View Full Version : Shetland re-schooling
26th Jul 2002, 04:17 PM
I love riding hope everyone enjoys it as much as i do!!!!
One question, can anybody give me any information on re-schooling a 15 yr old shetland pony he is fine on the lead rein but off it he stops and eats grass as we only have a small grass paddock to ride him in!
He gets bored easily and is difficult to steer and kick on when off the lead rein.
Any help would be really great!!!
Thanks a lot!!!!
26th Jul 2002, 05:39 PM
There's a really easy way to put a stop to the grazing when ridden problem - we used it a lot at the school I used to work at. Take a piece of baling twine, tie it onto the bit ring and then thread it along the cheek piece, through the browband and tie it onto the D-ring on the saddle. Do the same on both sides and it prevents the pony getting his head down to graze. It's known as a grass rein, or you can buy a similar leather device called a daisy rein.
Try varying what he does off the lead to help with the boredom - trotting poles, hacks out, lots of circles and so on. Good luck!
26th Jul 2002, 08:17 PM
If the child cannot get his head up and keep him going forward, then it's a case of stopping him getting his head down in the first place. A grass rein is the only answer.
I'd train the ankle biter to drive, this way you as an adult can take him in hand and sort out the manners, but then he can be ridden by kids when needed. No he's not too old to learn at 15. Take it slowly and he'll take to it like a duck to water. If he gets bored this will give him a new lease of life and keep the fat off too.
How big is he? if he's about 40 inches + a lightweight adult could easily ride him to re-school him.
My friend of mature years 40+ rides her Shetland gelding, he's the only riding horse she has, she's about 8 stone but as a stocky Shetland he's made for it.
27th Jul 2002, 05:33 AM
The problem is keeping the pony's head up. You should put grass reins on him. Wally described them perfectly. How it works is that when the horse puts his head down, he's pulling on himself.
27th Jul 2002, 07:54 AM
Thankyou to everyone who posted replys to my question,
i would like to know, do the grass reins hurt the pony and i have some answers for you:
Wally: He is 40 inches
Also will it be easy to train him to drive ????
27th Jul 2002, 09:01 AM
No, grass reins won't hurt him. Make sure they're not tight enough to restrict his head while it's up, just enough to stop him getting his head down. They only come into effect when he drops his head to graze.
Training ponies to drive is fairly straightforward if like Wally says you take it slowly. Start him off with lots of long-reining, gradually getting him used to wearing harness (don't put complete harness on at once, introduce a bit at a time - eg driving saddle, then saddle and crupper, then breeching as well). Each time you add another piece of harness make sure he's happy lunging in all paces and long-reins happily before moving on a stage.
A bit with cheeks such as a fulmer will help with steering in the beginning, and once he's going well in harness in the field and out on the lanes then you can introduce the idea of pulling something. Old traces are a good start, let them drag on the ground, then move on to something bigger, like an old tyre. Have an assistant with you for this. Use the tyre as a "cart" - take it all round the field, out on the roads, everywhere you'd expect to drive. When he's really happy with this, you can introduce a cart - a light exercise cart is best. The first few times, lead him while he pulls the cart; when he's going quietly, have an assistant hold him while you first take up the reins and then mount the vehicle.
This is only a very quick summary - there are some good books and videos around which explain it better than me and in more detail; Sally Walrond has I think written one on breaking horses to harness, also Anne Norris and Caroline Douglas have a booklet "Harnessing Up" and a follow-up, "Driving". There are many more.
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