Riding lessons: how do kids progress beyond novice?

bonnysmum

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Would it not be possible for you to simply pay the full livery rate, get rid of working livery and other riders and just let your daughter look after, bond with and ride her own pony.
From my perspective, 100% I would be happy to pay the full rate & not have the pony on working livery at all. The only reason she's on working livery is because I've been told she needs more riding than what my daughter can do, both in terms of intensity and regularity (we could only get there 3 times a week tops).

BTW I did rigid music exams all the way up to grade 8. Constantly making more progress, more pushing, always trying to achieve the next grade. I was successful but as a result I didn't like music and playing an instrument and still don't. No fun and no pleasure whatsoever. In post 24 you say you like to throw yourself into things. With horse riding on your own pony it is the total opposite end of the scale to rigid music exams. It is pleasure, fun. If your daughter has had a good time and enjoyed playing with her pony that is success not whether she has held the pony in an outline or how high she has jumped.
Me too @paddy555, did music all the way up to music college, gave it all up & didn't touch an instrument again for 20 years. It's the polar opposite of what I want for my daughter. The throwing myself into things comment was really in respect of trying to understand how to be a good horse owner and not be in the position of just going along with what more experienced people are telling me, which is the position I feel I'm in right now.


And yes, you express my worries precisely. Right now the RS is onto a winner. I've bought the pony, they still use her and I pay for everything. Win win for them, right? But I want to believe people other than me have the pony and my daughter's best interests at heart. I've been warned if the pony isn't ridden enough then she'll become unmanageable - obviously not what I want for my daughter! But then why sell her to me? There's a lot I can't say here.

I wish I had the confidence to move her from her current yard, but I feel I need to grow my own knowledge a lot first. And actually I love where she is. I have my beef with certain things but the other liveries are lovely and my daughter gets on so well with the other kids. But as a result at the moment not much has changed in life for our pony except that 3 or 4 times a week she gets to be made a fuss of and she seems to enjoy that. She does NOT enjoy being left in a stable all day as happened yesterday, much to my dismay when I realised. (Most of the time she's out in the fields, but on working days they seem to bring all the horses they're using in first thing. Yesterday was not one of her working days but it seems there was a mix up :-( )


ETA perhaps I would be better to consider paying someone to ride/school her once or twice a week. There are people I'd definitely trust to do that and I'd be happier than I am with the current situation, plus they might help teach my daughter about schooling etc (she's desperate to learn to lunge). But it's a big expense on top of the livery costs. Hmm.
 
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Abi90

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From my perspective, 100% I would be happy to pay the full rate & not have the pony on working livery at all. The only reason she's on working livery is because I've been told she needs more riding than what my daughter can do, both in terms of intensity and regularity (we could only get there 3 times a week tops).



Me too @paddy555, did music all the way up to music college, gave it all up & didn't touch an instrument again for 20 years. It's the polar opposite of what I want for my daughter. The throwing myself into things comment was really in respect of trying to understand how to be a good horse owner and not be in the position of just going along with what more experienced people are telling me, which is the position I feel I'm in right now.


And yes, you express my worries precisely. Right now the RS is onto a winner. I've bought the pony, they still use her and I pay for everything. Win win for them, right? But I want to believe people other than me have the pony and my daughter's best interests at heart. I've been warned if the pony isn't ridden enough then she'll become unmanageable - obviously not what I want for my daughter! But then why sell her to me? There's a lot I can't say here.

I wish I had the confidence to move her from her current yard, but I feel I need to grow my own knowledge a lot first. And actually I love where she is. I have my beef with certain things but the other liveries are lovely and my daughter gets on so well with the other kids. But as a result at the moment not much has changed in life for our pony except that 3 or 4 times a week she gets to be made a fuss of and she seems to enjoy that. She does NOT enjoy being left in a stable all day as happened yesterday, much to my dismay when I realised. (Most of the time she's out in the fields, but on working days they seem to bring all the horses they're using in first thing. Yesterday was not one of her working days but it seems there was a mix up :-( )


ETA perhaps I would be better to consider paying someone to ride/school her once or twice a week. There are people I'd definitely trust to do that and I'd be happier than I am with the current situation, plus they might help teach my daughter about schooling etc (she's desperate to learn to lunge). But it's a big expense on top of the livery costs. Hmm.
I get what you mean about the music. I sold my flute to buy a horse!! I doubt I will play again

If you can afford for the pony to be schooled rather than used in the school then I think this would be a good idea if the only reason it’s still being used in the RS is to get more exercise for it
 

bonnysmum

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I get what you mean about the music. I sold my flute to buy a horse!! I doubt I will play again

If you can afford for the pony to be schooled rather than used in the school then I think this would be a good idea if the only reason it’s still being used in the RS is to get more exercise for it
Yeah, we can't really. That's the problem... :-( But then, right now I'm considering upping my daughter's lessons to twice a week to try and get her over this hump, a hump that's only really there because of the implicit pressure to improve her riding to the point that the pony doesn't need to be on working livery. (And frankly I think what's needed there is probably time & maturity, not bootcamp). And round & round in circles we go. Food for thought here, thank you.

And editing AGAIN, to expand on the fact that for my daughter it's all about the horse care and the relationship. If it was just about the riding we wouldn't have bought a pony, we'd just have booked more lessons and hired ponies for competitions. But it's everything apart from the riding that's what she loves best. When the pony had to be on paddock rest a little while ago due to an incident, my daughter was absolutely in her element fetching hay & water & poo picking & keeping her company. She volunteers at the stables to learn all about stable management. I don't know why that's relevant to this thread really except I guess it gives a bit more insight into the motivation behind all these crazy decisions!
 
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teapot

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I get what you mean about the music. I sold my flute to buy a horse!! I doubt I will play again

If you can afford for the pony to be schooled rather than used in the school then I think this would be a good idea if the only reason it’s still being used in the RS is to get more exercise for it
Depends on the pony - some only survive RS life because they thrive on the workload or it takes the edge off them. Replacing RS exercise for being schooled twice a week may cause more problems than not.

OP - losing topline in older pony could be caused by all manner of things - schooling, exercise, age (RS ponies sometimes are 'older' physically than their actual age if that makes sense), Cushings etc
 

Winters100

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Lovely that you are so involved in your daughter's hobby - she is truly a lucky little girl.

Speaking personally however I would absolutely hate the arrangement of the pony being used for riding school lessons. Even if she is now used for the 'regular' riders, rather than absolute beginners, the reality is that these children will be nothing like children who ride on a daily basis throughout the holidays, and in term times several times a week. If they are taking lessons once a week for a few years then they are still pretty much beginners.

I would also hate them using another saddle. Yours has been fitted, and theirs presumably has not. For me this would be a massive 'no'.

If pony needs more exercise could you not find another solution? An experienced child share who would ride a few days a week? Or is the pony of a size where you, or a small adult if you don't fit weight wise, could jump on just to keep her ticking over? Or could you lunge or loose school her.

I really doubt that the pony enjoys being ridden by a succession of inexperienced children, probably some of whom are ill balanced or heavy handed. It is not the end of the world if it is truly all that is affordable, but for me it would be a worst case scenario. Sorry to be so honest, but that is how I would feel.

As a last point you say that you think the pony is healthy as people would be risking their reputation selling it if not. This is a massive assumption, and not a good one. In addition you have to realise that, like people, no horse is truly 100% healthy. There can always be issues that the seller is unaware of, so if you do have doubts about her health, whether it is a suspicion of Cushings or anything else, do get them checked out.

Good luck with everything, I hope that you soon sort out any teething problems ,and that your daughter goes on to have many happy years with her pony.
 

Gloi

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Yeah, we can't really. That's the problem... :-( But then, right now I'm considering upping my daughter's lessons to twice a week to try and get her over this hump, a hump that's only really there because of the implicit pressure to improve her riding to the point that the pony doesn't need to be on working livery. (And frankly I think what's needed there is probably time & maturity, not bootcamp). And round & round in circles we go. Food for thought here, thank you.
If the pony is turned out as much as possible , certainly not stood in all day, and only ridden by your daughter it should gradually become less fit and quieter. I think they know they are onto a good thing being able to use your pony. They have sold her to you because she needs a quieter life than being in the school then keeping her in the school.
I think you should try having just your daughter ride her for a couple of months at least to see how she behaves. In the long run it might be better to try a fresh start at a new yard where there is not so much baggage
 

bonnysmum

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If pony needs more exercise could you not find another solution? An experienced child share who would ride a few days a week? Or is the pony of a size where you, or a small adult if you don't fit weight wise, could jump on just to keep her ticking over? Or could you lunge or loose school her.
She is of a size that I could jump on her to keep her ticking over, but there's a massive fly in the ointment her in that I myself don't ride. At all. Nada. I'd love to learn but I fear I would add to the problem rather than helping to solve it! But other adults, yes sure.

Actually it's older teenagers and adults who are riding & competing her now, except for pony club which I would really rather she didn't do but that involves a difficult conversation again.

It's not that the people selling would be risking their reputation, it's all the other freelance people who have worked with this pony who have no direct connection to the RS. Plus the fact that person after person has lined up telling me what an amazing pony she is and how lucky we are to have her (which I agree with btw). None of which at all guarantees there are no health issues, I'm absolutely well aware of that and I do plan on getting her a full check over by the vet ASAP.
 

Kat

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There are a few things that bother me about your posts. The riding school may well be lovely but they may also be taking advantage of your good nature and lack of experience, possibly not maliciously, more likely just because they have their way of doing things etc. It is often the case that when a private owner buys a riding school pony and keeps it at the riding school both parties don't quite adjust to the changed dynamic. Having said that I wouldn't rush to move as you probably do need the support at this stage.

When you refer to "pony club", is this the national organisation called "The Pony Club" if so is your daughter a branch member or centre member? Joining a pony club branch would be really beneficial, and would give some structure to your daughter's learning as well as giving you some experienced support that is independent of the riding school.

What is the agreement with the riding school? How many days/hours does the pony do? Can you afford livery if the pony does less school work?

One alternative would be to find a more experienced rider to share the pony a couple of days a week. A small adult would be ideal, then the pony could continue to work regularly and get a tune up without the slog of the riding school. Be prepared for the pony to become more lively if doing less work though.

I am somewhat concerned about the lack of vetting. I would have expected a riding school to encourage a vetting in order to protect their reputation if problems arise later. Don't rule out getting a check over in future if there are issues.

Your reference to the pony bolting. I hope that is an issue with terminology as a pony that bolts is not suitable for a novice child. Hopefully it is more a case of a whizzy pony taking advantage of a novice rider and can be resolved with some lessons and maybe an adjustment to routine/feed/tack and it isn't an indication that the pony is unsuitable or unsound. This is where independent input might be really useful.
 

Palindrome

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I would try it a week or 2 with the pony only being ridden by your daughter and see how it goes.
Here, people tend to use a "de gogue" when a pony needs to go in an outline and the rider isn't able to do so, it works particularly well for riding school horses.
I don't really like training aids but if your vet agrees with physio, I think it's worth a go.

 

ycbm

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In UK one must use proper tack to hack on public roads and public ground.
Edited to say that I love bareback lessons, but both I and grand daughter had them in a school (Manege)
I don't think this is true, where are you getting the "must" from? Legally I think you are perfectly entitled to hack bareback down the road with a headcollar on the horse. I see someone who does it regularly.
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ycbm

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ETA perhaps I would be better to consider paying someone to ride/school her once or twice a week. There are people I'd definitely trust to do that and I'd be happier than I am with the current situation, plus they might help teach my daughter about schooling etc (she's desperate to learn to lunge). But it's a big expense on top of the livery costs. Hmm.
Depending on the size of the pony you have another option these days which would, I think, be better for the pony and for your daughter and for your purse. That is to find an experienced person to share her with. Many people will pay for that privilege. It would be good for the pony and your daughter for her to be ridden by only two people.

I don't believe any pony dreams of being ridden and certainly not by multiple people in any one week.
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Skib

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I don't think this is true, where are you getting the "must" from? Legally I think you are perfectly entitled to hack bareback down the road with a headcollar on the horse. I see someone who does it regularly.
My copy of the Highway Code says "Never ride a horse without a saddle and bridle."
It is correct that it may not be part of the highway code enforced by full law. But it is none the less in the Highway code.
This means (I was told) that, if one is involved in any sort of accident or dispute while riding on the roads, the case may be held against one, that one was not following the recommendations. And one's insurance policy might not provide cover.
Dont get me wrong. I learned to ride and school the horse in order to hack. Hacking is my main interest and pleasure. But I also did the BHS Riding and Road safety course and one had to study the Highway code in relation to riding on roads.
 

Caol Ila

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She is of a size that I could jump on her to keep her ticking over, but there's a massive fly in the ointment her in that I myself don't ride. At all. Nada. I'd love to learn but I fear I would add to the problem rather than helping to solve it! But other adults, yes sure.

Actually it's older teenagers and adults who are riding & competing her now, except for pony club which I would really rather she didn't do but that involves a difficult conversation again.

It's not that the people selling would be risking their reputation, it's all the other freelance people who have worked with this pony who have no direct connection to the RS. Plus the fact that person after person has lined up telling me what an amazing pony she is and how lucky we are to have her (which I agree with btw). None of which at all guarantees there are no health issues, I'm absolutely well aware of that and I do plan on getting her a full check over by the vet ASAP.
Have I read this correctly? Older adults and teenagers are competing your pony and using her in the pony club?? Plural?? It sounds like the horse is getting her socks worked off. I don't think that's fair on the pony or your daughter.

I agree with just about everyone on this thread. Having lots of different people riding the horse won't do the horse or your daughter any favors. It suits the riding school, for sure, but I don't think it's in the best interest of your daughter or the pony. However, it isn't stupid to have more experienced riders sitting on the horse occasionally, as your daughter is still a novice. When I got my first horse, we got into a mess (I was 13) and my parents ended up paying a trainer to ride her once per week (in addition to weekly lessons where I rode under said trainer's supervision), just to keep the horse on the straight and narrow. You could find a more experienced sharer, who would pay you for the privilege of riding the horse a couple times per week, or you could pay a pro to give the mare training rides, or you could find a skilled friend who is willing to be paid in beer (if I lived closer, I would offer, lol, but I think you're up north somewhere). Lots of options. That would keep the horse tuned up enough to the aids, so your daughter can learn, progress, and be safe, but it's not asking too much of the horse.

And who cares about outlines? That's my view these days, with my ex-feral, scared of arenas Highland.
 
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Winters100

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I would try it a week or 2 with the pony only being ridden by your daughter and see how it goes.
Here, people tend to use a "de gogue" when a pony needs to go in an outline and the rider isn't able to do so, it works particularly well for riding school horses.
I don't really like training aids but if your vet agrees with physio, I think it's worth a go.

People really use this device simply because the rider is not adequately experienced to get what they want from the horse? Wow. Over my dead body would I allow a child or novice to use this on any of mine.
 

teapot

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There are Pony Club activities/competitions and then there are Pony Club Centre activities/competitions - is the riding school you're at OP a PC Centre? Only ask because there's a huge difference between a PC centre four min dressage test on site, maybe a small clear round sj, and warm up - less than an hour of work perhaps, and the pony travelling off site to a PC Rally/Comp, being competed over maybe two rounds at decent height etc and travelling home again.

I have a love-hate relationship with working livery but if it's managed well, and depending on owner/kid involved, it can benefit the pony far better long term. I've seen parents take ponies off working livery because they thought it was doing 'too much' or 'being ruined by others', or flippant comments from visiting professionals, only for the brat who owned it to rag it senseless because it was a lot fresher, and end up breaking it in the process...

OP - have you spoken to the rs re workloads, set days off, who rides the pony etc? If they value you as a client and the pony, it should be an open two way conversation. Lightweight small capable teenagers would be ideal riders to keep the pony ticking over imho and means you're not worrying on the days you can't get there regarding exercise. We're also going into winter, you'll be thankful when it's lashing down that you're not there seven days a week ;)
 
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paddy555

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you have had a lot of excellent comments. You are trying very hard for your daughter and she is a very lucky young lady. :)

It seems the pony would be better at the RS as you daughter is happy there and so are you. I think you just need a rejig of the livery status. It is a case of standing up for what you and your daughter want not what suits them best. You have paid for the pony and it is up to you how it lives.
The more the pony is in the field and the less it is kept fit then in theory the more manageable it will be. A horse or pony of that age is starting to think about stiffness and arthritis and, as in a human, what helps is constant movement. So days in a stable don't help and wandering around a field does. So is there any reason why the pony can't be put out every morning and then if she wants it your daughter can go and catch it.

as food for thought are the riding lessons worth it? would individual lessons with an outside (or another) instructor be better. Perhaps someone who you daughter gets on well with who will deviate from the normal RS lessons and teach her things specific to her and the pony? lunging as you mention but also someone who will deal with her problems. For example someone has mentioned bolting. An instructor who will specifically explain why the pony bolts (I doubt it really bolts or your daughter would never get on again and you would be on here in blind panic :D) who can explain what to look for and how to stop it happening. Someone who really can just see your daughter's situation and offer tips for what she wants.
Alternatively if there is someone even a light adult who rides well but can't afford their own horse see if they could exchange a ride for some help for your daughter in teaching her or a similar arrangement. It doesn't have to be an instructor. Many average riders can do things like lunging and teach her.


Actually it's older teenagers and adults who are riding & competing her now, except for pony club which I would really rather she didn't do but that involves a difficult conversation again.

sorry not good on quotes. :D each time a horse competes there is a risk of injury especially on an older horse. If it is YOUR horse then it is in your interests to take great care of it. If it is someone else's horse there is to some extent it is not your problem and you are there to push the horse to jump the best round etc. It seems from your earlier posts that you are paying a lot of money both to buy the pony and to keep and insure it for other people to ride, compete and take to PC. In fact this pony does appear to be doing rather a lot of work probably because she is good at it. That does not always mean it is in her best interests.

If you can move the pony onto full livery then that is the time to have the conversation as to exactly what she is going to do and with whom. (or preferably not) I'm sure they won't like it and will probably give you a lot of plausible reasons as to why you shouldn't but the things that really matter here are the pony and your daughter and what you as the banker want.
 

ycbm

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My copy of the Highway Code says "Never ride a horse without a saddle and bridle."
It is correct that it may not be part of the highway code enforced by full law. But it is none the less in the Highway code.
This means (I was told) that, if one is involved in any sort of accident or dispute while riding on the roads, the case may be held against one, that one was not following the recommendations. And one's insurance policy might not provide cover.
Dont get me wrong. I learned to ride and school the horse in order to hack. Hacking is my main interest and pleasure. But I also did the BHS Riding and Road safety course and one had to study the Highway code in relation to riding on roads.
Agreed. It's a should, and it may make you liable for damages or non payment of your own damages in an accident but it isn't a legal requirement afaik.
.
 

Muddy unicorn

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If you’re a member of your local pony club could you call the DC and ask them to recommend a lightweight sympathetic teenager who could school the pony a couple of times a week. My daughter used to school a few ponies who were being a bit much for their novice owners. It had lots of benefits - the ponies got ridden by a more advanced rider, the novice owners could see someone only a little older than them getting the best out of their pony (and not being scared if it spooked etc) and my daughter got a bit of pocket money.
 

HashRouge

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Have I read this correctly? Older adults and teenagers are competing your pony and using her in the pony club?? Plural?? It sounds like the horse is getting her socks worked off. I don't think that's fair on the pony or your daughter.

I agree with just about everyone on this thread. Having lots of different people riding the horse won't do the horse or your daughter any favors. It suits the riding school, for sure, but I don't think it's in the best interest of your daughter or the pony. However, it isn't stupid to have more experienced riders sitting on the horse occasionally, as your daughter is still a novice. When I got my first horse, we got into a mess (I was 13) and my parents ended up paying a trainer to ride her once per week (in addition to weekly lessons where I rode under said trainer's supervision), just to keep the horse on the straight and narrow. You could find a more experienced sharer, who would pay you for the privilege of riding the horse a couple times per week, or you could pay a pro to give the mare training rides, or you could find a skilled friend who is willing to be paid in beer (if I lived closer, I would offer, lol, but I think you're up north somewhere). Lots of options. That would keep the horse tuned up enough to the aids, so your daughter can learn, progress, and be safe, but it's not asking too much of the horse.

And who cares about outlines? That's my view these days, with my ex-feral, scared of arenas Highland.
I agree with all of this. Horses really don't care about schooling and being worked in an outline, and I would be a little concerned about how much work your pony is doing. At 15 she may well be ready to slow down a bit, but it sounds like she is still in quite a significant amount of work. I don't think it would do any harm at all if just your daughter rode, especially if the pony gets plenty of field time too.
Loss of topline can be caused by a number of things. What I don't believe is that your pony, who has been a riding school pony for some time from the sound of things, would suddenly lose topline because she is now apparently being ridden by a worse calibre of rider. It's not that this can't happen, it's just that I don't really believe your pony will only previously have had the best riders. She's a riding school pony, it seems unlikely!
 

Pearlsasinger

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15 is not early for a Cushings diagnosis, I would get the pony tested and the vet to check out her hocks while they are there.


Reading the rest of your post, depending on her age, I'm just beginning to feel sorry for your daughter that she isn't being allowed by any of the adults in this scenario just to have fun with her first pony. I mean no criticism of you by that, you are taking the advice you are being given. I just wonder whether you should all move to a lower key place for a while.
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I would move the pony to a different yard. It sounds to me as if the staff at this one have expectations of a novice rider and an aging pony which are unrealistic. Your daughter will develop the skills that she needs to improve her riding by riding a variety of ponies and doing a variety of activites on them. Sympathetic instruction *some of the time* will also help her to develop as a rider but she also needs to be having fun on her pony, without any pressure.
I am sorry to say that you are beginning to come across in your posts as one of those mothers who wishes to fulfil her own ambitions through her children, please back off and let her enjoy the pony without pressure.
 

Palindrome

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People really use this device simply because the rider is not adequately experienced to get what they want from the horse? Wow. Over my dead body would I allow a child or novice to use this on any of mine.
It's actually really mild and acts a bit similarly to side reins. Some riding school horses go very hollow and it is difficult to get them to take the bit forward. It also allows a rider with wobbly hands to ride on a loose rein and for the horse to have a steady contact.
 

teapot

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It's actually really mild and acts a bit similarly to side reins. Some riding school horses go very hollow and it is difficult to get them to take the bit forward. It also allows a rider with wobbly hands to ride on a loose rein and for the horse to have a steady contact.
You'd be hard pressed to find a UK rs using a de gouge on its horses, outside of high level exam or staff training, and even then unlikely.
 

New2this

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I may get a bit of flack for saying this here..... but I have learned the hard way over the last months that sometimes, in the horsey world, a lack of knowledge and a bit of money can be taken advantage of.

Sounds like you and your daughter are so lovely. Also sounds like you are trying your level best for the pony. But something feels wrong about your posts!?! Especially the piece about others competing on her. Sounds a bit like they are taking the p*ss! I don’t mean to offend. I have been WAY too trusting at times too (only jst bought first horse 6 mths ago).

To my mind.... how can your pony bond with your daughter and produce that relationship if they have all these other riders.

If it were me, I d stop w the working livery. I d even think about moving yards. And I d look out for a really knowledgeable sharer.
 

New2this

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I think you need to get her tested for cushings, now is a good time to test. Loss of top line is a classic symptom. With a 14/15 yo pony I would be testing annually anyway. I would also, as advised, get the vet to check out the hocks and do a quick check of everything else. .

Having read through this thread I don't really understand it. Especially the last 4 lines of your post above. I don't see why other people have to ride your pony. If I was a child I would want my pony to myself and would be very upset if others rode it. I can see a point in paying or even just letting an experienced rider on board occasionally just to keep the pony tuned up but not for use in lessons. Why on earth are other riders who are bigger using a different saddle. Your saddle will have been fitted to your pony. Of course the RS say she loves her work. She is providing an income for them, she is another horse to use for clients. Why does she have to be fit? she is your daughter's pet and hobby. As long as she gets plenty of movement, out in a field will do, as well as some ridden she will be fine and will get fitter as your daughter progresses and wants to do more


I have never found equines love their work so much in a RS nor being ridden in an outline or jumping. What they really love is being a horse, being out in fields with others and eating.
Would it not be possible for you to simply pay the full livery rate, get rid of working livery and other riders and just let your daughter look after, bond with and ride her own pony. Let her ride as she wants and how she wants and have fun. As she makes progress at her own pace she will do more competitions or PC or rides out. What really matters is that she just enjoys her pony be it ridden in an outline or not.

I very much agree with the final para of post 25.

BTW I did rigid music exams all the way up to grade 8. Constantly making more progress, more pushing, always trying to achieve the next grade. I was successful but as a result I didn't like music and playing an instrument and still don't. No fun and no pleasure whatsoever. In post 24 you say you like to throw yourself into things. With horse riding on your own pony it is the total opposite end of the scale to rigid music exams. It is pleasure, fun. If your daughter has had a good time and enjoyed playing with her pony that is success not whether she has held the pony in an outline or how high she has jumped.
I did music up to grade 8 too. My final
Exam, I put down the cello and NEVER picked it up again. I did it 💯 for my mother who loved music and lived vicariously as she never got the chance when she was a child to learn. I loathed it. I wonder how many of us there are - kids who did music but really only wanted to muck around on a pony.
 

buddylove

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This might be a bit of an unpopular opinion so I shall don my tin hat..... kids need to ride ponies that test them, to progress. I'm not suggesting a dangerous pony, but one that is a bit fresh, or takes the mick every once in a while is not a bad thing. It teaches them some resilience, a sense of humour and an understanding that animals are not always perfect.
For me, taking the pony away from the RS and engaging a good instructor (who is used to teaching children) would be the way forward. Don't feel pressured to school this pony every day of the week. Mine are schooled twice a week tops, once being a lesson or PC rally, the rest of the time they slop about in the field, and hack out. Yes, occasionally they are little toads, but teaching the child to deal with the toad tantrums builds their confidence much more than trotting circles on a robot pony.
I don't think it is an easy job having kids with ponies, even if you are an experienced horse owner/rider yourself, even as an owner of nearly 30 years, I still have to stuff my fist in my gob and leave the professionals to it where my kids are concerned, especially as I am ready to throttle the kids most of the time 😊
 

Kat

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I would be a bit cautious about taking the pony off working livery against advice. It is entirely possible that the riding school like having the pony on working livery and just don't want to lose the use of her but it is also possible that they have the child's best interests at heart and actually are concerned about how the pony will behave in less work with a novice child and non-horsey Mum.


I have seen both.

I have ridden at quite a few riding schools regularly over the years and they vary hugely and so do their clients. Certainly at one they had a decent number of riders capable of schooling and improving a horse, the owner never deliberately acquired working livery horses, they were generally only taken on to help out the owner and if she said don't take it off working livery it was for a reason (she was often proven right). Other places would encourage an owner to keep the horse on working livery purely for their own convenience or cash flow.

As we don't know the school, the pony or the child it is difficult to know whether the advice to keep the pony working is good.

I would suggest that the OP starts by reducing the number of lessons the pony does and specifying who can ride it and see how the pony reacts.

If the school aren't willing to reach a compromise then definitely look at a sharer to ride a couple of times a week.
 

Kat

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I did music up to grade 8 too. My final
Exam, I put down the cello and NEVER picked it up again. I did it 💯 for my mother who loved music and lived vicariously as she never got the chance when she was a child to learn. I loathed it. I wonder how many of us there are - kids who did music but really only wanted to muck around on a pony.
And vice versa!

When I was a mad keen ponymad but ponyless kid I used to ride a pony for a girl who I am sure would have preferred a cello! She was terrified most of the time, and definitely didn't want the whizzy jumping pony she has. Mum however loved horses, had never had a pony as a kid and was trying to give her daughter what she would have loved.
 

Winters100

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It's actually really mild and acts a bit similarly to side reins. Some riding school horses go very hollow and it is difficult to get them to take the bit forward. It also allows a rider with wobbly hands to ride on a loose rein and for the horse to have a steady contact.
Sorry, not trying to be difficult, but why? Surely for a beginner, who is not capable of riding with contact, horses can be found who can be ridden without contact? Surely there is no point in the horse being on the bit if it is achieved by such contraption, or am I missing something?
 

bonnysmum

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Lots to cover. Firstly this one:

I am sorry to say that you are beginning to come across in your posts as one of those mothers who wishes to fulfil her own ambitions through her children, please back off and let her enjoy the pony without pressure.
I'm horrified to read that, couldn't be further from the truth. I'm simply trying to deal with my own gut feelings about what's right versus conflicting advice from so many different people (opinions offered here mirror the range of what I hear in real life). I want my daughter to enjoy looking after her pony and learn what she wants to learn at her own pace, end of story. But I don't want the pony getting so fresh and sparky that she terrifies my daughter into never wanting to ride again. Nor do I want to have taken on responsibility for an animal and end up doing it harm by ignoring what people with more experience are telling me. Nothing more to it than that I assure you.

It's very tricky on an internet forum to answer every question completely openly for obvious reasons!

Re competitions. No one is taking the pony anywhere to compete. These are competitions on site, which I am asked to provide the pony for and as often as not I say no.

Re working livery arrangements. @paddy555 - pony lives out on grass all year round, only brought to the yard on lesson days and caught by my daughter for riding at other times, or sometimes just for a groom or a bath. The RS has the pony for 3 days and she does up to two lessons on each of those days. On pony club days she does at least one of those sessions too but only if it's one of the RS's days. They have cut down her work a lot since I bought her and they do ask me about anything outside the agreed schedule. @Kat's description fits the kind of RS I understand this to be, the owner genuinely cares about her horses. I have had an issue recently with one member of the staff who seems to have more of an attachment to the pony than others, but I can't go into any more details here. But equally other people I know have taken their horses off working livery as they felt they were being used too much. I have my eyes open and I'm trying to find an arrangement that suits everyone and which, most importantly of all, is healthy for the pony.

Re bolting, probably it's my terminology that's wrong and also not wanting to go into precise details! She hasn't taken off with her in a gallop out in the open, we're talking a canter turning into a gallop in the school and freaking my daughter out. Most likely due to tension - it's being worked through, but yes she's lost her nerve just at the moment.

Because of where we live we are short on options, there's possibly one other yard I could consider. We're not in horse country in the south of England! My daughter is getting lessons from a variety of people at the moment as we figure out what approach works for her, some employed by the RS, some freelance. But regardless of who is teaching the lessons are always completely tailored to her & her pony. We're gradually figuring it out. I'm particularly looking forward to a lesson next week with somebody I really respect as a horsewoman and all round lovely person who has little history with this RS or this pony and can look at things with fresh eyes.

It's always interesting to read others' views though because it makes me think about things and consider other angles that may have escaped me otherwise.
 
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