What would you do...pony ignoring aids?

bex1984

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I took my pony xc schooling last sunday in preparation for doing a mini express eventing competition this weekend.

I've owned him for 6 years, and he's currently on loan to a riding school (who look after him brilliantly and he enjoys his life there) - I can ride him on his days off, so usually once a week.

He's always had times when he has been lazy, and a bit stubborn and nappy, but when he gets going he can be amazing.

On Sunday XC schooling he basically refused to do more than a lazy trot, couldn't get a proper canter and he stopped at every single teeny tiny jump. I think he was basically not happy about being out on his own.

He was even ignoring my whip, although I did get really cross with him at one point and he did then get moving a bit.

So - we're doing this express eventing (only 1ft9 XC) this weekend, and I'd really like any tips on how to get him moving and how to handle it if he is just completely ignoring me?
 

NellRosk

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Maybe stick some spurs on, squeeze with your leg if he doesn't respond give a firm tap with a schooling whip. If that doesn't work give a bigger squeeze and a firmer tap. Everytime you use your legs, back it up with a sharp tap from the whip and he should soon get the idea! Works for me and my rather laid back ID. Good luck!
 
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bex1984

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Maybe stick some spurs on, squeeze with your leg if he doesn't response give a firm tap with a schooling whip. If that doesn't work give a bigger squeeze and a firmer tap. Everytime you use your legs, back it up with a sharp tap from the whip and he should soon get the idea! Works for me and my rather laid back ID. Good luck!
Thanks - that's my usual approach but he was even ignoring a fairly firm smack with the whip - and I felt like I had to use my whip more than I like to :s
 

Micky

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Sounds like hes become dead to the leg...might be because he has several different people riding him and they can boot too hard to ask him to move forwards.....Try schooling him yourself..gently squeezing and lots of praise?
 

bex1984

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How is he when you ride him at the riding school?
Well, he's normally better 'at home'. I did camp on him this summer and we did a xc session and he did really well.

I think he was napping really in ignoring me because we were on our own. Normally I can get him going but I really struggled this time. I'm thinking he might do the same at this competition this weekend....
 

NellRosk

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Thanks - that's my usual approach but he was even ignoring a fairly firm smack with the whip - and I felt like I had to use my whip more than I like to :s
Yeah there's nothing more frustrating than when they just don't listen! If you continue with the schooling whip sooner or later he will get bored of you're nagging! He could also be lacking something in his diet? Make sure his diet is properly balanced with all the vits and mins he needs and possibly give him some oats for more oomph x
 

p87

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Sounds like hes become dead to the leg...might be because he has several different people riding him and they can boot too hard to ask him to move forwards.....Try schooling him yourself..gently squeezing and lots of praise?
I agree with this. I've seen so many good horses and ponies put into a riding school and a few months later they are dead to the leg, numb in the mouth, hollow backed and not enjoying their ridden life anymore. Such a shame.
If I were you I'd be watching over the lessons he is in and making note of the people you don't want riding him and approaching the YM about it.
 

bex1984

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Sounds like hes become dead to the leg...might be because he has several different people riding him and they can boot too hard to ask him to move forwards.....Try schooling him yourself..gently squeezing and lots of praise?
I only ride once a week so I don't think I can make that much difference ;) But thinking about it I rode him earlier that week at home and he was pretty awesome (for him!) - definitely listening to my leg then.

hmmm I think this is definitely a napping issue....
 

NellRosk

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Sounds like hes become dead to the leg...might be because he has several different people riding him and they can boot too hard to ask him to move forwards.....Try schooling him yourself..gently squeezing and lots of praise?
Also true, mine was extremely lethargic and was later diagnosed with a virus. But if he's not coughing or snotty or showing any other symptoms chances are he's just being lazy.
 

bex1984

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I agree with this. I've seen so many good horses and ponies put into a riding school and a few months later they are dead to the leg, numb in the mouth, hollow backed and not enjoying their ridden life anymore. Such a shame.
If I were you I'd be watching over the lessons he is in and making note of the people you don't want riding him and approaching the YM about it.
Definitely not the case here. I trust the staff 100%, and he really enjoys himself. He's spent all summer doing camps, own a pony days, field riding etc.
 

bex1984

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Also true, mine was extremely lethargic and was later diagnosed with a virus. But if he's not coughing or snotty or showing any other symptoms chances are he's just being lazy.
He does always get a bit quiet this time of year when his coat is changing. But like I say, he was fine ridden at home and I know him very well and pretty sure he's fine.

What I'm after is advice for what to do when you've got to a competition etc, you're in the middle of a field on your own and you've used your whip and your leg....and there's no response....?!
 

NellRosk

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He does always get a bit quiet this time of year when his coat is changing. But like I say, he was fine ridden at home and I know him very well and pretty sure he's fine.

What I'm after is advice for what to do when you've got to a competition etc, you're in the middle of a field on your own and you've used your whip and your leg....and there's no response....?!
Not sure what else to say apart from get a short whip, turn it upside down and give the pony a bloody great whack! Would not advocate doing this regularly though. But maybe just once is all he needs to wake him up
 

p87

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That's a relief, sounds like he has a great time!

I ride a horse who has days where she doesn't feel the need to go forward. I get my schooling whip and wave it briskly at the side of her head to make the swishy noise... and off she goes :)
Giving her a smack just results in a buck, so when I feel her ignoring my leg she gets the swishy noise plus a sharp kick to reinforce it, towards the end of the ride I'm not having to swish the whip at her as much, she starts listening to my leg.

It's a pity she's not the kind of horse to actually learn anything. Come the next day she has forgotten everything from the previous day. Sigh.

Damn good leg work out though ;)
 

brucethegypsycob

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Maybe your pony needs a rest from all the schooling he's doing with Learners in The riding school. How many days off a week does pony get. Does he ever just get turned away for a holiday in the field with his mates. Just a thought .....
 

MrsNorris

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I've owned him for 6 years, and he's currently on loan to a riding school (who look after him brilliantly and he enjoys his life there) - I can ride him on his days off, so usually once a week.
Perhaps he needs a day off every now and then? doesn't sound like he is getting any at the moment :)

Cross-posted with Bruce
 
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bex1984

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Maybe your pony needs a rest from all the schooling he's doing with Learners in The riding school. How many days off a week does pony get. Does he ever just get turned away for a holiday in the field with his mates. Just a thought .....
Yes, he gets 2 days off from the school a week, I usually but not always ride on one of those days, and they get a few breaks throughout the year (I think they had most of a week off at the start of Sept when the school hols finished).
 

bex1984

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NellRosk and P87 - thanks for the suggestions. A big whack does normally do the trick but was having little effect on sunday. I will defo try the swishy whip thing though, that sounds useful.
 
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