How not to break in a pony...

pennyturner

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1 August 2006
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D4 decided she wanted to ride one of the colts yesterday. I had said that she could be the first to ride him.

We put a saddle and bridle on him, he did one small flap (ticklish) with a back foot as I tightened the girth, but otherwise didn't move, or even tense. We long reined him for only 200yards because it was getting late. Before we put him away I said she could try some weight in his stirrup. He stood rock steady and calm, first with a bit of weight, then with her swinging gently on board, only walking on sweetly when I asked him. Dismount was equally uneventful. Anyone watching would have thought he was an old hack.

Will probably take him for a steady group ride tomorrow...



[disclaimer: I have had this little NF pony from a foal, living out with my herd. His character is such that I would have been amazed if he'd reacted any other way. Do NOT just saddle and sit on your youngster. He really is exceptionally kind, trusting and tactile; the kind who canters across a 10 acre field to give you a kiss, bless him!]
 
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I have never lunged or long lined any of my ponies (shetlands and a dartmoor) just tacked them up, took them for a wee walk and trot round the field in-hand with stirrups flapping and then hop on and off we go. Never had an issue with one yet.

They were all well handled from youngsters bar one who was wild when we got her as a 4yo.

Yes with some I can see the point in lunging/long lining but quite often people become obsessed with it and their horses are half fit before you ever sit on them.
 

pennyturner

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I usually long-rein gently up the road a few times until I'm happy that they 'get' halt-walk-trot-walk-halt and basic steering. Mainly because i don't want a pony with no mouth running through the bit in pain and fear if they get upset.

In the past I have broken small ponies without a little jockey by getting them driving for a year or so before backing them when they're older and stronger.

I agree that lunging / long reining too much is counter-productive, particularly in a school.
I find it best to go out of the yard from the very beginning, on tracks and quiet lanes, so that they see breaking as a treat, and accept the tack etc as a small price to pay to get a look at the world. Sets them up with a good attitude towards work, and ensures they always want to be caught.
 

Lauren_xx

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[disclaimer: I have had this little NF pony from a foal, living out with my herd. His character is such that I would have been amazed if he'd reacted any other way. Do NOT just saddle and sit on your youngster. He really is exceptionally kind, trusting and tactile; the kind who canters across a 10 acre field to give you a kiss, bless him!]

My NF pony is the same. I wanted to be the first on him so before he went to be professionally backed, I got on him in just a headcollar on the yard. He didn't bat an eyelid. I've had him from 10 months old, he's 7 this year. Fab ponies. He was also better behaved out on his first hack (part of a group) than any of the other experienced horses and ponies! Have fun :)
 

windand rain

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yep pretty much how I backed our from foal raised baby natives Think it may just be the well handled and calm temperament that does it. Mind you we did much the same with the Hanoverian gelding too as he was a total dude to handle as well. Baby higland leads everything past the spooky things
 

Spring Feather

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Same here Penny. All of our homebreds are like this when we come to backing them. We don't long line or lunge anymore; generally just jump on and get going and they just accept it with no problems. Obviously we've done tons of ground work over the years with the little ones first.
 

Peregrine Falcon

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Ahh NF's are such gentle ponies

Totally agree! Can't beat a good forester. (Not that I'm biased at all! ;))

I backed a rising 4yo one spring within a couple of weeks, riding him out across the forest quietly. Sold him via WOM and the girl who came to see him couldn't believe how quiet he was. I would have trusted my kids with him from the start.
 
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