Ponies are very particular little creatures. When I was younger, and a bit smaller, I begged my mom for a pony. I mean, what little girl doesn’t?
Of course, she said, “no”, and when I asked, “why not”, she responded by telling me, “I don’t trust ponies”. This conversation led to me being the only little girl with pigtail braids and bows in short stirrup riding a 15 hand horse.
What I eventually came to understand was that, with a well-trained horse, it’s likely that even if everything doesn’t go according to plan, it won’t really phase or bother the horse too much. However, when it comes to ponies, especially if they’re younger ponies, they’re absolutely going to hold a grudge if something seems askew. Thus, the reason for this post! Continue reading “Why Won’t My Pony Listen – A Case Study”
Every equestrian knows that position is everything and as a young rider, I learned this lesson quickly through a number of training techniques that I will never forget.
#1: How to keep your legs steady and core strong
Try removing the stirrups from your saddle. If this is a new thing for you, do “No stirrup Tuesdays” and every Tuesday remove your stirrups completely (simply dropping them while on leads to cheating so remember to remove them). If you really want to master this, join me in “No stirrups November” where you remove your stirrups from your saddle for the entirety of November. You could always do this any other month but I thought it went along nicely with “No shave November”.
#2: How to keep your shoulders back
a) Using either a crop or a think wooden stick (like a broomstick but shorter) place it behind your back, holding it in place with your elbows so that the crop/stick rests in the crease of your elbows. I had complete lessons like this including W/T/C and small fences but it you choose to do that make sure there is some sort of supervision and if you feel yourself falling backwards or if anything goes wrong, drop one hand immediately to let go of the stick. That said, this is an excellent way to improve your posture and position.
b) If you’re lucky enough to find one of these, get on a horse that stops at every fence if you lean at it. Just a warning, you will fall off (I did about 3 times in one lesson at a trot fence) BUT once you learn not to lean, you’ll clean up at every show.
c) Take a ballet class. If that’s not available, try a barre class. The posture and positions in ballet force you to engage your core and strengthen your back which will aid in maintaining your position while riding.
#3: How to keep your leg in the proper position
Using bailing twin, tie the inside metal piece of your stirrup to the girth. It will be uncomfortable but you will learn where your leg should be. I had to do this for about a month before I learned and every now and then I remind myself by reattaching the twin and riding with it again.
Hope this was helpful!