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Don't know what to title this...tack rant?

Hells Bells

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Joined
18 September 2011
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433
Location
Worcestershire
Saw a pony this morning having a lesson with a young looking woman in a field where I was collecting some haynets, and have come away just feeling a little bit sorry for the pony and rider...

Pony was about 14hh I would say, and seemed to have all manners of contraptions attached to it. It was wearing a dutch gag with the reins attached to the lowest ring, what looked to be grass reins attached to its second ring, a running martingale and a flash on. Rider was clearly very novicey and was only just mastering trot, and hanging on to the pony's mouth. Meanwhile the instructor was yelling at the woman not to yank on its mouth so hard cos she would be hurting the pony... at which point I did wonder then why not also help the pony and either put the rein on a gentler ring or put a softer bit in, or allow the woman to hold the saddle with one hand?

Pony to me looked very well behaved all things considered and I just felt a bit sad for both pony and rider really. No real reason for this thread, just felt like i needed to air it. I'm fully aware that I don't know the pony or how it behaves, and as such cannot make a claim to...it just seems a bit much to me? If pony is requiring that kind of tack, would it also be kinder for the rider to be placed on something a little more suitable to their requirements?

One question though...the pony had a headcollar on under its bridle as well...can anyone tell me why this is done? This probably makes me sound very ill-informed, but I've not really encountered this being done before? Is it to with being able to catch/hold pony? thanks!
 

SplashofSoy

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5 July 2010
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964
Cant comment on the lesson or the use of the tack but just about the headcollar. This is quite common at riding schools etc as it makes turnrounds on lessons etc quicker if the headcollar is attached as often between lessons for short periods ponies are left tacked up (reins twisted, girth loosened etc) before being untacked when they get thier proper break. Usually has no detrimental affect on the pony. Also for Trec competitions for instance you are required to have a headcollar on so you can lead from a rope for the obstacles and also if you use a running martingale so reins cant go over the head. Many serious competitors have one of those combination bridle/headcollar thingys for ease and less bulk.
 

Littlelegs

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25 February 2012
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9,355
No idea. If pony was ridden by someone with still hands, really wouldn't give what tack its wearing a second thought. But I do think whatever tack someone just learning to trot should have a neck strap, not the reins to hang on to. Perhaps the headcollar was left on for another reason nothing to do with the rider. Best guess is that's the tack it needs with its regular rider & they didn't see the need to swop it just for the beginner to have a short ride.
 

Hells Bells

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Joined
18 September 2011
Messages
433
Location
Worcestershire
These are my thoughts littlelegs. I don't usually pass judgement on what tack horses are wearing when the rider is more experienced, but this little guy just seemed overtacked. Hopefully you're right and its his normal tack for more experienced rider!
 

PandorasJar

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27 February 2012
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3,482
Location
Hampshire
Doesn't sound an ideal set up for pony or rider :( Won't be teaching either of them much. Pony will learn to hate the bit it's in as it will be hurting it and rider won't be learning much at all on a pony that is tacked up to the extent of sounding totally unrealistic for a novice rider. Martingale and flash I could let off. The bit isn't a great one for a novice though. Double reins are not something you want to be worrying about while mastering trot and used in the wrong hands its far too harsh.

In regards to the headcollar, I used this once while taking someone out hacking for a first time. It gave them confidence for the first few minutes so they could think about what they were doing not what the horse was doing. They relaxed far quicker and it gave the horse an easier start to the hack with a relaxed rider. Once the leadrope was off there was always the fact that if they panicked I could put it back on as reassurance for them.

Pan
 
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