Horse Training And Riding

How to Train a Pony

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"How to Train a Pony"
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Training ponies can be a tricky thing, but remember it's not any more difficult then training a full sized horse.. So don't take your 12 year old and tie them to the pony!

First off:

Round pen work - you want to make sure that your pony will go in either direction when you point with your finger, make sure that you receive the respect that will earn you trust. The pony should always turn in towards you and look at you when you step infront of the drive line and tell him "whoa". This is showing you that he respects you, if your pony turns with his butt towards you he is just saying, "Screw you" and doesn't respect your leadership. Respect is key before training any equine so make sure you establish that first.

Once your pony is doing good in the round pen and does, walk, trot and canter when you tell him to.. then it's time to stretch those muscles in his neck. Stand behind the drive line, and flex his head towards you. At first he may want to go in circles because he doesn't know what your asking, But remember keep the pressure until he stops moving his feet and gives you his head. Even the slightest release on pressure from the lead rope drop it. This is his reward! make sure you do this on both sides. This exercise will come in handy later!

Okay, so now it's time for the major stuff, De-spooking, if you pony is very spooky you don't want to train it under saddle until he knows how to stop moving his feet and relax when ever he gets scared. So find that one thing, lets say a plastic bag. Make sure you find a starting point. Don't just take the plastic bag and throw it all over your pony and give it a heart attack. This won't due you or him any good! So wiggle the plastic bag out to the side of the pony as far as you can stretch your arm out. Now if he moves just keep his head tilted towards you and fellow him. Don't stop shaking the bag, until he stops moving his feet. When he stands still look for him to lick and chew his lips or any other sign of relaxation before taking the scary bag away. To be on the safe side count to 15. Keep doing this until the pony can care less about you shaking the bag, and just bring it closer and closer gradually. Until you can touch him with it.. Make sure you do this on both sides, remember for everyone one horse you actually have two. Just because he does it perfect on his left side doesn't mean he'll know what your doing on the right side, You have to train each side like it's a new horse. Keep doing the de-spooking exercises with other things that he may be afraid of. This will make saddling him easy!

Okay, so you did your ground work and he is totally de-spooked, he doesn't mind the saddle blanket or the saddle. He sniffs it, and even tries to eat it.. will now that you have it on him, the cinching up part can be tricky, so reach under and grab the cinch, don't do it slow, just go as fast as normal like he's been saddle a million times before, tighten the cinch and let him stand there.. He may not want to move. Make sure you have a lounging wipe and stand back behind the horse just behind the drive line, Stay out of kicking distance and drive him forward, He may walk around the pen like a pro. or he may totally ballistic! Rearing, bucking, just like a rodeo star! Just keep his feet moving and stay behind his drive line, Keep him moving forward until he stops any kind of silliness and trots and canters around the pen like nothing is the matter. Tell him "whoa" and tighten the cinch.. now make sure you have your loose ring snaffle, put bit in his mouth, tie up the reins so they don't get tangled around his feet and flex his head with the reins, Now if you did your homework with the halter he should know what you want him to do..Now your teaching him to give to the bit. Which is important because if he doesn't give to the bit, then you can get into some serious trouble down the road.

So he is giving to the bit and you've lounged him with the saddle for the last couple of days and he is doing great, Now comes the fun part, Depending on how high he is, you can just lean on his back and put half of your weight on him, Keep his head tilted towards you just encase he decides to do something stupid. Remember do this on both sides!, When he is okay with you putting your weight on him and if he is big enough for you to ride, Put one foot in the stirrup and slowly get on.. make sure you have a helper here, someone to hold him so you can get one. Now have your helper lead you around the round pen.. with the first ride the shorter the better, so go around the pen 3-4 times in both directions and then called it quits for that day, The next day get on him, with helper in tow and have your helper lead him around the pen with you on him, Your job is to rub him, smack his butt and etc. so that he gets used to movement up there. Remember he can't see you so he needs to know that your not going to hurt him. After 15mins of walking tell you helper to go to the middle of the pen and now you squeeze him in the side and ask for a trot, Now if you did your homework with the flexing if he decides to do something stupid you can just flex him to a stop..

once he understands the walking, trotting and cantering in the round pen. Take him out to an open field or arena and work him out there, remember reward every try and soon your little partner will be able to take on the world.

More about this author: Janine Shull

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