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It will get better, won't it?

(9 Posts)
olderyetwider Thu 22-Sep-11 14:17:32

GD's getting a bit down about her new pony. She's very sweet natured, willing to learn and sensible (pony, that is), but a bit green (she's 8) She doesn't do anything terrible but pulls a bit when we ride out. Basically it's because she's not yet soft and working through her back, so her head carriage is a bit high which means she's above the bit. We're doing loads of schooling and lungeing (long and low, getting her to relax)

GD wants to put her in a stronger bit to ride out (currently loose ring french snaffle) as she's fed up with being pulled around. I want her to ride much more with seat and legs and much less with hands as I think she's fighting the pony. If we go stronger on the bit this will only make things worse, as pony will fight more. It will only get better when GD stops fighting her, in my view.

The problem I'm having is that GD is perfectly capable of working through it, she is a good enough rider, but is struggling with keeping going through the tough times. It results in her getting whingey with the pony, which just winds them both up. I keep saying 'calm and determined', but it's getting on my nerves now.

I think some of it is that she's finding it hard to let go of riding her old pony, who she's had a fantastic partnership with, and who younger sharer is getting on fantastically with. He was fun, new pony is hard work, but will be very rewarding when she gets it. I'm planning loads of Pony Club over the next few months, maybe this will help.

Feel better for a moan!

Pixel Thu 22-Sep-11 19:03:35

Hmm, it's a difficult one. Is it worth letting her try a stronger bit with strict instructions that you want to see her riding properly with it or you will take it away? The reason I say that is because I've been struggling with dhorse for ages as he was so strong and I didn't want to put him in a stronger bit because I knew that my nervous riding was the cause of a lot of it. However I've now caved in and put him in a pelham with immediate results. The thing is it has made me ride him better, because he responds to the bit I'm very conscious of keeping my hands light even when I get nervous, plus I'm able to use my legs (and seat instead of perching in terror grin) as I know I should because I'm not so nervous of him carting me off. It has helped to break the vicious circle and I wish I'd done it ages ago for both our sakes.
If your GD is feeling a bit nervous then it will be hard for her to stop fighting the pony. When you have to change from an 'easy' pony to a more difficult one it can dent your confidence because you can't help thinking that you are not a good rider after all. However, you know her a lot better than me and as you say she is going to pony club so might be better to stick it out. Like I say, difficult!

Pixel Thu 22-Sep-11 19:05:16

In fact I don't know her at all, doh! blush

marialuisa Thu 22-Sep-11 19:24:38

Hello-if you look back towards May I posted seriously contemplating selling dpony-I'm now contemplating having another baby just so we don't have to sell him grin

It's taken a good 9 months to get to the point we're at now and it's involved broken bones, screaming fits (me and DDblush) and £££. Could you get some lessons for your Gd from someone she likes who can handily pop on dpony and show her what she needs to do to rather than just instruct frm th floor? That made a big difference to DD and helped break tense kid-tense pony cycles that they would get into.

We also found that just hanging out together in the field and stable really helped as they have now formed a fab bond. Having a young pony ishard for kids,esp when they're used to thepony looking out for them and suddenly they have to look out for the pony! Could witter on for ages but honestly if you believ the pony is right it will come. DD has learnt so much (not just about ridng!) through all this and she commented that every rosette means so much more now.

BTW-saw your young sharer on Monday and she was so thrilled with Sunday's outing!

Saggyoldclothcatpuss Thu 22-Sep-11 21:02:00

I'd be very reluctant to bit up. Maybe from a link to a single joint, or some other tiny step, but it's much more about rider than pony. My dd was having a terrible time with her pony, until last autumn. She just couldn't Get her under control, and everything ended in a battle of wits and frustration. We moved her to a yard where she had a friend, and they spent all last winter just mooching about having casual lessons, and playing about. By spring she was miles better. I'd not be letting her hack out for a while, keep her In the school and give her lots of lessons and encouragement. Get out trot poles, little jumps, teach her dressage, anything to make it fun to learn.
I explained to dd that it was not really wrong to penalise the pony with a stronger bit, when the problems were due to Dds riding.better to learn a better seat.

olderyetwider Fri 23-Sep-11 08:34:30

Thanks all, you're all right. Gd has lessons with a great instructor at the yard, who is also doing schooling sessions with the pony, and it's going reallly well in the school, and was fine hacking out. She was enjoying that the pony's forward going. She expected a bit too much of new pony at a show on sunday (we just took her for experience but I think gd secretly hoped to do well) and it's knocked her confidence in her ability. I think a break over the weekend, I'll ride new pony and GD is away anyway.

I might try Saggy's suggestion, I've got a single joint snaffle in pony's size, and it might just break the cycle, I'm pretty sure it's psychological/emotional with GD, so that may just boost her confidence and give a sense of new beginnings on Monday.

marialuisa, thanks for reminding me about your struggles, it's good to remember it does get better! I was so proud of old pony on Sunday! Double clear in 4 classes, and a third place for sharer on her first time out was fantastic! He's a super-kind little superstar, a real confidence giver. I think he's got a great new partner.

I think that letting go is part of what GD is working through at the minute. Maybe she should ride him a bit for fun. I've been wanting her to stop riding Ben as her legs are a bit long on him, so not in the right place, so she's compensating which is affecting her leg position on new pony, when what's really needed is long strong legs and a deep seat. Maybe a bit of compromise will help keep some fun in things.

Thanks for your support, it helps to keep perspective

dappleton Fri 23-Sep-11 09:59:54

Hi older, I had a pony that was pretty strong when I was a child - I was never allowed to change her bit because she was safe and willing but just 'a bit strong' I had to learn to improve my riding and it caused a lot of frustration at the time (and a severe lack of rosettes!) - but now, looking back, I couldn't be more thankful to that pony, she taught me to actually ride rather than just sit!
Stick with it, sounds like you're doing a great job, your GD will thank you and Dpony one day!

Pissfarterleech Sat 24-Sep-11 19:27:46

My mare is very strong and I ride her in a hanging cheek. I have never gone for a stronger bit because I know it's my riding that is the key.
When I first had her if I pulled, she pulled stronger.
Now, we are winning some local dressage novice and she's so good off the leg that I can ride her on the flat on the buckle end, just about!

Now jumping, that's a whole different kettle of fish!

olderyetwider Sat 01-Oct-11 15:11:59

GD has ridden out across open fields in the french link with just me, and new pony was a star. I suspect that going out in a foursome has just been a bit exciting. back to basics!

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