them and they shift. They learn fast, and they are never too old to change habits.

catsharingmychair Fri 18-Jan-13 15:47:48

So sorry you are having such a nightmare with your Cob - I have a 14hh Cob which I bought from a dealer (Gatwick area) and he has been fine, but I can understand how they can become bargy and 'rude' as mine needs reminding..Yours is not behaving like most Cobs though - they are usually so calm and sensible..I think he feels messed around and one thing I do know is that Cobs have a temper- mine you can actually see getting pissed off - if in the field he races round and round bucking!

What I was going to add

a) Mine has a thing whereby when you let him go in the field he will sometimes turn, kick up and gallop (ok amble in canter) off..so the whole family has been trained to enter field, reverse him several paces (apparently this shows them you are the boss) and to NEVER just slip him off the headcollar without thinking - his head has to be next to yours with him pointing towards gate. If not, he will catch you with his feet, unintentionally. So if he is full of beans please be careful when turning him out - a lady in Hampshire died last year turning out her event horse- a terrible, terrible accident- he kicked up in high jinks and she was hit in the head.

b) I'd agree definitely with not feeding him anything but hay- my vet told me to stop all feed this winter as he does so well and I've been sticking to this and he's still weighty...they don't need it- just hay.

c) Fairly controversial I know but ...is there any way you could send him somewhere for intensive re-schooling? There's a place opposite me which has lightweight, brilliant trainers, who'd hopefully be able to retrain his manners and behaviour? You could then go along and re-introduce yourself/your ownership to him at their yard, form a relationship and then, once this is established and he knows and trusts YOU- bring him home? Don't know what anyone else thinks to this- might just take off the pressure from you both?

How big is he?
Where are you located?

x

Pixel Fri 18-Jan-13 16:18:17

That's interesting about cobs having a temper, I thought it was just mine! Our last 'big lad' was a part-shire and a real gentle giant so this stroppy so and so has come as a bit of a shock.

catsharingmychair Fri 18-Jan-13 16:33:03

I was told of Cobs when I bought him that they hate (more than most horses) being cold and hungry, and I've definitely found this, perhaps others have too and so I avoid both like the plague..

Having a heavy horse is an eye opener - you can't hold them very easily from the ground once they set off in a fast walk/jog - mine once decided he didn't want to go to a show and before I'd even presented the trailer to him for loading... he saw us put it in place, was led out of his stable and took off behind the stables... (there's nothing behind the stables except a hedge and its too narrow - 3 ft at best- to turn him round, so I had to squeeze behind the stables myself, push myself past him (took a deep breath in every sense hoping he didn't panic) and then reverse him literally 50 paces to get him back through to the yard (stupid horse)...they're not known for their intellectual prowess!

Pixel Fri 18-Jan-13 17:21:39

Yes! We realised early on that he hates being hungry, it puts him in a really bad mood. We call him 'the labrador of the horse world' because he's so obsessed with food. Hating the cold was more of a surprise as people go on about them being good-doers so we thought he wouldn't need much rugging. In fact he is the only horse I've ever (in 30-odd years) put a rug on in the summer after I found him in light rain shivering from head to foot. If he's at the top of the field and it starts raining he literally gallops down straight into his shelter. He's taught the other horses to do it now too so it's quite comical. Always makes me think of Peter Kay, "It's spitting, get the kids in" grin.

LandsN Sat 02-Feb-13 21:46:52

I had a ish mare who was fine for the first 2 weeks then when out hacking one day decided to start napping but strangely away from home after that day I had real trouble getting out the gates to even take her out it was hard work but using stern voice and strong legs and seat I had to overcome this as giving in to her and either riding in or hacking in company was backing down to her (they r v cleaver animals) I did get a friend to walk with me to step in if needed and gradually move away the longer we was out and also change your route as often as possibl, if u can don't get to the end of a road or point then turn round and go back the same way if u can go round a block or something. It can b very frightening and hard I just feel if u give in and do what they want it makes the matter worse still hack in company too so they know its not always the same I do think she just tried to see how far she could push me good luck x

I really don't mean to be rude books, but haven't we been through all this before with the pony lwvb?

Maybe you've bitten off a little more than you can chew again?

Sounds very much to me like any typical horse from most dealers, they're ridden ingroups with little to no feed & usually ridden/knackered out before you come to see them. They don't tend to get the one on one handlingyoud offer, so lack general manners.

Sounds very much to me like he's playing you for a fool. Firm handling & assertive riding should sort that out.

My dope on a rope, was apparently 'given away' because she was too much for someone to handle. But on the right feed and firm consitant handling she really is the dopiest thing going.

Another thing id like to say (again this is meant to be constructive not insulting) is don't expect people on your new yard to carry you. Its all good & well people more experienced helping you out with things, but when it comes down to it, people get fed up constantly having to sort out someone elses problems with their horse. (A few on at my place, happy to let me teach they're horse mannors, and turn it out with mine so it won't be alone, but won't even hold my little pony because it can be a bit sharp, whilst I'm trying to sort out there's)

A good instructor is worth their weight in gold. We have had numerous "moment" with our horse, some when out on our own, and some in lessons. When dhorse is playing up she can advise us on what to do, and if this fails, she gets on him - this makes him furious, because he knows she can make him do what she wants. grin Even while he is thinking, "I'm not going that way, I'm NOT," and trying to have a strop, his feet are moving where she wants. (Poor horse grin.)

It's good too being able to call someone out to help you in particular trouble spots - that shady corner where all the horses think the trolls live, or the big field where they get excited.

pandaptogether Mon 04-Feb-13 13:15:28

I think you ought to try and turn him out everyday, Will the yard let you put him in the school whilst you muck out? He shouldnt need any extra feed, the new grass will be through in a few weeks and it will do him good to be on the lighter side to help control his weight. Although he may kick the stable door if everyone else is being fed and not him, could you give him a handful of chaff to make him think he isnt missing out?

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