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.

Yes, we bought our pony primarily for gymkhana, even though he has a jumping background. Again, the less stressed she is when she introduces him to new games, the more he just takes all the new equipment in his stride (he had never done gymkhana before). Watching her vault on him is amazing smile

It also helps when she sees others hop on him and make him do stuff she finds hard, my friend points out why they can do this and she listens and takes it on board.

I just wonder if your DD is slightly stressed with the situation and that's transferring to the pony.

I also figure pony's can be naughty! Our friends at the farm specifically buy 'challenging' ones for pennies (almost!), then working with them to make them into fab jumpers or games ponies. Two weeks ago, we took one of their mares to a jumping course, she reared and reared and reared and refused. Our friends DD (who is 11) just laughed, stayed on her and figured how to get her over the jumps and made her do half the course. But that takes guts and experience smile

Problem is, my DD thinks she needs to be like that, she can't - she's only ridden properly for less than a year (although hacked all her life). When she's with the girls, whose ponies a fast and furious, you can she her trying to keep up and then the stress keeps in. When we are out with our other friend, just with her DS and his pony, my DD and consequently the pony are completely different.

Apologies for the typos previously, I was writing and dashing!

Oh - and we don't pay livery as it's a family farm but we have to do everything, the whole shebang. DD got top marks for stable management and tack cleaning at PC camp, some of her friends with 'amazing' ponies didn't even know how to muck out. I am proud of DD for realising the work load she was taking on when we got the pony.

dappleton Tue 27-Aug-13 10:36:45

Don't give up Gilbertus, but don't get upset with the pony - I haven't read through all the advice that you've been given but I think it may be worth having your DD's instructor come and watch her jump when you go to a show - it's likely to be something she's doing when under pressure that she perhaps doesn't do at home.
Does the pony do the same with other riders?
Having said that perhaps the pony just doesn't want to do it anymore. I had a pony that used to refuse everything and I always got blamed - that was until a PC instructor got on her and couldn't do any better.
Does it bother your daughter? Perhaps try something different with the pony - dressage???

FernandoIsFaster Tue 27-Aug-13 10:50:03

If he started to refuse after going jumping in the gag, it may be that he has had a few unwelcome yanks in the mouth and has now become a little unforgiving with your dd when out jumping.

I would put him back in a snaffle for now and do lots of flat work to get dd riding from her seat, and perhaps get someone else to jump him for a few sessions to build his confidence back up.

It does sound like he has lost trust in your dd, so lots of ground work might help too to build the relationship.

Gilbertus Tue 27-Aug-13 11:47:34

Yes we are doing lots of flatwork. Dd2 rode him for about 20 minutes in the 'school' (dressage markers in the paddock) and he was ok if a bit lazy, ears back, looking grumpy. She jumped him after but just 6 times over a low grid of cross poles. He was fine. Then dd3 got on. He went beautifully in the school, did the c level dressage test nicely then jumped everything with ears pricked and forward! On the surface dd2 is a better rider but he genuinely seems to like dd3, he is very honest and genuine with her. This could be awkward...

Booboostoo Tue 27-Aug-13 12:56:18

The current saddle may well fit, but if the previous one didn't fit he could still be in pain. Changing the saddle was of course the right thing to do but it doesn't necessarily reverse the damage done.

No reputable physio would see a horse without a vet's say so (it's in fact illegal to do so), so you are better off calling the vet in the first place.

If he has his ears back and he is not moving forward freely while ridden he's not just being grumpy he could well be in pain. If DD2 is heavier or rides more heavily than DD3 that could explain the difference in his behaviour.

Gilbertus Tue 27-Aug-13 13:01:09

She's not heavier, well hardly. They are almost the same size, dd2 is tony and dd3is tall. The only difference is that dd2 is high maintenance, stress and panicky and dd3 is much more gung ho but calm

Gilbertus Tue 27-Aug-13 14:20:46

*tiny grin

Booboostoo Tue 27-Aug-13 14:21:25

Does DD2 move around in the saddle a lot? The lack of balance could be a major factor.

Floralnomad Tue 27-Aug-13 16:20:24

Can your middle daughter ride the eldest ones pony ? I know you say its supposed to be her pony but the bottom line is you have 3 children and 2 ponies so no one really should 'own' anything they should all be shared ,if that's possible . Unless you intend to get a third . You may be right and this pony just doesn't like your daughters style and it may give her more confidence if she could get on with the other pony . It must be quite sad for her seeing that the pony works well for the little sister .

Gilbertus Tue 27-Aug-13 16:34:10

I know I should get another pony.. But I just can't afford three... And we'd have to get a lorry and we have nowhere to park it... Hold on! I was on the verge of giving up yesterday, now I am considering another!

Dd2 LOVES this pony. She thinks the world of him. It's quite heart breaking that it doesn't seem to be reciprocated

bronya Tue 27-Aug-13 17:18:09

If DD2 is stressy and panicky, then that will affect the pony. If she's worrying about a jump or just stressy all round, she will feel stiff and smell of fear. That will at the very least distract the pony. She needs something that is so laid back it doesn't care, and it sounds like this pony is too sensitive for her. With the confident, more happy go lucky rider of DD3, a clear round is no problem!

Gilbertus Tue 27-Aug-13 17:32:13

Yes I think he is very sensitive. Because he is a cob x, and more of a kick on than a pull, I think we made the mistake of thinking that he was a bit brainless and therefore ideal for novice, keen, panicky dd2. But he has a really strong personality and responds to patience and calm. He doesn't like being smacked either as she gave him a whack in the clear round and did he buck!

Mirage Tue 27-Aug-13 19:28:48

You have my sympathy,DD1 and dpony sometimes get in a vicious circle like this. DD1 thinks dpony will refuse and so doesn't kick on,dpony who is nobody's fool,picks up on the hesitation and then does refuse.At home and in lessons they fly around the field,jumping everything,but at shows and sometimes PC rallies,DD1 often ends up in tears because dpony has decided that she just isn't going to play.

At the last show,DD1 had a horrid time in the 2ft show jumping,dpony refused one jump about 3 times.DD1 left the ring in tears,DD2 jumped on dpony and got clear until the last jump,which Dpony refused.However DD2 said it was her fault as she hadn't gone in at the right angle.Poor DD1 had to watch her sister,who had only ridden dpony 2 times in the past 6 months do far better than she did.

Can your DD ride your other pony for a while,so they have a break from each other?

What is he like ridden bareback? That might point to a saddle problem or not.

Dpony reacts well to being whizzed up,or growled at before a jump.Would that help?

Can you set up some grids? We set up a row,I stand at the end holding up say,3 fingers and the DDs have to jump down the grid and tell me how many fingers I'm holding up.Stops them from looking down,they look over the jump,pony jumps over the jump,look down,pony gets message to stop.

DD1 swapped ponies with a friend at a rally today,and it was a real confidence booster for them both.

I hope that you can sort things out.It is so frustrating.

Mirage Tue 27-Aug-13 19:31:02

Just saw that he bucked when whacked.Dpony does that and actually bucked the fence she was refusing down,such was her outrage.

If you are near me you could come and ride with us!

mrslaughan Tue 27-Aug-13 20:03:48

Two things I would be concentrating on is lessons, as money allows, and seeing if you could find a small adult do ride him and do some schooling with him. (After having back and teeth checked)
After3 ponies I think it is probably not the pony, but the riding.....which is not surprising , they are still very early on in there "careers" .

Forget about you friends and focus on your girls riding, getting there flatwork going well will help there jumping.

Tbh your husbands comment did irritate me - these are ponies - not machines, if he wants your daughters to just be able to get on and go, maybe they should take up mountain biking?

Littlebigbum Tue 27-Aug-13 21:01:02

Don't worry about others

Gilbertus Tue 27-Aug-13 21:37:18

Thanks Mirage. So frustrating - especially as he's a beautiful boy and has a lovely jump. Would be ideal for working hunter (locally). Really hope we can work through it. I have told her not to look down when jumping. He jumps beautifully at home which in a way is worse as it lulls you into a false sense of security. Other pony is away at the moment so probably not helping.

Husbands comment is perfectly valid in my eyes especially as we certainly don't jump on them and go... Our whole life is geared around our ponies - how many 13 year olds do you know who get up at 6am rain or snow to look after them!

Gilbertus Tue 27-Aug-13 21:40:21

Well I say three ponies that refuse - first was a serial refuser, second is dd1s pony and they are away at the moment having one to one with an Olympic sj coach (a random happy accident and a long story but we aren't paying for it and she has texted me to say they now jump long technical courses of 3'6 grin) and third is this boy.

Mirage Wed 28-Aug-13 11:21:16

Our instructor says the same as your husband.She says that they have a very good life,doing what they like in their field 23 hours a day,so asking them to co operate for 1 hour or so a day is not a big ask.

bronya Wed 28-Aug-13 13:53:43

Ponies are not people. They'll give a fair bit, but a show is a stressful environment for them too - v exciting, full of new experiences, and other horses etc. If DD2 does well at home yet badly at a show, then it's likely to be show nerves - causing her to look down, get nervous, ride stiffly and not in balance as well as she does at home (where there's no pressure). Could you go back to tiddly classes and build up from there again? Or try dressage with DD2? Perhaps jumping just isn't her thing at shows?

mrslaughan Wed 28-Aug-13 20:32:00

Look - I can see what your saying...but to be brutal you can look after a horse or pony like a king, but not be able to ride well enough to be able to do what you want to do.......that why many of us keep on doing lessons so we continue to improve.

I also understand where you are coming from, I have just given up my share as she was not going to help me reach my riding goals, .....now if I could ride like my instructor, I would be probably able to school her, to be able to get her going better (but to be clear she wouldn't have been able to reach my instructors goals)....but as discussed on here I need a school master mistress, and one with a forgiving temperament......

I think you said somewhere that this pony is 5? Maybe she/he is just too young and inexperienced.....

Or it is a matter that you dd can jump him like a dream at home, but at shows she can't it is probably a matter of nerves affecting both of them....maybe some fun games and dressage is a better idea, for them to develope their relationship, and also work out how to deal with their show nerves, in a less pressured environment than jumping.

Ehhn Wed 28-Aug-13 20:36:52

Ok so straight bar not great for a leaner... Try a double jointed bit eg a French link. Maybe an egg butt or hanging snaffle with a peanut (little bobble in it ie makes it double jointed). Having said that, kimblewicks are good for strong ponies. It concerns me that he began refusing after having a gag in. Suggests that your daughter may have been too harsh wit her hands. It effectively works like a lever on their poll/neck/jaw and it can be quite painful if he is tugged before a fence. Also quite difficult for them to jump comfortably from that position.

Have you tried loose schooling or jumping pony on a lunge? Could help assess pain issues if he is unwilling or jumps incorrectly. May also give him his confidence back should that be an issue.

Gilbertus Wed 28-Aug-13 21:31:55

Have my friend (an equine physio) coming to see him next week to assess him. He can't do enough for dd3 though. Literally point and shoot. Surely if he was in pain he wouldn't be like that.

I think competition nerves on both sides. Loads of lessons then perhaps clear round jumping somewhere

It sounds to me like the child is the issue not the pony. My DD was the same. She just couldn't get round a course of jumps. She was nervous and just never thought 'over'!
In my long and chequered experience, the most important lesson that I have learned is that you get back from a horse exactly what you put in. They rarely do something that you haven't told them or allowed them to do.
Im not saying that your child is doing anything wrong, but it may be that she is unable to tell him what she wants, or that she is giving him the wrong signals.
Don't give up, just take her back a step or two, get her some lessons on this pony and just give them time. It'll come. Like ponies, every child is different, and we all learn at different rate.
A Waterford is a good suggestion, and isn't so bad, I would far rather that than a gag! No pony of mine will EVER wear a gag, and I would personally flatten anyone who even suggested it!

SlowlorisIncognito Sat 31-Aug-13 19:23:20

I really think your DD2 sounds like she would benefit from having her instructor watch her at shows, and maybe have some jumping lessons to help rebuild her confidence. It may be she rides very differently at shows- is she more defensive or more tense?

I do think you should be getting the back and saddle checked too. Don't forget ponies do change shape over the summer, so a saddle that fitted well a few months ago may not fit quite so well now. It may also be that the saddle needs to be reflocked. It might also be worth getting his teeth checked. Sudden changes in behaviour are often due to pain and/or anticipated pain.

If the pony is only five, it might just be that he is still fairly green. It sounds like the showground environement may have stressed him out a bit too much. Could your older daughter, or another more experienced rider, take him out to some shows to get him a bit more "match practise"?

I don't think it's helpful to think of ponies as naughty, as to me this implies malice. It may be that he's not a good fit for your DD2, and what she wants to do, though. I do think it's hard to find a pony that's a saint on the leadrein, and is also happy to jump around a course independently. They do exist, of course, but you may have to accept he is not capable of doing both jobs. If this is the case, you could try getting a lead rein sharer for this pony, and paying for your DD to share another pony or she could share with her sister.

I think it's always going to be hard having two ponies for three children at very different riding abilities.

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