Backing 3/4yr olds

Caol Ila

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Hermosa behaved for the farrier today. I wasn't there (jury duty!) but YO gave a glowing report. Eight weeks ago, she was a complete trainwreck with the farrier. Rearing, trying to hurl herself forward. He only did her front feet. That's how she was when I first bought her because no one had ever trimmed her feet before, but we'd had quite a few successful trims since then. However, that was four or five weeks after weaning the foal, and she was a bit scatty and weird to handle in general. Took about six-to-eight weeks to start resuming normal service. Very pleased that she was a good girl today!
 

ImmyS

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Having a fab time with Finn at the minute.
He’s really starting to nail this hacking alone malarkey! Getting more bold every time we go out and exploring new routes without question and remaining chilled. Most pleased with how he is with the traffic, he is rock solid through our busy village.

He is also just generally feeling a lot more rideable, moving away from the leg and easily being able to manoeuvre him around traffic etc whereas before it was a bit like steering a ship! 😆😆

We hacked to our instructors yard for the first time last week for a lesson and he was super throughout. We focused on flatwork and poles, but to keep things a bit fun I wanted to pop a little fence at the end. Finn has not jumped at all and although I don’t plan to do a whole lot with him this year I wanted to know what his reaction would be. He did a very cute little pop! He was then very good letting me do the gate from on top to leave the yard

He just seems a very happy, chilled boy at the moment. Couldn’t be more chuffed 😃.

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scats

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I've been doing handy pony with the older, ought to know better spooktastic horse... so young Frank came to have a go today.
Not remotely bothered, bless him :D did bunting and tarp-crossing without missing a beat.

He’s such a dude. Would you not consider keeping him and sending the loan one back?
Im a big Frank fan!
 

milliepops

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bowing out of this thread now as F has found his new home. He's had a tiring week doing lorry practice, remembering how to trot up in hand etc. Sad to not be the one to do all his next "firsts" with but it's the right thing to do, my non-horsey life has gone bananas and I needed to buy myself some time...whereas he is ready to crack on.

Will enjoy keeping up with everyone else and hopefully have young Hera to join in with before too long!

 

alsxx

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Been a while since I've updated, my boy went away end of April to continue his education and pleased to report has been doing really well. I've been over to ride a couple of times the past week, really weird just getting on your baby for the first time and going out for a hack! But he's feeling fab, really like the feel of him and he's enjoying his work which is nice to see. Really pleased I sent him where he is as they have brilliant hacking where he's seen a bit of everything and it's done him the world of good. Sadly no pics but it's his birthday next week, and then he'll be properly 4!
 

maya2008

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Well, he’s here, but my pictures are rubbish as he wouldn’t stand still for long! 12hh grey Welsh A gelding - need to get him easy to catch before we can do anything else. Previous owner did quite a bit of the prep work for backing so should go smoothly when we do.

He has such a sweet nature - my smaller ponies love him already and he is never the aggressor in interactions with them. He’s the picture of a calm, affable lad in the field. He made friends with my coloured yearling (in pic on the left) straight away.

My son is besotted and wants to do every bit of the training (that he can safely do) himself. Pony likes my son too - loaded for him and walked politely to the field off the lorry for him too (despite eyes on stalks).
 

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maya2008

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And the catching games begin! Caught him twice yesterday by taking the others out so he would follow into our little holding pen. Once for a walk down the road in-hand (the world is terrifying you know - he spooked at nothing, repeatedly), and once for his dinner. Today starts the in-field catching. Found them all asleep this morning so walked in, fed everyone else a couple of pony nuts, then he came over to ask for his. My son then did the same, with the same result. I am pleased, he’s barely met us so it’s a good start!
 

HufflyPuffly

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Beryl has been so straightforward thus far. She was officially three the start of May and levelled up a bit so I’ve cracked on before she decides to grow and be unbalanced again!

She’s now figured out third gear on the lunge, she’s been so laid back she’s horizontal 😂, I thought when popped a saddle on it might inspire a bit of ooo what’s that but nope 😂.

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Not bothered by flappy stirrups or me tangling us both up in the lines 🙈.

5A4EDA34-305C-487E-BC8A-4ECFA34EF8BD.jpg I’m going to do more long lining though as she’s like driving a drunk toddler, no straight lines anywhere! Plus she’s still fairly opinionated about when she’s done enough and where she wants to go 😈.

She’s also completely unbothered by being a leaning post.
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Don’t think it will take much to back her, get her hacking and then turn her away till next year, she’s been a doll compared to Skylla who was always so sharp with everything!

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Hormonal Filly

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@HufflyPuffly shes a very pretty mare!!

I always struggle to upload photos as it says they’re to big for the forum.

I started boxing my 4yr old out locally to go for short hacks with friends and on our own. She has got a little hesitant to load when I’m on my own but it’s something we will work on. She travels really well, loves the full trailer space. We did a local pub ride which was lovely, she stood like a rock at the pub with my friends horse. Only problem was she kept trying to drink my Pepsi. Everyone was stroking her and she was totally unphased.

I gave her a few weeks off and have recently bought her back into work as have a made to measure saddle fitting (she’s so hard to find a saddle for, decided it was the best option) in just over a weeks time and don’t want her to fat for the appointment. Currently have a (fitted) borrowed saddle so hoping he can confirm it fits ok for now.

Only thing it seems I’m having issues with is she can be nappy around the yard (private woodland, fields and arena if we go in it for 5 minutes) and when asked to move on she will show a few moves like buck, head shake, a little bronk.. nothing severe, but also feels a bit unpredictable while doing it and that she knows she could throw me if she wanted. (Mares, eh?)

She’s super brave, think she’s spooked twice since I’ve backed her so I’m sure it’s just nappiness as it’s worst past her field mates fields.

Plan this evening is to go into the big grass arena and see if we can get a walk trot and canter.. without napping or any mishaps.

On the long lines she is fab and not nappy at all, so other option is to ask a friend to sit on her while I long line so she understands forward. I don’t think she actually knows what a riders leg means yet.. but responds to voice although that isn’t helpful when she’s napping.
 

maya2008

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We have caught and released our new pony several times now in the field, and caught him straight away for his walk this morning. He loves going for walks, is so happy to be out and about seeing the world. I remember my daughter’s pony suddenly decided being caught was ok when we started in-hand walks, and he is definitely the same! My son is leading him on his own (with bridle, gloves, hat etc) and started teaching him to trot in-hand today. He is a quick learner, already so much calmer out and about (I’m bringing an older calm one with us to show him the world is nothing to be worried about and it’s definitely helping). He is responsive to the bit too - stops instantly and is very polite. My daughter has been bringing her scooter on the walks - in front of him and behind, and we met cars several times today. All fine.

He’s wearing a saddle at the moment but no stirrups yet. Working on waving things above him, as he’s not keen on the saddle being lifted onto his back. He lets me, but tenses up. Main thing that will take time though is his fitness. Walking down the road to the entrance to the hacking exhausts him. We’ll go just a little further each day to build up his fitness, but it will be a while until he’s ready to walk a full hack let alone carry a rider on one. I reckon he’ll be ready to go mentally before he is physically.
 

windand rain

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Having had a major melt down at the county show in hand, we have finally made a little progress being ridden her default was to rear not saying its sorted as only been ridden 3 times but so far so good. Different saddle too as the one the saddle fitter fitted upset her so now on the look out for a better fit. Wintec is a bit narrow but hasn't caused the issues of the fitted one
 

maya2008

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How’s everyone getting on?

Our original young one is happy looking after her little girl and lording it over the new pony (who is actually older than she is but has less experience). Her little rider spent the whole ride chatting away to her today. Funniest moment was when we all went one way and little girl decided she wanted to take the other path. Pony quite sensibly overruled her!

New pony now leads from another horse and is almost there with trot commands. Stops beautifully from any pace though. He’s gradually getting less nervy about being touched and is more willing to come in. I spent ages today putting a bareback pad on/off/on/off until he stopped reacting to it moving above him.
 

Caol Ila

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Hermosa has worn a saddle and worked on trailer loading. She has been a dream on the lunge, and she was completely fine being lunged wearing the saddle.

I have, however, backtracked a little. Caso's owner (and Caso) has moved to Germany :confused: so I am usually operating on my own. I have realised that Hermosa finds the girth dangling around her front leg quite alarming, so I am spending a lot of time throwing things at her and letting things dangle, usually using the surcingle because it's easier for me to handle then the saddle. The saddle itself wasn't an issue, so once she gets over her fears of dangly sh*t, she should be good. I need to fix this for the long reins as well, as she's fine once she's going, but hooking her up has been a two-man job, and I have lost my wingwoman.

Everyone else's youngsters seem to be making far more progress. *sigh* IMG_1302.JPG
 

DizzyDoughnut

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Hermosa has worn a saddle and worked on trailer loading. She has been a dream on the lunge, and she was completely fine being lunged wearing the saddle.

I have, however, backtracked a little. Caso's owner (and Caso) has moved to Germany :confused: so I am usually operating on my own. I have realised that Hermosa finds the girth dangling around her front leg quite alarming, so I am spending a lot of time throwing things at her and letting things dangle, usually using the surcingle because it's easier for me to handle then the saddle. The saddle itself wasn't an issue, so once she gets over her fears of dangly sh*t, she should be good. I need to fix this for the long reins as well, as she's fine once she's going, but hooking her up has been a two-man job, and I have lost my wingwoman.

Everyone else's youngsters seem to be making far more progress. *sigh* View attachment 94105
You're way ahead of me!

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This is mainly what we did today! I was aiming for all 4 feet on but all we can do so far is front feet on , back feet on or this!
We've been working on general groundwork, parking next to mounting blocks and other random things while I climb up and move around above him and going for walks.
I was going to start introducing the saddle but he's suddenly gone from a laid back sensible pony To one that spooks and snorts at his own farts, so I'm waiting for a nice warm calm day for that or until he calms down again.
 

alsxx

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It was my boys 4th birthday on Friday, and yesterday I went over and we went for a lovely hack. Even had my first canter on him with a cheeky little buck thrown in. I just love the feel of him, he's so loose and really covers the ground, despite his small size 🤣 luckily also found we have a saddle that fits him pretty well so once he comes home from school we can crack on until the saddler gets to us.
 

windand rain

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Don't worry about hermosa she's not far behind kitten who is still making only tiny amounts of progress as she has opinions on everything and if it's not for her at that moment she rears. It has and continues to be her default. Was hoping she would outgrown it by now but it's entrenched. Anyone have any sensible ideas to change her mind as I am not about to pull her over or hit her over the head which has been mooted
 

shortstuff99

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My older mares go to as a young horse was a rear. Especially if she got 'stuck'. Now she wouldn't even think about it. What helped was working out when she felt stuck and doing a small circle which would get the legs moving and fend off the rear and not to take her head on. As she's grown up she's gained the confidence to not do it anymore.

@Caol Ila I don't think you're going too slow at all! I've done a bit of walking around the arena in the saddle and that is it. She is now having a few weeks off as I'm moving yards (which is about her 5th home in 4 years I think) unfortunately needs must!
 

maya2008

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I tried all the sensible options on husband’s cob but none worked. He’s reared in the field since foalhood and so does my current yearling, so I can see how it becomes well entrenched before backing even starts. We did tap him on the head each time in the end and it cured him of the habit quickly without causing distress or making him head-shy.

Other methods I have used successfully in the past are: spinning them if they threaten so they can’t go up; keeping them moving at all times (because to rear means you have to stop). I was also recommended to keep the cob’s head down - but it so happens that he can rear while spinning, with his head down (goes up through his shoulders) so… the whip facing forwards and the light tap between the ears it was. I don’t regret it, he’s a wonderful trustworthy ride now who I can stick my children and nervous husband on with confidence.

I hope you find a solution that works for you soon. Rearing is no fun!
 

Caol Ila

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Don't worry about hermosa she's not far behind kitten who is still making only tiny amounts of progress as she has opinions on everything and if it's not for her at that moment she rears. It has and continues to be her default. Was hoping she would outgrown it by now but it's entrenched. Anyone have any sensible ideas to change her mind as I am not about to pull her over or hit her over the head which has been mooted
There was me thinking a Highland would have been easier! Hermosa has gone up a couple times in-hand since rearing comes easily to PREs, but she quickly accepted that it was not a good life choice when I got on her case. She's not a stubborn horse, and she is super bold about trains, motorway bridges, tractors, cows, pigs, etc. etc., but she's very much got a block about equipment dangling near her legs. And it isn't like I haven't done anything about it. I have used flags, old lead ropes, the lunge line to try to desensitize her but the block remains. I guess they all have their things.
 

windand rain

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I was kinda hoping a highland would be easier she is supposed to be taking the reins from the old girl who is mostly perfect. I am working through it. I am not a fan of lunging but have started to lunge her so I can get her down and circles quickly. We do less than 5 minutes each way and she is ridden for about 20 minutes without issue take longer and she has her own ideas.
 

Hormonal Filly

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Little update!

I rode with a friend last week and she has quite a spooky gelding so we led most of the way. My youngster led the way up a busy road, through a village full of jubilee flags and lots of traffic. Either she’s really seen before especially flags, so she did so well and was so brave with a nervous horse following.

We were on our way back home just saying how outstanding she was, I was so so chuffed, when we had a fall :(

A dog. It lives on a farm on a narrow single track road, she’s seen it before but today it was asleep under a Defender and as soon as we got level with the farm gates (and close to them!) It scrabbled out and jumped on the gate going absolutely crazy.

My mare jumped (and I can remember jumping myself at suddenly noticing a huge German Sheppard running full pelt at the gates) and her feet just went from underneath her! I fell off, she was struggling to get up for what felt like forever but was probably only 5 seconds. She walked off ok and we got back safely. I never usually boot but that day 4 brushing boots on, they had all slipped down, so glad I did. She wasn’t lame and only had a few scuff marks, touch wood looks sound in the field, she’s had a few days off since.

Such a scary experience, never had a horse fall from under me. :( Aim to do a bit with her this week, just basic short hacks and see how she goes. Will work on getting her to go back past the same area but with a confident horse leading.
 

Caol Ila

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Unless it's an issue with something he's actually had a bad experience with (i.e. quad bike), my Highland seems to process things a bit quicker. I have fewer circular discussions with him. It might just be the fact that he's an adult horse. Three-year olds are the equivalent of teenage humans, and Hermosa wavers between being the smartest kid in the class, super eager to learn and do well, and a total ditz.
 
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