A friend and I were discussing how tricky it can be to manage ponies so that they stay well mannered and have an appropriate level of energy for their rider.
When we were teenagers helping at the local riding school we were always “squashing” the ponies. If the riding school ponies had had a quiet week, or put a toe out of line, then we rode them. Reminding them to stay round the edge of the arena, not to bomb off in canter, and to give them a more exciting work out – like bigger jumping or going cross country, for example. It meant that they were all very well behaved, and we teenagers had lots of fun!
I see an awful lot of children struggling with their ponies; in Pony Club, riding schools, everywhere.
Reflecting on this, I’ve formulated my plan for when I have ponies, if I have kids.
Ponies evolved to survive in the mountains, so need to be intelligent to survive. The problem is that when they aren’t psychologically challenged they become naughty. It becomes a full time job balancing their fitness level with job satisfaction and I think many parents under estimate the commitment needed by them, particularly if young children are involved.
I would have a suitable pony, probably about 11 hands for my small child but have one or two sharers for them so that four days of the week were occupied. I would have a share arrangement that included at least one riding lesson a week, so I could supervise the sharers to a certain degree, and I would also…
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