Can anyone recommend some schooling exercises?

(39 Posts)
Mirage Sat 22-Dec-12 21:12:37

We've had a pony on trial for nearly 4 weeks now,but due to a combination of dark evenings and bad weather,DD2 has only been able to ride her 2-3 times a week in all that time.Today she rode in the school for the 4th time since she arrived and was a bit silly,spooking at things and yanking the reins.This un nerved DD2 who wanted one of us of walk alongside of her 'just in case'.By the end of the lesson,she was trotting her around cones and over trotting poles on her own,and was quite happy,and dealing with the yanks and spooks without turning a hair.

However,DH wasn't impressed and says that he isn't keen on the pony,too nervy,he reckons.She is,but she had been on the same yard with the same people for 4 years,so she has had a lot of change to cope with.2 instructors who've taught DD2 have said that once DD2 gets her confidence up,the pony should be perfect for her,but if DH won't buy her,that is that.I've got a rally booked at PC over the holidays,and plan to ride every day if we can,but I'm not horsey,so don't know of any exercises that DD2 can do with her to up her confidence and get the pony concentrating on her rider rather than looking for something to spook at.

We've tried riding in a circle at each corner of the school,which seemed to work well,but I don't know what else to try.I'd be really grateful for any suggestions,thank you.

CatPussRoastingOnAnOpenFire Sat 22-Dec-12 22:07:14

How about downloading some simple dressage tests from the
pc website and having a go?

Goodkingwalkingslass Sat 22-Dec-12 22:14:12

Good idea about the dressage tests, also try doing circles and varying the size so going from big, say 20m down to 10m gradually and back again. Figure of eights are good as are lots of simple changes of rein to keep the pony thinking. Lots of changes through the transitions (trot, walk, halt, walk, trot etc) are good and should help stop the pony getting too forward. Also try getting your Dd to vary the speed within a gait so slowing down her rising during rising trot to decrease the speed of the trot and doing a slower walk and then a quicker walk.

What about getting an instructor over for a few lessons?

Good luck!

CMOTDibbler Sat 22-Dec-12 22:16:30

Transitions - lots and lots of them, halt/walk/trot/canter, and direct ones too. And working on a walk/trot dressage test would help dd focus on movements that keep pony busy too.

Zazzles007 Sun 23-Dec-12 07:22:35

Has pony been moved to your stables? If so, pony might be feeling out of his/her depth and so is just reacting to being in a new environment with a new rider and a bunch of people she/he doesn't know. Horses and ponies are flight animals and any changes in their 'world' provoke the flight response. In the scheme of things, 4 weeks is not that long for pony to settle down. smile

Also how old is DD2? That way we can suggest exercises which would be appropriate for her.

And how involved are you with the pony? Are you happy learning to do stuff with the pony that DD2 might not be able to at this stage?

Hope this helps

Mirage Sun 23-Dec-12 10:34:31

Thanks for the ideas,they are great! Yes the pony has been moved from a busy livery /riding school to our private yard with only 4 other horses.She was sometimes used for lessons at the school as she was so safe.She is only 8,but used to belong to my friend who said that she ended up giving her dd so much confidence that she'll pretty much ride anything I'm sure she'll settle down given time,and we have got an open trial period so far.I just worry about dd getting attached to her and DH not wanting to buy her.

DD2 is 7 [pics of her on the pony are on my profile]. DD2 is a fairly confident rider,but had a bad experience with our last pony who bucked her off on a regular basis.However,she will ride any pony offered and rode 5 different ones at PC camp this year,so is a real trier.smile

I'm not busy workwise at present,so can do some in hand stuff if it would help,but I'm not very experienced.

We are off to ride shortly,we'll try some of these ideas and see how we go.smile

Mirage Sun 23-Dec-12 13:35:14

Oh dear.Pony bucked DD2 off today.DH now even less keen than he was before.I don't know what caused it,possibly the grass reins that I'd just put on to try and stop her putting her head down.Poor DD2 went flying and cried,but got back on again.Unfortunately it has knocked her confidence and she wanted me next to her for the rest of the time.We swapped jockeys as DD1 is bigger and stronger and managed to keep her head up,but she said it was hard work.Then both DDs rode dpony around the school bareback and ended on good note.

We do have an instructor come every week,but she can't come now until the New Year,so we are on our own until then.

Booboostoo Sun 23-Dec-12 14:02:28

I am sorry to hear it's not working out. Sounds like the pony is in high spirits. Has anything changed in his management? E.g. is he still getting a lot of turnout, little feed and in the same tack? Is it possible that he has gone from being ridden a couple of times a day in the RS to being ridden a couple of times a week? That alone could explain the extra energy. Can you lunge him before DD gets on?

Mirage Sun 23-Dec-12 17:00:16

The poor thing has had a lot of change.She had no turnout in winter where she was from Nov. to March,but I turned her out in the day until Thursday when the YO said I should keep her until the fields dry out a bit.I wasn't happy about that but had no choice as it is his yard.I'll lunge her tomorrow and see if it helps.I'm beginning to have doubts about how suitable she is myself now,as DD2 is going to struggle to keep her head up and send her forward at the same time,she is very strong.

Mirage Sun 23-Dec-12 17:02:20

Forgot to say,DD2 is a tiny 7 year old,pony is only 8.[Normally I am of the older pony being better for a young rider persuasion,but I was convinced otherwise by my friend].

marialuisa Sun 23-Dec-12 20:39:36

Mirage, if having an older, heavier child on board would be of interest give me a shout. We're braving the Boxing Day carnage with the A but otherwise free all holidays as have failed to book last minute escape to sun.

Sorry you're having teething troubles, it all sounded so positive.

Booboostoo Sun 23-Dec-12 22:01:23

It could be the lack of turnout, I know mine would go bonkers if they had to stay in. Is there no way she can be turned out in the arena to blow off a bit of steam?

I take it her tack is still the same and is well fitting because that's the no1 suspect in a lot of cases of sudden problem behaviour.

Are you confident to do the lunging? She may go bonkers on the lunge but it doesn't mean she will do the same under saddle, just make sure you keep well away from any flying hoofs (hat and gloves are very sensible precautions when lunging).

DolomitesDonkey Mon 24-Dec-12 06:18:54

Yes, give her a bit of turn out - even if it's only 20 minutes in the arena whilst you're getting ready/having a coffee.

We don't get nervous when we're busy - so I'd second the dressage tests bit. If she's sitting there wondering if she's going to turn left or right at A then she's going to be worrying. If however, you are stood at X yelling instructions like some 1970's riding instructor right out of a Thelwell book then neither her nor pony will have time to get nervous/piss about/get bored!

Thermal socks, a printed dressage test (or 6) and get shouting! Doesn't matter if she screws up each and every move - point is, she needs her confidence and for me at least, when I'm busy doing something I'm not worrying about getting it wrong/nerves building up.

I SAID 10 METRE CIRCLE AT B!

Zazzles007 Mon 24-Dec-12 06:51:02

Hahaha Dolomites, that is so true! As a kid, I was mostly more afraid of my very militaristic pony club instructors than I was of the horse I was riding! grin

Mirage Mon 24-Dec-12 20:08:03

Thank you all.I turned her out into the school whilst I mucked out and carted hay about and she had a buck and a gallop about in the rain.I'm not used to ponies being in,dpony lives out all year round.I free schooled her for a bit and she was easy to command,but went around with her nose touching the ground.Evidently it is a long term habit if she does it when not ridden too.confused
marialuisa thank you,that is a kind offer,but at the end of the day DD2 is going to have to ride her and she is a clever pony,she knows when she can put her head down and get away with it.DH and I have decided that she isn't right for us and after the holidays I'll speak to her owner about her going back.Her spookiness,strength and nose to the ground way of going aren't right for DD2.I've also got to be hard hearted and think about what would happen when we had to sell her on,very strong little ponies aren't easy to rehome as tiny riders can't cope with them.I've heard on the grapevine that my friend who owned her several years ago struggled to sell her and had to loan her to her current owners first.

I'm feeling a bit defeated about the pony finding business now.sad

mrslaughan Mon 24-Dec-12 21:12:28

What about the pony that the guy you meet at the hunt had - worth a try?

Booboostoo Mon 24-Dec-12 21:57:57

I know you have been struggling with this pony search for a while now, so perhaps it's worth a radical re-think. Is it possible that DD2 might benefit from some more riding lessons for the time being and putting the pony hunt on hold for a while? If she develops a bit more core stability she may find it easier to ride a wider range of ponies.

Or perhaps keeping the pony at an RS so it can be on working livery? That option works well for some ponies, they get a lot of work with the RS so they are not so energetic with their owners, DD2 can join in lessons where the pony is likely to be more well behaved following others and if the pony misbehaves the instructor can immediately swap riders so that the pony doesn't get into bad habits.

(free schooling/lunging with the nose on the ground doesn't really correspond to snatching the reins when ridden so don't let that in itself put you off. The first is an attempt by the pony to stretch his necka nd back muscles and it should be encouraged as long as he's not on the forehand. The second is a minor but annoying cheekiness many ponies are prone to and is fixed by a more stable rider maintaining their position and sending the pony on)

Mirage Tue 25-Dec-12 22:28:57

Thank Booboostoo.The dds already have a lesson every week with the chief instructor from the local PC .I've been told by the instructors and other parents that she is a confident rider with an excellent seat,and she has happily ridden ponies that others have termed 'difficult'.We can't keep a pony at a RS because the nearest one is a 14 mile round trip and we have dpony at home.If we kept another pony on livery we wouldn't be able to ride dpony and she is used to being ridden every day.DD2 has been asked to ride for producers before now and we've had to decline because of the distance and it meaning that we'd have no time for riding dpony.

I think part of the problem finding a decent pony is that we aren't on a livery yard near or with other people,so don't get to hear about ponies coming up for loan or sale.People also don't want them to move yards.My friend has a pony that needs a rider and DD2 has ridden her before,but it is a 20 mile trip away,which is a pain.She can't move to us because her dd still rides her sometimes.I think for the time being I'll give the pony hunting a rest,my friend has a lovely 12.2 that she says her dd will outgrow this year and DD2 has ridden him a fair bit in the past.We have first refusal apparently when he goes out on loan.DD2 can carry on sharing dpony for a while longer.

With regard to the hunting pony,I'd like to try him again,but I know someone else is going to see him when it dries up [if it ever does].It doesn't help that I'm crap at picking them,given a choice,I'll pick the wrong one.sad

Booboostoo Wed 26-Dec-12 09:18:26

Ah don't be too hard on yourself! Picking the right pony is as much a matter of luck as it is anything else. If you think that we pick them on the basis of a one hour visit, it's a miracle any partnerships are formed at all!

Can DD2 ride dpony at all? If she can and also get the odd lesson at the RC it would be worth putting the search on hold till spring when more ponies are likely to come on the market.

How did the lunging go? Or have you given up on current trial pony?

Mirage Wed 26-Dec-12 10:45:48

Thank you.Yes DD2 can ride dpony with no problems at all,as she was originally bought for them to share.She is 13h so DD1 has always got the best out of her as her legs are longer! They have ridden her almost every day for the past 18 months so know her very well indeed.DH and I were saying last night how lucky we were to find her,as she was the 3rd pony we saw and is absolutely perfect for us,never given us a moments worry under the saddle.Although,apparently she had a bad reputation for being naughty in the past.grin We adore her and she has a home for life with us.

I have lunged Millie this morning and we'll ride later.We aren't going to keep her,but I don't want to dump her back on her owner between Christmas and New Year,so will speak to them and sort out her going back after then.

Waiting until spring sounds a good idea to me.This winter has been utterly dreadful so far and having a pony stabled has meant so much work [wonderful dpony refuses to be stabled!]

Thanks for your advice and input.DH has mentally switched off pony stuff now and I've no one to bounce ideas off.

marialuisa Wed 26-Dec-12 13:57:22

Sorry it's not worked out sad. It may be worth getting in touch with the producers that asked DD2 to ride, they should have a few contacts and know of ponies that are coming up in the spring.

50BalesOfHay Wed 26-Dec-12 16:14:21

Why not give dd2 some sessions on the lunge? Just get her to work on up and down transitions, and it might bring her confidence back.

50BalesOfHay Wed 26-Dec-12 16:27:53

There's a nice little 11.2 mare on the QHPC website that I've seen around at shows and always liked. Have PM'd you

Mirage Thu 27-Dec-12 20:54:57

I mentioned that mare to DD2,and she also told me that it had a hole in it's hoof,in addition to the other stuff.It is funny how adverts are worded,there was one on Horsemart and the pony sounds cracking.Then I realised which pony it is,as a friend tried it.It has been for sale since August & keeps going on trial and coming back.I'm not sure what the issue is but there definitely is one,the price has dropped from £4k to £1750.

We hacked out today in the freezing rain,DD2 refuses to go off the lead rein now,sad and she has never really been on the l/r before.She asked if she could do some jumping on dpony,but the school was too waterlogged.I am not enjoying horse ownership ATM,I'd been looking forward to lots of lovely hacking over the fields and trying out the new jumps my dad has built,but it is to wet and dangerous to try.

CatPussRoastingOnAnOpenFire Sat 29-Dec-12 03:41:30

You arent alone. This weather is killing us here!
Maybe you are expecting too much too soon? there are bound to be teething problems. My DD was terrible for regressing when she got a new pony. Issues that had been solved ages ago suddenly reared up again no pun intended
and it always took some while to sort things out.

Stinkyminkymoo Sun 30-Dec-12 13:04:16

I have a stupidly spooky horse who can be a right knobber but I love him! I bought a book called 101 schooling exercises which helped both me and DHorse to focus & concentrate and have our schooling sessions a purpose too.

I hope you keep on with this pony, it's worth remembering that if he's new he might just be trying it on to see what he can get away with so do persevere! Xx

Stinkyminkymoo Sun 30-Dec-12 13:12:15

Sorry, just read the rest of the thread. I'm sorry your dd isn't getting in with the pony but did want to reiterate what a poster up thread said about the pony putting her nose to the ground, this is stretching over her back and does feel good for her.

I hope you find a suitable pony soon smile

Mirage Sun 30-Dec-12 18:53:58

Thank you all.We took both ponies to a PC rally today,and apart from a little buck when cantering,she behaved perfectly.She seem so much more relaxed and happy than I've seen her so far,no spooking or flinging her head about.I'm wondering if she was happy to be back in a RS environment,after all it is all she has ever known.Perhaps she finds a private home not as structured as a RS /Livery yard?

I was very proud of DD2,she was very brave and trotted,cantered and jumped very nicely on her own,but she just hasn't gelled with Millie.If she wanted to keep her and there was just one issue,we'd have worked to overcome it,I know it took them a good 5 months of riding every day to really get to grips with dpony and get the best out of her.

Oh well,back to pony hunting,I really don't enjoy it at all.

Mirage Sun 30-Dec-12 21:53:02

Oh my! A friend has just texted me to say that a pony we had on trial a year ago and who threw 3 riders off in one week,is up for sale again,described as a 'super safe child's pony'.He was very distinctive looking and it is definitely him,I even recognised his fancy rug.I had offered £600 for him subject to trial,he is now up for £1500.Wait until I tell the dds!

Zazzles007 Sun 30-Dec-12 22:26:44

Mirage thanks for your updates. I can see that buying a child's pony is even more of a minefield than buying a horse for an adult! confused

I would agree that if your DD2 has not gelled with pony, and possibly may not like her all that much, then it is time to return pony and continue with your pony hunting. Be assured that you are teaching your DD's some great lessons in perseverance, exploring different solutions for a problem and then saying no when those solutions are not viable.

Let us know how you get on smile

Booboostoo Mon 31-Dec-12 07:42:26

Just to add another perspective here...you got the new pony mid-winter and were forced to keep her in 24/7 during the rain. These are about the worst circumstances you could have a new pony in (of course none of it your fault, everyone is struggling this winter), so now you have seen the worst the pony can be. All ponies have naughty/difficult times but you usually don't find out about them until later and what can seem like a deal breaker in a trial, may just be laughed off in a pony you've had for a year.

Is it possible to keep her a bit longer, with daily turnout and a bit of lunging (right before DD2 gets on every time) to see what she's like on good days?

Mirage Tue 01-Jan-13 17:07:14

She has gone back today.DD2 was completely unbothered about her going.confused We are going to try a PC instructors pony tomorrow,personally I think it'll be too good for what we want at the minute,but she says she'll assess DD2's riding ability while we are there,which will be very useful.I have been offered 6 ponies since Sunday,so it certainly is a buyers market at the minute.

We saw the little hunting pony that we tried,out hunting today,in a snaffle and perfectly behaved.I had a chat to the owner and said we'll come back and try him again.The dds both rode good old dpony today in the school,she is such a good old girl,not everyone's cup of tea,but we all love her and I can trust her not to be silly.DD1 is taking her out hunting on Friday with strict instructions that she has to stay by me,any galloping off and she'll be sent straight home.

I have an added complication now,that dpony has to be off her fields by the end of the month,as part of the lease conditions,until 1st April.She won't be stabled so I have arranged for her to go to my dad's farm down the road for the 8 weeks.However,there are no stables there,so any pony that may arrive before April,will have to live out too.I can't have one at home and one a mile away,they'd never get ridden before it got dark and I'd be running myself ragged.Why can't life be simple?

Booboostoo Tue 01-Jan-13 19:30:31

Oh well at least DD2 was not upset the pony left!

Maybe wait 8 weeks before getting a new pony? Getting a new pony and not giving it enough work in the middle of the winter is going to cause trouble.

CatPussRoastingOnAnOpenFire Tue 01-Jan-13 20:26:48

Can I say something? Without starting a riot? blush
I think... myself... that you are over thinking the whole thing. You have tried how many ponies? 20, 30? To have tried that many ponies, and not found one that remotely suits, you are searching for something that doesn't exist. If you found an absolutely perfect pony, I'd lay money on your DD being bored of it in six months. And I'm not being a cow here, we have had many many ponies and riders through our yard, and none of them were perfect. But, they all had potential, and just needed time, patience and effort to be very nice.
I'm not saying that you need a rearer, or a bolter, but something that needs a little bit of work won't harm anybody, and will challenge your DD. Mine has been on a complete roller coaster ride in the last eight years.
She has always been given something the right basic shape, and had to live with it. I am a terrible worrier, and DD has at times often been totally wet, and we have had tears, tantrums, falls and bumps, I've cried, she has cried... But she has conquered every one. Sometimes its taken months, but she gets there in the end. Having to work through small problems and work at her pony will only make your daughter stronger as a rider.

50BalesOfHay Tue 01-Jan-13 22:06:01

Sorry Mirage, have been wanting to say what Catpuss said. GD has a very, very, (and another very) challenging horse on loan at the minute. She cries sometimes. She'll be a better rider for it. You have to let them fall off. That's how they learn. (That and a billion lessons: GD had 3 a week when we first got Ben) Otherwise put her back on a lead rein pony: if she's tiny and 7 then she'll struggle anyway. Wind it back a bit, let her get her seat, there is no perfect pony, and if you find one you have to maintain it.

7 is young (especially if she's tiny) get her more lessons, let her muck about on dpony, and think again next year.

Sounds harsh, but 20+ ponies is way too much

DolomitesDonkey Wed 02-Jan-13 07:43:39

WTS.

DolomitesDonkey Wed 02-Jan-13 07:51:24

Eeep, don't want to sound like a nodding dog. Have thought a little bit about what I'd like to articulate. I'm not sure how many ponies you've tried recently or what the system has been, but if she's been trying a new pony every 2 weeks for an hour and at the end of the hour mummy says "no way", then I think you're going to inadvertently upset her confidence too.

I think sooner or later you're going to just have to bite the bullet and get on with it. Read a Thelwell book or 6 to get the picture. wink

CatPussRoastingOnAnOpenFire Thu 03-Jan-13 20:52:28

I hope I didn't offend Mirage with my post. That wasn't my intention.

Booboostoo Fri 18-Jan-13 17:45:00

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now