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horsetrekker (horsetrekker)
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Username: horsetrekker

Post Number: 47
Registered: 04-2014
Posted on Monday, June 04, 2018 - 08:22 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I am learning to pony my miniature horse from my saddle horse and would love to compare notes with others. Currently, we are working on separate lessons to train the big horse to neck rein well (so itís easier to have my other hand free for holding the pony line) and practicing keeping pace walking and trotting side by side, going straight and with some simple turns left and right. To date, weíve always had a header (DH walking near the miniís head). Would anyone else like to share about ponying/dallying?
Tam Cristman (muleman)
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Registered: 06-2018
Posted on Monday, June 04, 2018 - 09:15 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Allmost all the horses/mules I pony off do not neck rein. I hold the reins as if I am driving with one hand. Using the pinky and the pointer finger to steer. I use a 12í lead line to pony any equine I am bringing along for training. If you ride western, do not wrap the lead around the horn. I have seen a guys horse get pulled over with him on it while ponying a green horse behind him. Make sure you can safely switch hands as needed to keep control of your mount and the one being ponied.
Abby Peterson (abbyp)
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Username: abbyp

Post Number: 261
Registered: 06-2014
Posted on Monday, June 04, 2018 - 11:08 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Definitely make sure the horse you're ponying "leads up real free". Even if it's a mini, it's super annoying when you're trying to ride one horse and the other one is dragging on the rope or crowding the pony horse.

Also make sure your saddle horse is OK with a rope going around behind his butt, under his tail, and around his legs. You can have a really bad wreck if the horse being ponied crosses behind and the horse you're riding has never felt a rope under his tail before.

And if things do go south - just drop the rope! It is much safer for everyone to have one loose horse vs. other bad things that can happen if you don't let go of the rope.
horsetrekker (horsetrekker)
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Username: horsetrekker

Post Number: 48
Registered: 04-2014
Posted on Monday, June 04, 2018 - 12:49 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Tam and Abby. Tam, welcome to the forum!

You both raise some great points and I am grateful. Iím finding some things to be tricky. About the reins, when things are going smoothly, I like the way it feels with the mini on my left, two hands on the reins and the line threaded through my left hand, one loop around the horn (so the line still slides) if Iím riding western, and through my right (dominant) hand. My hands are small; I donít think I could do the bridged reins in one hand with steering using two fingers.

Tam, that is awful about one horse pulling the other horse down! I definitely want to avoid that kind of wreck.

One time when we were practicing, the mini got startled and spun around. I felt I needed separate control on the closest line hand, but my saddle horse was confused by my switching to neck rein use. The header had to come to our rescue. Even if I improve my rein handling and aids, I think it would only help if the horse understands what it means if I feel a need to switch to rein pressure on the neck, donít you think?

I tried to pony an old horse a few years ago. She was docile but acted grumpy and annoyed about it. It kinda made me laugh. Ponying was beneath her.

The mini seems very happy not to be left behind at home. He is forward and eager, and heís so smart (I guess they are in general) he figures out what I want quickly. Abby, I donít know if I would have thought to just let go in the event of trouble. It seems obvious now you mention it, but I am naturally inclined to hang on and donít know if I would have let go without your permission :-)

The potential situation that gives me the most concern is trying to ride single file and having the line/rope get around the horseís butt or legs and annoying or frightening him. And I donít know if a little (or a lot) of rope desensitizing could guarantee safety. Heís a good horse, but I can imagine that situation getting ugly. If desensitizing fails, letting the line go seems the best solution.

A rider used to live in my neighborhood who would often come by on her horse, ponying a mini. She made it look so easy! Same with the well-trained movie horses. They go single file with a long pony line, like when a pack horse is ponied off a saddle horse, and everyone seems relaxed and happy.

How long does it typically take for the two horses to make peace with the situation and go along quietly? Are some horses not suited to the job?
bill gokey (bronco_billy)
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Username: bronco_billy

Post Number: 6273
Registered: 07-2008
Posted on Monday, June 04, 2018 - 02:25 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Make sure you have a solid, safe, well trained horse to pony with.
Make sure the horse/pony has had his ground work and obeys commands and well mannered, if not, go back to basics.
Nobody has been on this horse yet but both horses are solid with ground work.
I've ponied him in the round pen a few times. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mq1cDstP1lc&index=2&list=PLCLgDSUbXZD9BxACJIqvtQLSwS1Vx26it
Abby Peterson (abbyp)
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Username: abbyp

Post Number: 262
Registered: 06-2014
Posted on Monday, June 04, 2018 - 03:12 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I think that the big thing with single file is to have a really good feel for the length of your rope. If the mini follows RIGHT behind, and your saddle horse is OK with the rope touching him on his butt and rear legs, then you shouldn't have a problem, but you definitely want the slack to be kept to a minimum so the rope doesn't get snagged on something or trip up either of your horses. If the rope is too long or the mini lags behind and you pay out a lot of extra line, then he suddenly catches up, you don't want to end up with a big bunch of extra rope dragging along.

Although ideally a horse should be able to pony off either side and the one being ponied should be cool with being on either side, it may be easier at first to have the horse being ponied in your right hand since that's how most horses are used to being led. If you want to pony off the other side then get your pony horse used to being led from both sides, and also get your saddle horse used to you mounting and dismounting from the off side just in case you need that.

IME it varies a lot how quickly a ponying pair "comes together" - some situations are difficult, for example my old Arab ponied very well, and I could pony off him very well also except if I tried to pony a horse from his herd that was a "big boss" of him. Then he'd be anxious and it would take a lot more mediation from me to keep the horse being ponied in line and respecting me and my horse even though at liberty he'd be bossing my guy up and down the field. So I'd say, if your saddle horse is the boss of your mini, it will probably be quite easy. If the reverse, it may be harder!

And you definitely have my permission to drop the rope at any time. :-) I would dally around the horn only if it would slip free with relatively gentle pressure - in other words just enough to save me if I accidentally dropped the rope, but not enough that anyone could get hung up. You can also get quite injured if you have the rope tied to the horn and the horse being ponied really pulls, you can get bad rope burn on your leg or pitched completely off your horse if the rope gets under your leg and the horse suddenly takes out the slack. So again, just paying attention to the length of your rope is a good safety measure.

But have fun! Ponying can be a great training tool and also a great way to exercise more than one horse at a time. :-)
horsetrekker (horsetrekker)
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Username: horsetrekker

Post Number: 49
Registered: 04-2014
Posted on Monday, June 04, 2018 - 03:34 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Nice video, Bill... thanks! Both the horses look so sweet. Your trail is really nice. It's wide enough for two and the footing looks great. It looks like the line to the halter of the horse you are ponying is one of the reins on the saddle horse. Is that the case? Do you recommend trying that?

I think my saddle horse is pretty solid and safe, but experience tells me to be cautious. He's 17 now. I can take him for a quiet ride down the road with a bareback pad and a Gawani Pony Boy bitless bridle (http://i.pinimg.com/736x/db/7c/f5/db7cf5fce205ea5f5559780b164420d7.jpg), but he used be a very hot horse when he was young and I can't be sure there isn't still a spark in there somewhere. He did throw some spring canter bucks the first time out on the trail this year, but all my horses have done some of that.

Fortunately, he and the mini are BFFs. I think, by listening to good advice and taking it slow, we'll be okay.
horsetrekker (horsetrekker)
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Username: horsetrekker

Post Number: 50
Registered: 04-2014
Posted on Monday, June 04, 2018 - 04:21 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

These tips are really great. I am so glad I started the thread.

Abby, the advice about the rope sounds really good. I will stick with a regular lead-line length rope until we are all very comfortable. I started with the mini on my left, just because it seemed more comfortable for me, and did that for a few practice sessions. The next time out, after watching some videos in which all the riders had the pony on the right, I switched sides. The mini seemed confused, so I switched him back. I'll work on getting him used to both sides.

Both the saddle horse and the mini have dominant, bold personalities. It was pretty amusing watching them work out territory in the beginning. Now they bump into each other regularly and seem quite amicable. (That might be different if there were more horses around.) So, in this sense, I think we're off to a good start.

The mini weighs about 180 lbs., but that is still a lot more than me and I'm sure he could throw me off balance or give me a rope burn if I'm not careful. I like the way Bill, in the video, comforted his pony horse by patting his neck and head, but my mini is too close to the ground for me to reach. I found a pic of him online: http://www.mochaminiatures.com/Scout%205.jpg. His registered height is 35.75" and my big horse is 15.2 hands.

I do have big fun goal. My big horse loves to follow DH on his bicycle and will follow him just about anywhere. The mini doesn't mind the bike, either. The goal is for everyone to be comfortable with ponying and to trailer over to Great Brook State Park with DH, the bike, and the horses for a fun ride on the nice wide trails all together. No one will need to be stuck home alone.

I would love to read about more fun experiences others have had ponying. Anyone?
bill gokey (bronco_billy)
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Username: bronco_billy

Post Number: 6274
Registered: 07-2008
Posted on Monday, June 04, 2018 - 06:27 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

horse trekker, that was just a lead rope.
horsetrekker (horsetrekker)
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Username: horsetrekker

Post Number: 51
Registered: 04-2014
Posted on Monday, June 04, 2018 - 06:31 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bill, okay, thank you.
jcluvhrses (jcluvhrses)
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Username: jcluvhrses

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Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2018 - 07:43 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I would make sure both horses know and respond to voice commands. When I use to pony I never used a long rope and always kept the ponied horses head near my horses shoulder. I know that people do pony with longer lines but to me that is a disaster waiting to happen. You don't want the ponied horse or pony to be able to build up any momentum in the wrong direction. Going single file might be a big challenge. It definitely is easier if your horse knows how to neck rein.
Everything is a choice.
horsetrekker (horsetrekker)
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Username: horsetrekker

Post Number: 52
Registered: 04-2014
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2018 - 09:04 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

They are pretty good with voice commands. Getting up momentum in the wrong direction sounds pretty frightening. Both the mini and the large horse are naturally high-spirited. The idea of ponying single file is looking more unlikely. Weíll have to trailer out to wider trails so we can go side by side. Or, maybe make a wider trail through the back of our property.
Mark G (prtraining)
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Username: prtraining

Post Number: 210
Registered: 10-2007
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2018 - 09:16 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Your horses are capable. . .. ..

https://www.facebook.com/official.horse.lovers/videos/1648717041840828/
horsetrekker (horsetrekker)
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Username: horsetrekker

Post Number: 54
Registered: 04-2014
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2018 - 10:03 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Mark, that is so adorable!!

I wish our cat werenít afraid of the horses :-)
delilah (delilah)
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Username: delilah

Post Number: 3900
Registered: 10-2007
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2018 - 09:23 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I trained my 4 year old to pony my 2 year old in the ring. Both horses had tons of ground work and knew verbal commands. The 4 year old (Delilah) was a total rock star and had no problem with the occasional bump by the younger horse. They did fine in an open field and on a long farm trail. Know your horses well.
bill gokey (bronco_billy)
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Username: bronco_billy

Post Number: 6276
Registered: 07-2008
Posted on Wednesday, June 06, 2018 - 06:24 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The ponies in Marks video are awesome, what everyone is looking for with small kids. I've had several ponies, most bought from actions. Some were flighty, didn't want to be caught, especially without restraints.
They can be taught but it takes patients and understanding. A 15.2h horse ponying a mini isn't quite like horse on horse where contact and reassurance is at close quarters like in my video. I've never tried it from horse to mini but I'm sure it can be done. Lots of ground work and tagging along to start.
horsetrekker (horsetrekker)
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Username: horsetrekker

Post Number: 55
Registered: 04-2014
Posted on Wednesday, June 06, 2018 - 04:10 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thank you, Delilah and Bill!

It is very dispiriting when horses won't listen or be caught easily. These two have both been naughty and sassy at times, but they are pretty well-behaved in general these days, and I have fun teaching them new words and things. On rainy days, I let them play in the barn aisle one at a time. They know to go back in their stalls when I say, "Go back in your house." Of course, they both continue to fuss about fly spray. Halters and positive reinforcement (treats) help a lot :-)

A surprising obedience thing happened one time when I still had a herd of three large horses. One morning, I let them all into a paddock that led to a pasture, but I had forgotten to open the pasture gate. They galloped, all excited, up to the gate, with the leaderómy current rideóin front. I came up behind, but I hesitated, not wanting to push through them and possibly get jostled. So, while I was standing behind them all, I yelled, "Back!" and, son of a gun, the leader backed away from the gate and they all let me through and stood still while I opened the gate and moved to the side to let them pass. I don't kid myself: the horse gods were with me that day.

I'm excited to get back to practicing ponying. I'll let you know how it goes. Meanwhile, please write if you have any more tips or want to share stories.
tbtrakh (tbaby)
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Username: tbaby

Post Number: 3493
Registered: 02-2009
Posted on Thursday, June 07, 2018 - 11:00 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Tried ponying once, and discovered my mare is NOT a good horse to try it with!!!
Should have remembered that many years ago a very gentle and kind positive dressage trainer tried long-lining her to help build up strength somewhere, and almost got the living daylights kicked out of her

Her Royal Highness apparently is picky about personal space and pressure in certain areas. Years of being the wimp in group turnout and many severe injuries requiring stitches, plus having to be separated from her own mother early due to her mother leaving scars all over her hind end clearly visible now 29 years later, have left her needing distance from other horses. On trails she'd make horrible marish faces and snap and bite and snake her head and neck even at her buddies and with my trainers riding her. And buck like a rodeo bronc with anyone wearing spurs.
So smart me decides one day to try to pony her son, who's a young stallion, maybe a yearling or not even then. He'd been ponied successfully many times by my friend on her gelding riding with me on my mare. The three of us and our two dogs had gone out in a little group for months just fine and she'd seen her son ponied and he'd behaved fine. She and her son were very attached and he wasn't acting studdish at all yet.
However the minute I took the lead rope and walked him next to her and he was that close crowding her while I rode, he did nothing, she tried to pull her head down and start bucking like a rodeo bronc again. While walking on a concrete driveway! I had to let him loose and yank her head up to get her under control since I wasn't going to let her throw me on concrete or risk her slipping and falling.

So definitely know your horse's quirks and personality. And don't try ponying for the first time alone, or on concrete! Luckily I had someone with me to either catch him or hold her while I jumped off and caught him, I don't remember which. But I didn't want him running off to the road!
horsetrekker (horsetrekker)
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Username: horsetrekker

Post Number: 56
Registered: 04-2014
Posted on Friday, June 08, 2018 - 06:13 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Tbtrakh, it sounds like your mare is a survivor and she is lucky to have a mom who understands her and works to keep everyone safe.

That is good advice to keep an eye on the surroundings where we pony and try to plan for possible situations. Weíll also continue to go out with DH for a while. Weíre lucky to have his help.
tbtrakh (tbaby)
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Username: tbaby

Post Number: 3500
Registered: 02-2009
Posted on Monday, June 11, 2018 - 04:28 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yes she's definitely a fighter. In retrospect it was stupid of me to try it for the first time on concrete. But I think I just wanted to lead them back to their field and put him back out so I could groom her and didn't really plan to officially pony. Just an impulsive decision to try to save time, which of course wasted time instead. I really thought since they were mother and son and so bonded they'd be fine and her personal space issues with other horses wouldn't be a problem for a short walk. But I guess a stallion walking right next to/behind a mare wasn't my smartest move lol. Even though he didn't do anything.
Definitely do more thinking and planning than I did. If he'd run to the road he could have easily been killed. Luckily there was grass and other horses to investigate and my trustworthy old dog who never failed to herd a loose horse to help me get him long before the road.
bill gokey (bronco_billy)
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Username: bronco_billy

Post Number: 6336
Registered: 07-2008
Posted on Friday, September 07, 2018 - 12:24 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSuIEsTBIoU&list=PLCLgDSUbXZD8B97WOxcKpFk1Cdzf_ZcZp&index=22

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