Horses - Behavior Issues, Breaking and Training/catching my sons pony


Hi there. I just read through a very long question and advise thread and loved and understood all that you said about changing food and keeping the pony moving when trying to catch him. I am really looking forward to putting these steps in place. However, will this work in a field with a number of other horses? My sons new pony (Bruno)was great at being caught even when with others but now he sends the rest of the herd on a galloping frenzi! When I am in the field, he hides behind the others and kicks them when sends them my way. I end up shouting at them and trying to keep out of their way but ( hate to say it out loud) I am scared that Im not going to get out of the way one day. I would love to turn him out on his own but where he is, there just isnt the room. I am going prepped tomorrow with fav treats and long whip but I am going worried. I can deal with him on his own, after all he is juat a little pony and I am the boss....... the others , Im not so sure I can control when he has set them off. He rides with my 6 year old son great and I trust that he would never do any thing to hurt him but I want to be able to catch him safely and I want my son to be apart of this niceness .
Your advise would be really helpful and you do seem the best to take advise from :)
Many thanks, Gemma and Cooper Standley xx

It will work in field with horses there besides him, but it will take longer.  And if it is cold where you are, may take longer still.

If you have access to a golf cart, or something like that, it would help.  Also depends how many others, and how much land too.

Usually, and this doesn't happen every time either, the rest of the horses will get tired of being chased, or aggravated by the one you are trying to catch, and I've even seen them bite the horse that is acting like the village idiot as he goes tearing by.  They will quit running and acting up and just stand around, some of them with a really disgusted look on their faces too.

I would take a lash whip or lunge whip, but something at least 6 feet long, with a lash of 72 inches, as that gives you enough room to get the horses off of you if the pony decides to use them as a offensive line.  Make sure to make yourself as big as you can too, swell up and use a deep voice and the whip if the horses come at you also.  You need to make yourself as formidable as you can here.

I would keep any treats hidden in pocket and not offer to other horses, as you don't want to get crowded by them.  

And you are smart to be thinking of the things that can happen when in a crowd of horses, as many people get hurt when they try to catch one that way.

Use of the whip, and less shouting and more NO as you come across the horse in front will do you better I think too.  And best to make the first move, as you can drive horses away even before pony gets a chance to kick and get them moving.  Approach them with idea of pony only, and make any others move out of your way, as they will then see you as a bigger threat than the pony is.  That way they will see you as a leader and not approach you as readily.

With the pony, approach at his shoulder, and if, when you get within a certain distance, he moves off, get after him and make him move.  Don't run after him, just a walk, and even stay put, as if others circle in the area you are in, he will come back to them more than likely.  Try again to go up to him.  May have to repeat this a couple of times.  And depending on how sporting the pony is, it may not work.  

That said, is there any way you could section off a small corner, so that you could get him in there? We used to make a creep feeder situation for the TB foals, that only they could get under the boards, so they would get their feed and the mares wouldn't be able to eat it.  Depending on the size of the pony, something only wide enough for him to go through?  If he is more horse sized of course, that won't work, but worth thinking about.  

Alternately, IF there is any place that you could get pony into when you catch him, and grain him a little bit each time, and I mean a 1/2 cup only, that might be enough to get him to come up to you and be waiting.  Also, where is your son riding him at, not with the other horses is he?  Also might give him a little pinch of grain after riding too in the same area.

Do you live where pony is?  Or is he boarded?  If someone could catch him up and leave him for feeding each day, he would pretty quickly learn to stand at gate and be caught too.  They develop a routine easily.

But make that whip count, and if other horses want to join in the melee, accommodate them and send them off too.

Hope this helps.


Horses - Behavior Issues, Breaking and Training

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Melanie Rowley


Questions relating to first time, or inexperienced horse owners. Other questions as needed. Questions on American Saddlebreds. Old fashioned training advice, riding advice for beginners, and general care questions. Behavior problems, with emphasis on thinking through aspects of problems that might not seem an issue at first.


About to turn 55. My father was a Saddlebred trainer, and I grew up around horses. I have also worked as a Master Saddlebred Show Horse Groom, working with Dale Pugh, Art Simmons, Sonny Sutton, and others. I also have worked with Quarter Horses, and Thoroughbreds on a mare and foal operation in Alabama. I have owned for years, and currently have two teenaged geldings. I also for many years have taught riding lessons, to adults and children, working with beginners just learning, and older adults who have lost their confidence, or wanted to get "back in the saddle." I was lucky to be around many of the best horsemen in MO, and AL and learn from them, and strive always to think through a situation and work to keep riders and horses safe. Those also include the many talented grooms, and farriers I met along the way.

Some college. General studies towards a nursing degree, which derailed due to divorce. Horse skills learned through over 50 years of watching, learning, doing and absorbing as I grew.

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