Had enough! On the verge of giving it all up.

(56 Posts)
Gilbertus Mon 26-Aug-13 15:45:43

Went to a show this morning and dpony was just horrible. Was good on lead rein for youngest dd but refused 3 times at 2' for poor dd2. Gave him a rest, warmed up jumped practice jump all nicely then slammed on brakes in the clear round. He looked half asleep the entire time. He's perfectly capable of jumping a nice clear, he just doesn't listen to dd2,its like she's not even there. Dd2 leaves ring holding back the tears. Then to add insult to injury he wouldn't loadsad was horrible, stubborn and throwing his head about as soon as on the ramp.

This is the third pony we've had that refuses. He didn't when we first got him. He seemed quite honest. But now I feel as though we've ruined him. It doesn't matter how many lessons we have, he's fine usually. At shows he is stubborn and lazy.

I can't go through this any more, I hate having the worst pony there. We clearly have no idea what we are doing. I have said after Xmas they are going unless we start to have some fun with them.

CMOTDibbler Mon 26-Aug-13 16:46:37

Have you thought about getting someone to come and ride him and give him some schooling?
Our pony has had a phase of being a PITA (though lovely on the ground, loads beautifully etc), and has just had 3 weeks away with a reschooler and it came as a bit of a shock to him to be ridden by an adult who was able to make him do stuff.

As well, could your instructor come along to a show and watch dd2 to see if shes tensed up and holding him back at shows?

Booboostoo Mon 26-Aug-13 16:46:46

You've had a really frustrating day by the sounds of it, take a deep breath, things will get better.

One problem at a time:
It is difficult to find a good LR that is also a good FR, maybe you need two different ponies for the two DCs? What does your instructor think? Can your instructor come with you to a show to help identify what is going wrong?

Did he used to jump everything, confidently with your DD2 but has now started refusing? Could there be a physical reason for his refusals (he may be OK with dealing with the pain at home but find it too much with the added stress of the competitions?)? Have you changed anything in his tack that explains the problem? Or could it be something in his management (feed, turn out)? Does DD2 have gentle, giving hands when she is over the jump, as being wacked in the mouth can upset some ponies?

The loading is a common problem, what have you tried to solve it? Some ponies do well with a dually, some are good with clicker training, some just need a bridle on for a bit of extra control. Ask your instructor for some loading lessons so that you know how to react when he refuses to load.

And remember, horses make fools of everyone, the person with the best pony in the show today will have the worst one in tomorrow's show!

Gilbertus Mon 26-Aug-13 18:19:17

He seems to go much better for my 7 year old than my 10 year old (whose pony it is supposed to be). He hacks out beautifully and is bombproof in traffic - just trying to make myself feel better about him. The girl we bought him from had quite a lot of success with him doing dressage and 2'3 ODEs. He seems to actually not like poor old dd2 sad he puts his ears back and lopes round as if he's half asleep. Dressage judge (at v low level show) said they were not a good combination and he was getting mixed messages from her... Yet no instructors seem to have picked dd2 up on her riding and on the face of it she seems to ride quite well, she's confident and happy (or she was anyway sad)

Gilbertus Mon 26-Aug-13 18:21:59

CMOT dibbler - did the reschooling work?

belatedmaybe Mon 26-Aug-13 20:33:32

Can you get a good instructor to come to a show? Lots of people ride differently at shows. My daughter holds back with her hands and pushes with her legs show jumping at shows. At home, x country, hunting basically anywhere else she doesn't. If the dressage judge saw it but instructors didn't I would say it is worth a try.

Alternatively forget shows for a while! Tbh they are often no fun. Lots of stress and pressure when going for a nice hack or pleasure ride can be the total opposite.

marialuisa Mon 26-Aug-13 20:33:46

It does sound as if DD2 might be contributing to the problem a bit which would be understandable if he's tried it on, got away with it and knocked her confidence. How does DD2 manage on other ponies and was it her the other 2 ponies started to stop with? I think sometimes instructors aren't as straight about the cause of problems as they need to be for fear of upsetting the client or because of the type of pilots they are comparing. If my own DD went to a riding school or pony club lesson she looks pretty good, compared to the majority of kids she rides against she's barely adequate on a good day!

CMOTDibbler Mon 26-Aug-13 20:34:12

Ds had ridden him there once in the three weeks he's been away, and he was much, much, much better. Is also lungeing properly now which had been a real issue for us (and which our instructor had failed at), and is cantering in a much better manner.

Gilbertus Mon 26-Aug-13 20:49:37

Belated - i suspect that might be the issue, also she looks into the jump which doesn't help. We did 20 mins of flatwork then a few jumps at home and he was as good as gold once she started to look beyond the jump. Then dd3 took him out hacking and he was a saint smile trouble is they all want to compete and are quite competitive. Dd1 is off having show jumping camp with a very respected show jump coach - feedback from there is that pony was naughty and once she was given spurs he flew round hmm

Gilbertus Mon 26-Aug-13 20:50:42

That's dd1s pony who ALSO started stopping angry god maybe they are just all terrible ridersconfused

bronya Mon 26-Aug-13 20:55:01

Whereabouts are you? Ponies are rarely naughty, and when they seem so, it's a personality trait that is slightly cheeky and there all along. Have you had your saddle fit checked lately? Your older daughter is heavier and will cause a not quite right saddle to hurt where a lighter child would not.

Gilbertus Mon 26-Aug-13 21:09:30

Yes I was thinking of the saddle. I don't agree though - ponies are often naughty!! They definitely take the piss on occasion! As dh said - we look after them like kings, all we expect is 45 mins trouble-free riding a day, it's not much to ask!!

Gilbertus Mon 26-Aug-13 21:09:30

Yes I was thinking of the saddle. I don't agree though - ponies are often naughty!! They definitely take the piss on occasion! As dh said - we look after them like kings, all we expect is 45 mins trouble-free riding a day, it's not much to ask!!

bronya Mon 26-Aug-13 21:39:36

Youngsters can challenge, esp 5 year olds as their hormones kick in. I have met 'naughty' ponies who were naturally spooky, who lacked confidence, who were given confusing signals by the rider or who struggled physically or mentally to do the job in hand. I have met many who were simply sensitive and confused, a few who were just built wrong so no saddle really fitted yet were angels bareback, some who had mental scars from previous bad experiences and a few whose owners just did not lead, so the pony tried their best.

One tried to kick their owner repeatedly - she had personally taken the mare's foal away. Another who could not be led and towed his owner everywhere - who could be led by tiny children within a week. One who had an interesting time as a foal that forever affected her social interactions, yet will look after a disabled child with all the patience in the world...

Littlebigbum Mon 26-Aug-13 22:18:41

I'm so with Gilbertus ponies can be naughty, very naughty. Is the pony getting enough rest between jockeys?
Sorry you had a bad day

Floralnomad Tue 27-Aug-13 00:42:57

I agree that some ponies can be naughty and take the piss but TBH if you've now had 3 ponies that all came to you with no issues and all started doing the same thing when with you I think you will have to look into what is going on with your daughters . Even if its the ponies playing up then perhaps your daughters don't have the necessary experience to deal with them . I don't think you can just blame the pony . Do your daughters all have regular lessons ?

Gilbertus Tue 27-Aug-13 05:43:13

I will definitely look into the saddle. He came with an awful saddle which had rubbed patches on his back. We bought a new one which seemed to fit well and we've had no issues until recently but it's worth checking. He leans on his bit quite badly so I need to sort that also. Maybe being lead rein first is confusing him. He was clearly very stressed when he came to load. I don't think he wants to misbehave. I can imagine perhaps dd2 is giving confusing signals but having said that he will trot round happily with dd3 even off lead rein.

Poor dd2 is determined to bond better with him and has agreed to do much more flatwork with him. They all have lessons but not weekly as it's just too expensive for 3. I teach them a bit (clearly not very wellblush)

FernandoIsFaster Tue 27-Aug-13 06:03:00

Just a thought, but what bit are they riding him in? I'm honestly not trying to be rude, but if your dd has quite heavy hands, and rides with her hands rather than her seat like a lot of children do (and which could be made worse when she is nervous in a show setting) he could be reluctant to jump if he thinks he might get socked in the mouth, especially if he is ridden in anything stronger than a snaffle.

Booboostoo Tue 27-Aug-13 07:56:29

Was he seen by a vet before the new saddle was fitted? A badly fitting saddle can cause pain which is not necessarily resolved when you change the saddle. It may be that DD2 rides a bit differently (heavier, more unbalanced?) or asks for more than DD3 and the pain flares up?

You say he was off for three weeks' training, when was that? If he needed schooling I would give all DDs time to get to grips with how to ride him like the trainer did rather than taking him to shows straight away.

Is DD3 always on the lead rein with him? This can make a huge difference as you would always be by the pony's side which would give him a lot of confidence. Does DD1 ride? What is he like with her? Perhaps he needs a more experienced child to keep his schooling up to date. As for DD2 perhaps the move from home to shows is too much, couldn't she try PC lessons, so an intermediate step as they happen away from home but there is an instructor to correct problems.

How old is the pony?

Gilbertus Tue 27-Aug-13 08:09:43

Pony is 12, ridden in a Cambridge snaffle (he likes a port as he has a very big tongue - cob x). We don't go to many shows and this was just clear round. Dd2 was really looking forward to doing the 2' jumping at her school in a month. When we first got him he would have been perfect for this, now there is no way she's doing it. Booboos, he didn't go for training, my dd1s pony is away at training camp WITH dd1. I have had a look at the saddle and honestly it is absolutely fine. What I am going to do is get a physio to have a look plus try a myler comfort snaffle on trial.

Gilbertus Tue 27-Aug-13 08:12:35

Dd3 hacks out off lead rein and was off lead rein for everything at mini camp with him. He did some tiny jumps with her and was as good as gold. She has been on the lead rein twice at shows just to ensure he goes clear!

We are 3 months into having our first pony, I know nothing about ponies or horses and DD (with hindsight) was probably not experienced enough either. However, that said, the change in her riding in that short time has been astonishing, truly amazing (he popped a 85cm course last week like it was a walk in the park), but we have had some teething issues.

Forgive my lack of horsey speak but here a few things we did wrong and right!

- he has the softest most sensitive mouth you can imagine, DD had a big chunky hard mouthed pony before this. She can't get away with even the slightest 'yank' or pull now, it's taught her to ride from her seat iyswim. We also changed his bit to a plastic covers eggbutt snaffle to help.
- He's such a good pony and will do anything you ask him but you have to ask him in the right way as he's very gentle and sensitive too, the more stressed DD got with him the more flustered he got, vicious circle. She needs to remember to be soft soft soft on his mouths and talk talk talk to him!
- initially, he jumped well, then we took him to a clear round comp in an indoor arena, where he couldn't see his pony friends from the farm (not figured this one out yet tbh, he gets quite stressed alone) and he got seriously stressed, refused every single jump, DD fell off him three times and it was a disaster. Then he started refusing everything for her as she had completely lost her confidence, was stressing with him and herself, vicious circle.
- We took everything down to a minimum and started entering very low key rallies, junior comps, 'kool to school' sessions, novice stuff that we knew the pony could pop round like a dream, took DD's mind off the size of the jump and to focus on her riding.
-the above also stopped her comparing to her hugely experienced and very competent riding friends, who are lovely and very supportive but DD wants to be like.
-My lovely and amazing friend comes with us with her 7 yo DS, she was an amazing rider in her time. Inititially she went in the arenas/fields with DD and schooled her through, initially noticing big areas to improve, then smaller and smaller, now DD goes in by herself and, like I say, he popped 85 last week no issue.
- DD looked down initially, which we corrected, then got stressed by fillers, which he refused etc etc.
-Lessons and pony club camp have helped too, loads. We haven't had specific jumping lessons but lots of flatwork ones.

Sorry, this is a bit rushed but I will consider further and post again.

My friend has gently suggested to DD that, usually the 'fault' will lie with the rider (at her level anyway) and to look carefully at how she rides him.

Gilbertus Tue 27-Aug-13 08:33:01

Instructor recommended a Waterford bit - she says great for ponies that lean (he does) and also for fat tongues.

Ehhn Tue 27-Aug-13 08:52:28

Careful with water fords - people are under the impression that they are gentle but they aren't necessarily. I was competing a mare who would rear if you tried her in a Waterford. They also become very harsh bits if you have a rider who rides from their hands rather than their seat And tbh most kids do haul themselves up by the reins a little bit... (Yours may not, but i bet when things go wrong there is an emergency yank now and then!)
Why don't you get a bit fitter to come out? Google it and you should find someone in your area like a saddle fitter who will come out with a car full of bits, book your trainer to be there and have a bit trying session. Also yy to getting teeth/back/saddle checked.
Also, previous poster who said about taking back to basics - foolproof solution for child and pony and best of all, it should fix it long term. Also maybe take focus away from learning to ride and jump... What about lots of gymkhana games, all designed to improve seat, balance and confidence without child noticing. Get them racing around, bending in and out of poles, jumping on and off, doing round the worlds etc. again, google games for ideas. There are loads! Doing the cup of water relay is great for sneakily improving seat and still position. It will put the fun back into ponies for the whole family and indulge their competitive streak!

Gilbertus Tue 27-Aug-13 09:04:36

No mobile bit fitters here.. Perhaps the dentist would advise? Think probably trial and error. The bit he has is a loose ring but straight mouthpiece. He can really lean. He went quite well in the gag they gave him at pony club (thought he was too strong xc for dd) BUT it was after that he started to refuse... Even though he is back in old bit.

I can't thank everyone enough for their help and advice and experiences - keep it coming! All my horsey friends seem so much more sorted than me... Sometimes just watching their beautiful ponies whizz round before they are packed back to the fantastic livery yard makes me a bit envy

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