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Can't sell Problem Pony

(89 Posts)
childrensjewelleryco Sat 02-Jul-16 23:13:31

We recently bought our daughter a "Mothers dream" bombproof first pony with no vices.
To cut a long story short, it turns out she is the total opposite.

She is fine on the lead rein, but off the lead rein she will buck when asked to trot, and is super sensitive to leg aids. She spooks easily too.

We tracked down an old owner of hers using her passport, who says this is a very long standing behavioral problem with her (she's 13) and her back, teeth, saddle have been checked. They couldn't cope with her and put her out on loan many times.
We have also discovered she has sweet itch. We have been totally done over. The seller doesn't want to know and won't answer our calls or letters.
From doing a bit of digging around it seems we are her 5th home since November 2014!!
I have been trying to sell her as a lead rein only pony or a companion as my conscience won;t allow me to put another child at risk (she's only 12hh). But I have not even had one inquiry. I have contacted several different rescue shelters, and riding schools and nobody wants to know.
I'm really at a loss, to know what to do with her now. We can't afford to keep her as a pet or get her re-schooled.
Any ideas would be appreciated

Mrsraypurchase Sun 03-Jul-16 07:20:38

have you advertised her on the horses 4 homes ( think it's called that) website?

bonzo77 Sun 03-Jul-16 07:28:30

Sounds drastic but it'd consider having her PTS. If she's dangerous and no one will commit to being a forever home for her then her future is bleak. You'll get peanuts for her so it's not even a financial decision. It becomes a welfare situation.

froubylou Sun 03-Jul-16 07:35:48

Has she been schooled properly to go off the lead? Many small ponies are broken in to do lr. Then when asked to go off the lead completely lose the plot. Or they are schooled off lead by an older child or small adult so just don't understand that pony club kicks don't mean gallop off, they mean walk on!

I would be tempted to send her for some schooling to someone who has a competent child jockey. Bucking at asked to do something she isn't sure of and spooking aren't massive problems to be honest. And the sweet itch is usually easily controlled by a decent rug.

nuttymango Sun 03-Jul-16 07:46:07

I'd go for a pony school too, no way would I consider PTS.

Oliviaerinpope Sun 03-Jul-16 07:56:43

I would seek legal advice - you have facts and information from previous owners.

childrensjewelleryco Sun 03-Jul-16 12:37:27

Hello thanks for the advice. We have spoken to a solicitor who advises us we would have a fairly good case. However they want £250+VAT and court fees to pursue it and those expenses can't be claimed back even if we win. As is stands we are already £1,400 down on buying the pony let alone all the tack, fencing, land rental costs etc.
We just can't afford to throw good money after bad, knowing the person we bought her off will not pay even if found guilty.
The same applies to re-schooling her, we just can't afford to. Plus. People who are far more horsey than us have owned and failed with her.
Feel totally stuck at the moment.

Juststopit Sun 03-Jul-16 12:49:19

I agree that PTS may be the best option, hard though it is it will prevent pony being passed to more homes and may prevent a child being hurt. It sounds like the problems are fixable but will require a lot of time and money and there is no market for good ponies at the moment let alone ones with issues.

froubylou Sun 03-Jul-16 14:33:48

Reschooling doesn't actually cost that much. They might only need her a couple of weeks. Have you had her saddle checked properly etc?

I am usually a strong advocate of pts if necessary. But in this case I do think it would be unfair on the pony. It doesn’t matter what anyone else has done and tried unless you spend a couple of hundred quid on a reputable trainer you would be doing her an incredible dis service.

And I say that who would not hesitate to have 1 of mine pts if I could no longer keep her.

froubylou Sun 03-Jul-16 14:35:28

If she is fine on the lead rein could you not keep her as a lr pony? Or loan her out as such?

Mrsraypurchase Sun 03-Jul-16 19:04:09

Has an adult ridden her for you? What has a pro said about this little horse?

Mrsraypurchase Sun 03-Jul-16 19:10:20

Has an adult ridden her for you? What has a pro said about this little horse?

childrensjewelleryco Sun 03-Jul-16 19:23:25

Sorry I probably don't make it clear, she has been checked in the past for back etc and we have checked her too as hubby is a vet. She has had two different saddles since we had her one when she arrived, and another after a few weeks, as we managed to get some weight off her so had it re checked.
We have had a very experienced adult ride her who said she was very forward going, very sensitive to leg aids and "sneaky". The lady said she could feel when the pony wanted to buck (she tensed and grunted) but obviously she wouldn't let her do it. The lady said she could see how it would be hard for my daughter to keep her head up as she is strong.
As harsh as it sounds, we didn't want a lead rein, my daughter has been cantering and jumping for a while, we just wanted a safe first pony, which sadly this little girl isn't.

Mrsraypurchase Sun 03-Jul-16 20:01:17

Will she hack? or is she only schooled? I know of a lead rein pony who was horribly sour in the school, bucked,napped, spooked. Ghastly mare. She started hacking a couple of times a week and gradually became more relaxed. Six months later she will happily school.

froubylou Sun 03-Jul-16 20:29:22

Echo what pp said about hacking even if it is on the lead.

Also do you lunge and long rein her? Our pony is very sweet but can take the piss out of dd if he isn't kept sweet by me if she has a big gap between rides.

How often is she worked? What is she fed? Has your dh ruled out ulcers? If she has been on a diet it can excabberate them. Is she on a balancer? I have 2 on permanent rations (both section a's) and I was shocked at the difference in behaviour when fed a decent balancer. Has your DH done any blood work ups? You have ano expensive resource you can tap into with your DH!

Very few ponies are deliberately naughty. There is usually a reason for it and if you can find the reason you can usually solve it. Sometimes it's physical and sometimes it's a learned behaviour.

Most small ponies are pretty clever. I suspect your girl has learnt a good few tricks over the years including the spooking and it can simply be a case of ruling out the physical and then being really firm and consistent.

Has your dd had lessons on her with a decent instructor? Is your dd still confident riding her?

A few lessons on the lunge with an adult ready to growl at her for being a prat can be a really good way to build a child's confidence and make a pony actually work. Obviously once you have ruled out physical stuff.

Is the pony sweet on the ground? Is she mare ish at all? Does she cycle regularly? Is she good in a herd environment? Getting plenty of turn out?

Sorry I know that is a lot of questions but just asking as I think of them.

Booboostwo Sun 03-Jul-16 20:32:43

Realistically you have two choices. Either spend time and money looking into the problem which will include in depth vet exams (could it be ulcers, could it be kissing spines, could it be her ovaries, etc) and, if a,k clear, reschooling by a professional, or put her to sleep. Selling her on is not a good option, she's already been passed round and chances are she'll get passed around again. If you can find someone who will loan her as a companion fair enough, but such homes are rare and she may be returned at any time in the future.

childrensjewelleryco Sun 03-Jul-16 22:45:57

Thanks everyone for all your thoughts they are really useful.
She bucks both on hacks and when being schooled, yesterday she spooked so badly she backed my daughter into a hedge, this was with my husband holding her on the lead rein.
I have tried lunging her and it was like a motor cycle wall of death, and I admit I was scared.
We worked her 4 times a week to start with, but now it is only 2-3 times a week. My daughter has lost her confidence riding her (luckily only this pony, she still rides happily in her classes) and so it's not much fun for any of us anymore.
The pony is out 24/7
She is getting more trying on the ground as time goes on. refusing to be caught, showing her bum to you if you approach her (unless you have treats) Not great at letting you hoof pick. And today she wouldn't let me put her bridle on. I'm guessing she is testing me, but sadly she is winning. My husband is far stronger than me and so doesn't let her get away with messing about.
Not sure if I answered all the questions, but you have given me lots to go on. thanks

BertrandRussell Sun 03-Jul-16 22:51:21

I am ready to be flamed.


She is potentially dangerous. She will never have a happy home. The country is crawling with lovely safe ponies who can't find homes. And she will get worse.

The sooner people stop thinking being PTS is th worst thing that can happen to an animal th better.

froubylou Mon 04-Jul-16 06:28:21

I would be tempted to either pop a marble in or try some sort of hormonal supplement /medication. Your DH will know what is best.

This will rule out hormonal issues.

Stop with treats. They are a really quick way to spoil a ponies manners.

Tack her up every single day even if your dd doesn't want to ride. Pop sidereins on quite tightly and either walk her out on a hack or take her in the school. Carry a schooling whip or longish crop. Be really firm. The first time she dicks about she gets growled at. The second time she gets a tap.

Don't let her get topside of you. And you need to get her lunging. The fact it was a walL of death suggests to me she has either never been taught to lunge properly and therefore never broken in properly or she has been bashed and is reacting out of fear.

Lunging and imo long reining are a fundemental part of breaking a pony in. Especially a small pony who won't have an adult riding it forwards.

Will the riding school your dd attends take her for a while? They tend to be good with kids ponies. It sounds to me like she needs some serious groundwork. And am not being awful but if a 12h pony is frightening you on the lunge you aren't the right person to do this.

Mrsraypurchase Mon 04-Jul-16 06:45:01

I've got no problem with PTS, especially if a pony rears, but I'd want to try work with a behaviouralist first now pony is in control. You haven't said whether your pony is out with company OP? Are you on a yard? She's not by any chance kept on her own at home is she?

froubylou Mon 04-Jul-16 07:13:40

I wondered that too. Sometimes a busy livery yard is best for novice owners especially if it has a couple of busybodies on it willing to show off by helping get lunging established etc.

I am also not adverse to pts but this pony sounds like she has had a big bit of her education missing and been allowed to rule the roost for so long she thinks she is in charge.

Bucking and being keen off the leg aren't massive issues and can be overcome with firm handling and a good routine. I bet she would make a fab games pony. Such a shame people get duped like this.

OP have you lunged before? Might be worth booking yourself a couple of lessons at the riding school to get the basics. Lunging is an invaluable skill especially when you have kids ponies and done correctly it can be really useful to assist small jockeys dealing with issues. But done wrong it can be a disaster.

Gabilan Mon 04-Jul-16 08:12:01

I'd probably be that livery, prepared to show off wink But then every pony I rode in the 1980s bucked and shyed. I have fond memories of a Welsh pony who put me on the floor 4 times in a half hr lunge lesson. We expect so much of ponies, with so much less schooling than horses have.

These days I'm a bit lot less brave than I was as a teen but at 9 stone I'll still get on little ponies. Sounds like this one could be sorted with the right handling. Yes there are worse things than killing her, but bloody hell, there are better outcomes. It saddens me what horses put up with from us.

tootsietoo Mon 04-Jul-16 08:34:45

I saw someone advertising on Facebook to take difficult ponies to reschool for mounted games. It is a very very different way of working for the ponies than most other things they do, they need to be sharp to the aids and fast, so it can work for ponies who aren't so good at other things. Also they can be ridden by teenagers who are more capable than younger children and won't let the ponies get away with things. I've had a quick scan but I can't find the ad - look at the "Ponies for sale - PPC/MGA" page and scroll down, see if you can find it.

If you can't find someone v competent as above to take the pony for free, then I think your options are:

1. Top to bottom investigation for all possible problems, followed by fixing/reschooling.
2. Find someone who you can pay to do the above for you
3. PTS

If you can't spend the time or the money on the first two options then your only options is PTS as it would not be right to pass the pony on as she currently is.

Good luck, I hope you can find a home for her.

Booboostwo Mon 04-Jul-16 11:15:37

The majority of behavioural issues have a physical cause and there is no point being tough with her if you haven't exhausted all physical causes first. To do that you will need to spend a considerable amount of money on her as your DH I am sure will confirm. She could have kissing spine, she could have sacroiliac problems, she could be bilaterally lame, it could be ulcers, ovarian problems or a million other things. I don't think you should waste time and money on training issues if the physical issues have not been explored first.

Personally I have no problem with PTS. The pony won't know any different and it is a better fate than being passed from pillar to post. I would be weary of anyone offering to take on problem horses, there are so many horses out there, for all sorts of prices that this has the makings of a nice scam - persuade the owners to gift you the problem pony, dope it, sell it to the next inexperienced person.

BertrandRussell Mon 04-Jul-16 13:09:37

Why would anyone take on difficult ponies for free when the country is crawling with lovely not difficult ponies for free or for silly money?

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