New pony - can someone hold my hand please?

(57 Posts)
umbrunion Sat 01-Jun-13 15:04:08

New pony arrived yesterday. I know I'm expecting a lot after one day but he is sooooo grumpy :-( He won't let anyone go near him in the field - ears straight back, turns his back and trots off. Caught him with a bucket this morning and led him to the house for a groom - he was so strong on the leadrein I couldn't let my daughter lead him. He wasn't bad tied up and when being groomed he seemed to relax slightly. Took him back to his field, he was strong (I had to wrap the leadrein round his nose) but we did a couple of halts and waits and then walking off and he wasn't too bad. I don't like the idea of ignoring him in his field for a few days (as others have suggested) as I think he should start getting used to what we will do immediately - we have a pretty consistent routine.

I feel really sorry for dd2 because her old pony was so friendly in the field and easy to do. He was very nappy when ridden though and difficult in the school so I guess you can't have it all.

Just a bit worried that this pony might never settle and always be grumpy :-( and when do you think we should attempt riding him??

umbrunion Sun 02-Jun-13 22:36:08

Erm...no I've not lunged for about 30 years but owned ponies for 20 (with gaps!) . Sorry if I came across as someone who didnt know very much - I think you carry on learning with ponies and every pony is different with its own challenges - with all my experience I had never seen such an unsettled pony. However he was a gazillion times better today so everything is positive.

Littlebigbum Mon 03-Jun-13 00:59:36

Thats good Umbrunion

MrRected Mon 03-Jun-13 01:34:12

Glad to hear that things have settled a bit.

Try to give him some leeway as he settles in. Sounds to me like he's a bit anxious about the new setting. Nothing that a bit of extra love and treats won't fix.

I'd bet my bottom dollar that some extra attention/grooming and he'll be following you around like a faithful old dog.

Good luck smile

Korma - I'm not sure why you are so surprised re the lungeing. I have ridden since I was 4, done Pony Club stuff, hunted, fun rides etc and owned my own 2 for over 10 years now. When I first got my horse I had never lunged - in the environment I learned in it wasn't something that was done, perhaps that was very old fashioned, but lunging and arenas etc just didn't come our way - I'm not sure why but it just didn't. That didn't make me a novice owner, and I do lunge regularly now (and actually it isn't that difficult, common sense and patience are all that's required, plus an extra pair of hands at the beginning.....)

The problem now is that there are so many gadgets/feeds/extras available that the choice to a new owner is bewildering, and although advice is nearly always hugely helpful, sometimes there is just too much and it is hard to know what the "right" thing to do is.

I am currently helping a new owner, and every time I show her something I always preface it with "this is how I do it and it works for me, but it may need adapting for your horse..."

More often than not as both umbrunion and needastroneone have discovered it is patience and calmness that wins the day...

umbrunion Mon 03-Jun-13 10:25:00

Did a quick vox pop about lunging with the four other mums at PC on Sunday. Only one ever lunged. One got the groom to do it! and the other two never had. All very nice well looked after ponies. So I don't think its that unusual.

Booboostoo Mon 03-Jun-13 21:24:26

Glad it's all going well!

Riding is always preferable to lunging imo, but lunging can come in handy when you don't have much time, with a youngster, with a fresh horse, a pony that's too small to be ridden by an adult, etc.

As for it being easy, I thought I knew what I was doing with lunging...until someone taught me! It's a surprisingly skilled job and you can get a lot more in terms of engagement, control of the shoulders, collection, transition work and lateral work if someone gives you some tips.

Glad it is all working out.

Start as you mean to go on is motto.

frosty

I'm surprised because in over 25 years of having horses I don't think I've ever met an owner who couldn't lunge

Not saying it's right or wrong, just that I thought it was a basic skill

horseylady Tue 04-Jun-13 15:45:46

Just add, my pony is amazing in all aspects of life. Apart from the fact you can't catch her without feed and you can not clip her without sedation. She's also no madly keen on hugs and kisses!! But she's wonderful, gives you her all!

froubylou Tue 04-Jun-13 20:16:07

Id rather someone admit they cant lunge and have lessons than assume its easy and have a go.

Any muppet can chase a horse around with a whip. Not many I have seen can do it correctly. Not many can even put the right gear on in the right place lol. And done wrong it can be dangerous to horse and handler.

Glad to hear he seems to be settling in ok. Work on your realtionship on the ground and the rest will come.

umbrunion Tue 04-Jun-13 21:44:00

He's so grumpy on the ground but it does seem worse when food is involved. At feedtime he puts his ears back and swishes his tail which frightens dd. We need to ride him more as he is much better then -at this rate dd is going to end up being scared of him which isnt going to be good. I feel cross that the people we biught him from didnt mention how grumpy he was with food. He's really strong on the ground too -cant imagine dd ever being able to lead him so what will happen at pony camp? :-( really worried we've got the wrong pony for us.

Pixel Tue 04-Jun-13 22:29:48

He might only be grumpy with food because he is feeling insecure. Make sure he always gets to eat in peace and hopefully he will realise he doesn't have to 'protect' his food. Dpony was terribly grumpy about food when we first got him and we found out that a previous owner had just put his bucket under the fence and expected him to eat whilst defending himself from the other horses. Now he knows he will always get to finish his food he is very relaxed.

You could try some kind of control halter if he is really strong with your dd. I've got the Monty Roberts one for dhorse as he can be a bit of a thug and it's made a big difference.

Don't be downhearted yet, these are common teething troubles. Even though we've had quite a few horses we've still had the odd 'what have I done buying this' moment with each of them. It soon wears off smile.

umbrunion Tue 04-Jun-13 22:41:25

Thank you Pixel that it just what I needed to hear. Dh has just pointed out that we've only had him a week and I don't trust him and he doesn't trust me. I'll try and relax a bit. He was a very good boy indeed on the hack on Sunday and that's what I need to focus on. Dh has also just reminded me that when we got dd1s first pony he was moody and tried to bite her - we had him for 2 years and I had completely forgotten about that as he ended up being so chilled.

froubylou Wed 05-Jun-13 07:02:17

Just give him time. And space. Its so tempting with a new pony (especially when children are involved) for them to want to spend as much time as possible with them. Grooming and cuddling and pampering. If hes unsure of himself and you and his new envioroment it could just be a bit overwhelming for him!

He may not be as 'smiley' as your other pony, but ponies like people all differ. We have a cobmare who pulls the most amazing,alarming faces at you but is as soft as a brush, just tells you constantly what she thinks of things via her facial expressions.

With regards to food, leave him to eat in peace for now. My A gelding is a bit of a 'foody'. Fine with us doing rugs up etc round him but if one of the chickens or another pony goes too near they are liable to loose parts of their body lol.

Try and focus on the ridden side of him for now and the rest will fall into place over time. He may never be a 'people pony' on the ground but as long as he is trustworthy and dependable when ridden, and you can do what you need to do on the ground with him I'd be happy with that personally. And if he is strong to bring in for now could you slip his bridle over his headcollar just until you get more confident with him?

Pinkponiesrock Wed 05-Jun-13 09:58:12

Does he get fed the minute he gets to the yard when you lead him in? I do a bit of schooling when not having babies and some of the ones I have had in expected food as soon as they got to the yard and would drag me in to get it. However none of mine ever have food waiting for them when they get in so they don't bother. I also never ever feed by hand, everything comes out a bucket.

I have one mare who is food obsessed, she arrived as a skinny 4 yo from an over crowed field so had got used to fighting for and guarding her food. We just have to accept that she will do a lot of pawing, stamping, head shaking when her bucket appears but we just ignore it as long as she steps back and waits for me to put her bucket in to her. She gets more difficult to handle if she isn't handle regularly and isn't the most trusting of people.
A lot of groundwork and teaching him to be respectful of your space might help with your boy.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 05-Jun-13 11:29:21

IMO if you feel you have the wrong pony you probably have got the wrong one. If you intend to keep trying with him, you've had good advice here. Follow it. Give him time and space.

umbrunion Wed 05-Jun-13 19:44:25

Thanks all. He is now absolutely refusing to be caught! I'll leave him be for a few days then think again. Maybe just take some treats up although I did that today and fed him from my hand and he nipped me (really by mistake I could tell) but I yelped and he scarpered! Poor thing we really aren't getting off to a good start. Yesterday I patted him over the electric fence, not realising it was still on and and gave us both an electric shock. shock No wonder he doesn't want to come near me, poor thing.

Booboostoo Wed 05-Jun-13 22:20:49

To be honest I think you are overthinking it. Almost every horse will have little niggles. If I think back to mine almost all of them have gone through a period where they may have been difficult to catch or lively to turn out, or something similar that needed to be worked through.

If you are going to use food as a reward you need to train him the same way you would a dog or any other animal. Teach him a 'leave it' command before you do anything else with food with him.

Forget about the yelping and the electric fence, just go up to him confidently, get him in and get him doing some work. He needs to be kept busy, both mentally and physically, otherwise he will muck about more.

umbrunion Mon 10-Jun-13 11:33:56

He's loads better. I feel a bit embarrassed reading over my old posts. I think I am neurotic grin

He isn't even strong to lead now unless he's making a swipe at the cow parsley on the way. I feel totally happy to leave the girls fussing over him when he's tied up. He even let me pull his mane.

He still doesn't particularly like being caught but I am leaving a headcollar on him for now. With a bucket and a firm hand he's fine.

He's put weight on (according to weightape) in a week though and I can see I am really going to have to keep an eye on it. He's on a small section of the paddock (about 1/4 of an acre if that) and he's grazed it very short. I give him a handful of hi fi lite and the recommended amount of top spec lite balancer. Neighbour who rides saw him in the paddock and said I should give him hay. Not sure that he needs it seeing as he has put on weight (he's definitely not doing as much work as he was but hopefully that will change in the next couple of weeks).

Glad he has settled down.

Booboostoo Mon 10-Jun-13 11:59:46

Great news, glad it's all working out!

Make sure the headcollar is field safe, otherwise he could have a nasty accident.

With the grass coming through I would be tempted to cut out all his hard feed. Mine manage to compete off grass with no hard feed so they don't all need hard feed. If he is putting on weight you need to stay on top of this now.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Mon 10-Jun-13 12:08:00

If he is gaining weight, he needs more exercise and less food. FGS don't feed him more! Cut out the feed. Even if the grass is very short, every morning there will be an entire crop of teeny green shoots, which have just popped up and are full of nutrients.It is short because he is eating the lot, every day.
Look for a field safe headcollar. They break in emergencies and are much safer.

umbrunion Mon 10-Jun-13 12:19:33

The vet recommended I give him balancer - its top spec lite with a handful of lite chaff so I can't believe it is going to be that bad. Apparently he had 2 full scoops of Mollichaff plus pony nuts and hay in last home, plus out in the day.

I agree hay will be too much for him.

He's being ridden about 3 x a week at the moment. Wonder if I could ride him...I'm 5 8 though and a good 10 stone 10 and he's only 13.1..

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Mon 10-Jun-13 15:48:38

Why did the vet recommend the balancer?
There is absolutely no reason you couldn't ride him. He will be fine!

Caveat. I am not horsey and this is dd's first pony.

We have a 13 hand welsh cross. He has a very slight build. He's not fed at all at the moment and hasn't been for a month, doesn't seem bothered about the hay left in the feeder. When fed, he gets one scoop of hi fi original, nothing else.

I admit that he's very lean but fit iyswim?

Not that I know anything but seems a lot of feed and wondered if required now the grass is through?

Happy to be corrected!

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