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

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

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Fri 30-Aug-13 21:55:38

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.

Gilbertus Tue 03-Sep-13 21:39:12

Physio came out yesterday and massaged away very tight swollen muscles in his back. She said our saddle fitted really well and trauma must have occurred with previous owner (he was sold with very badly fitting saddle). He's off jumping for a week and we'll see how he goes after that.

Littlebigbum Tue 03-Sep-13 22:05:58

Sounds like there is hope then

mrslaughan Tue 03-Sep-13 22:07:21

Great gilbertus - well not great that your dpony has a sore back - but that you may be getting to the bottom of it.
Just a word of warning - it may take a little bit to solve that problem - the share I had taken on, had been ridden along time in a badly fitted saddle - she got a new one, became very sore, I paid for her to see an oesteopath - who treated her 3 times, which resolved the soreness , but because she had been ridden a poorly fitted saddle, she had developed real weakness down one side, and this is an ongoing issue, that really isn't resolved still. Hopefully because your pony is young (and dmare a lot older) it will be faster to resolve.
Did the physio suggest lunging?

Gilbertus Wed 04-Sep-13 04:42:38

No she didn't suggest lunging. Lots of carrot stretches and gently stretching front legs/shoulders before riding. She's back in 6 weeks. She's a fab physio and I trust her.

He's 11,not sure where the 5 year old thing came from!

mrslaughan Wed 04-Sep-13 07:02:54

Oh - sorry about jumping on the 5 year old band wagon!
- well the carrot stretches sound good, it's always positive when they leave you with a "prescription" of ongoing treatment.

MrsNouveauRichards Wed 04-Sep-13 07:34:20

I'm sorry to hear you are having a stressful time.

For what it is worth, I think perhaps you should work on your dd2. What does she like doing with the pony? If she gets worked up quite easily, try to find some calming techniques. Rather than a ride, go for a picnic ride, have a best turned out competition at home, ground work (her leading) with poles and things, handy pony courses put up in the paddock.

Lots of people I see with ponies now, especially if they are the first ponies in a family can get treated more like mini sport horses, everything precise, lots of tiptoeing around them.

One family I know, the husband got quite fed up with the ponies, but that is because the ponies took over, there were no days out because the pony at to be fed at x time precisely, only 30 mins of exercise etc...

What I'm trying to say is that ponies are hardy, they can be dragged out of s field and ridden all day, as long as there is a bit of understanding and give and take.

Im sure it is just a blip, I can think back on some truly horrendous shows!

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