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Novice questions... please reassure me!

(10 Posts)
Tigersteeth Wed 14-Feb-18 17:35:39

Hello, my daughter is pony-crazy, so we have a one day a week pony share. She loves it, but he's a bit more lively than the riding school ponies I'm used to, and I'm worried I'm doing something wrong! The other people on the yard say we're fine, but are we?!
When my daughter rides, he often shakes (like a wet dog!). Why? Is it a friendly thing or is he fed up?
He often jumps/bucks/fusses when going from walk to trot. No-one else seems to think it's a big deal! Shall I just ignore it?
How can I get him to stop barging me when I'm leading him?
I'm doing my best but I'm feeling a bit out of my depth today! Have I just got too used to lazy old school ponies, is this just what proper ponies are like? Do I just need to toughen up?!

yawning801 Wed 14-Feb-18 18:39:34

Firstly, I think the shaking is normal. He might be a bit itchy or in need of a stretch. Or he might just think he's wet grin

Secondly, have you tried putting him through his paces on the lunge? It's always worth taking a look from all angles to see if you're missing any signs of discomfort in his transitions. You could always get an instructor to watch with you if you're not confident spotting things on your own.

Thirdly, barging is just plain bad manners. I wouldn't use a chifney, though, because it has the potential to be used incorrectly and do more harm than good. Make sure you have a nice strong rope, though. I would try doing some in-hand work in a fenced arena. Keep him on a loose rein, reins over head, and just do random stops and turns to keep him paying attention. If he doesn't stop when you stop, back him over the place where he was meant to stop. If he doesn't back, I've been told to give him a light pop under the chin with the rope or the non-buckle bit of the rein. HTH! smile

Theresahairbrushinthefridge Thu 15-Feb-18 08:39:59

Sounds to me like he is not the right pony for you.

Shaking. Is really unpleasant if he does it a lot. We have and old pony with Cushings that gets hot and does it. But it is also a ploy he uses to show he's boss.

Ditto. Barging. It is just bad manners. Practise leading him without a child on. He needs to learn some manners.

Bucking etc during transitions. In my view unacceptable.

To me he sounds not very well trained. There are plenty of lovely ponies out there. Novice or not you shouldn't be intimidated by your pony.

He may sense your inexperience and be taking advantage. Even so. If it's not working, don't be afraid to move on and find a different pony.

QuestionableMouse Thu 15-Feb-18 10:23:36

Barging is a pet peeve of mine. It can be so dangerous. In experienced hands, I'd say chain/lead over the nose and let him run into it a few times.

Bucking going into trot could be caused by getting caught in the mouth.

It does sound like you need some experienced help in real life.

RatherBeRiding Thu 15-Feb-18 11:01:27

He doesn't sound the right pony for you. What does his owner say about his behaviour - is s/he there when you ride?

Tigersteeth Thu 15-Feb-18 11:03:48

Thank you for your help!
He's so lovely and calm when we're grooming/tacking up, he just seems a bit of a grump in the school, and a right arse if we take him for a walk! I just freaked myself out a bit yesterday, it was hard work with both my kids there. He spooked in the school when he saw DD1 (9) standing at the gate, and that freaked out the 7yo Dd2 who was riding him. And then it took him a little while to calm down, which freaked me out!
But we're all fine, it's not normally that hard. I can work on manners, and I'll find a teacher to help.
The other people on the yard are so kind and encouraging to Dd2, they're always happy to explain stuff to her, and to help us out, i'd hate to leave that. I think I need to work a bit more on my novice-ness, I'm literally starting from 0! Any idea how I could learn more horse-y skills? Maybe I could volunteer at the riding school or something...

Tigersteeth Thu 15-Feb-18 11:08:19

The owner is there, but she's busy with the other horses usually. I wasnt sure if I was making a fuss over nothing, if this is just what ponies are like, but maybe I'll talk to her about it... I don't want to be needy!

RatherBeRiding Thu 15-Feb-18 11:23:28

TBH as your child is so young, and you are totally un-horsey, the owner really ought to be more involved until you've gained some more experience.

Don't forget that you are doing her a favour by exercising her pony just as much as she is doing you a favour by allowing your child to ride.

One of mine is on part-loan (to a very experienced person) but he's still MY responsibility ultimately and if his jockey is unsure of anything I'd be mortified if she felt she shouldn't be asking for advice.

DiseasesOfTheSheep Fri 16-Feb-18 14:21:12

I really wouldn't worry about the shaking - that's normal, most horses will do it at some point, and kids usually learn to find it funny with the right attitude.

The transition from walk to trot issue depends hugely on what you mean by jumps/bucks /fusses - actually bucking would be unacceptable (and suggests a physical problem), but many ponies will "bounce" into trot - slightly lifting their front end rather than the rear end like a buck. That can be a response to excitement, or grumpiness (usually if they're kicked / smacked into trot reluctantly!), a response to a firm rein contact (confusing signals), or a lack of balance. It can also be pathological, but I wouldn't leap to that if he's ok otherwise.

Barging when leading... Really rude, but lots of ponies do it. The easiest way to remind them of who's in charge is to lead in his bridle and carry a long whip if you can - not to batter him, just to tap him up if he lags behind or to remind him to keep out of your space if he shoves into you. It's worth you getting a few groundwork lessons from a local trainer - you can work on his manners and develop some skills to deal with what he does.

You may well find that your local RS runs BHS courses in horse care - these used to be the BHS stages, but I think they've re-branded them to another name recently. You don't have to do the riding side of the course, but learning about the other aspects of keeping horses would be really useful for you. Some of what you learn in these types of courses are a bit rarefied - their method of putting rugs on ponies is a constant source of amusement in the real world! - but you'd learn how to handle horses safely, as well as many other aspects of horse management for if you ever progress to owning your own.

Astrabees Fri 16-Feb-18 16:37:17

My old Highland was very over weight and used to do the shaking thing, felt like I was riding a blancmange.

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