What to do about Piccolo - Training help appreciated

laceyfreckle

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May 27, 2007
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Ok, so background for anyone who doesn't know her.

I bought Piccolo when she was about 4 months old from a dealer. She's believed to be either a dartmoor hill pony or a shetland x or something imbetween lol. She is now a fraction under 12hh and rising 4yrs old.

Things had been going well. She is easy to handle although was bought as a unhandled foal she was easy to tame. She is generally brave and enquisitve but can also be stubborn.

Last year she was sat on by my then 3yr old, 4yr old and 2yr old children and walked around. The 3yr old happily walked her on the lead rein with a little bit of trot either bareback, in a cub saddle or in a bareback pad or a maxam gp saddle just in the paddock (around 3 acres) she was also lunging and long reining fairly well although did start to buck on the long reins for a tiny bit.

I sat on her about twice as well bareback for a quick wonder around

She went to the odd show (in-hand) and was ok, although got very over-excited and did spend a lot of time on two legs

She then had her wolf teeth out and was then left alone all winter apart from the occasional sit on and groom

This year she did some more lunging and long-reining had a new leather saddle fitted and her some groundwork. She is easy to groom, bathe, pick feet up and doesn't bite or kick. She has been walked out about the roads and although gets excited and a bit strong she is not particularly spooky. She does sometimes plant a little.

sounds good?!! - well wait for the next bit

I have a lightweight girl helping me out, she is 12 but in no way too big for piccolo. The first time she rode her she was on the lead rein and piccolo was great. did some walk and trot with no problems. Did a tiny bit of work off lead rein with me walking next to them too. Was using bareback pad

Second time she rode i gave her a leg up as normal and all was fine and then Piccolo planted and bronced. Girl fell off. was using bareback pad again. Think piccolo had scared herself as girl lent over again, fine did this about 5 times then girl sat up and before she even sat up properly piccolo bronced again. girl fell off again. Girl lent over pic again got off, did this twice fine.

My 2yr old sat on her and i lead him round she was good but then seemed to plant and panic at a bot fly - didn't bronc but felt like she was going to. re-settled and thencarried on walking for 5 mins then got off. In saddle pad walk only

Following time girl lent over got off lent over got off all was fine sat on and up, pic panicked but then settled and was fine.

Last week, put pic's saddle on and bridle on and free schooled. Really pleased as she listened to me. did walk trot canter both reins no broncing or upset with tack.

This week put tack on and lunged without rider round big paddock in walk and trot. Pic seemed nervous about prospect of rider so took her back to comfort zone where she has been sat on loads of times with a haynet. girl lent across, fine- got off fine repeated two more times. Girl sat on fine, got off. then got back on again and piccolo went to bronc again. seemed to be in a panic rather then malicious. i held on to her and she stopped girl got off then lent back on then got off then repeated and then sat on again and pic was ok so we called it a day again.

My main issues are -

Piccolo was originally bought as a companion pony which she is good at. Now my children are older and starting riding i wanted her to be a good kids pony. However if she broncs then i can't trust her with my children as they are all very small and very very novice. I am concerned she will be too much for them/not a ideal lead rein/first pony.

I don't have any other riders other then my own children apart from the next 6 weeks or so. I am too heavy for her and if i'm honest my days of backing youngsters are over really. I wouldn't have the confidence for her. i have this girl that helps now but in 6 weeks or so we will have moved house and it will be too far for her to come. I was going to try and drive her but the yards i am going to will not be suitable for that.

the children would eventually love a sane pony they could ride on/off lead rein and take to small shows. At the moment they ride Harvey a lot but he is a bit big for them off lead rein as he is 13.2hh and he is too big for lead rein showing. I can't be sure Piccolo will be sane enough for ridden showing.

A lot of it isn't piccolo it's just she needs a experienced rider to start her.

So please.....................what over the next few weeks could i do with piccolo to get her more accepting? I don't mind working with her as long as i can keep everyone from losing confidence (including the pony)

Give me a training plan!!!

secondly - is this worth me doing, will i be able to turn her into what the kids need, eventually? What are the other alternatives? I could pay for her to be backed professionally for a few weeks? or loan her out on long term loan until my kids have got more experience?

What would you do?
 
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tazzy-anne

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i would get her sent away professionally if your heart isnt in it to do it yourself. then she can be given some time off while your kids get experience? she sounds like she could be a great pony eventually - she just needs someone with the confidence to do it, like you've said.
 

sjp1

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Sep 14, 2009
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I would agree. Send her away for training. She can then have a consistent block of training and be properly ridden on a daily basis and hopefully any problems that you are experiencing can be ironed out.
 

domane

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Jul 31, 2005
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Sounds to me like she's quickly learned that if she bucks, girl won't ride her. Someone either needs to sit it out and push her on so that she realises it doesn't work or as the others have suggested, send her to be professionally started, just to get her over this glitch.

The other thing is to have her back assessed as she may be sore.....
 

eml

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The problem with using a taller rider on a small pony to back them is that they are often panicked by the height of the rider and by having legs around them.

We start tinies normally on the lunge and then with a lot of long reining with a large teddy bear with stuffed trackybottom legs to get them used to being sat on. Until they are accepting this I wouldn't be putting anyone on them.

The fact the pony accepts a rider at three doesn't automatically come back to this after being turned away, often a bigger stronger 4 year old will be more opinionated and really need starting from scratch with lunging /longreining etc .

Realistically at the age of your children they are not going to be in a position to ride anything other than a (probably elderly) saint off the lead rein for some considerable time...I personally know very few ponies of 4 or 5 I would put any rider under about 8 on off the leadrein.
 

laceyfreckle

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May 27, 2007
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Sounds to me like she's quickly learned that if she bucks, girl won't ride her. Someone either needs to sit it out and push her on so that she realises it doesn't work or as the others have suggested, send her to be professionally started, just to get her over this glitch.

The other thing is to have her back assessed as she may be sore.....

They are full on broncs so a lot of the time the girl is on the floor before anyone blinks. It is very fast even though she does have quite a sticky bum. Each time though the girl has got back on. today she only got off once pic had all feet on the floor and was quiet again. Pic was quite shaky when she had all four feet on the floor again this time and looks nervous so think it's more panic then naughtiness which i suppose is worse really.

She did have a back checked a few weeks ago and she did have a sore patch probably caused by playing in the field but should all be sorted now.

I will look into sending away fro training but prob will be finding somewhere with people small enough for her.

The problem with using a taller rider on a small pony to back them is that they are often panicked by the height of the rider and by having legs around them.

We start tinies normally on the lunge and then with a lot of long reining with a large teddy bear with stuffed trackybottom legs to get them used to being sat on. Until they are accepting this I wouldn't be putting anyone on them.

The fact the pony accepts a rider at three doesn't automatically come back to this after being turned away, often a bigger stronger 4 year old will be more opinionated and really need starting from scratch with lunging /longreining etc .

Realistically at the age of your children they are not going to be in a position to ride anything other than a (probably elderly) saint off the lead rein for some considerable time...I personally know very few ponies of 4 or 5 I would put any rider under about 8 on off the leadrein.

Interesting you say that about the taller person as she has only had one tiny blip with one of my (smaller) children. but then she was ok when i sat on her a while back? This particular girl does seem to worry her more then the other children but it kind of stops me wanting to put my kids on her just in case. She is more experiened and more balanced then my children though.

I did make a big teddy bear earlier in the year and she was fine with mr.bear but i can re-instate him if it would be a good idea? We could probably do with some more long reining - her lunging isn't too bad although she doesn't like being lunged. she is responsive to voice for walk, trot and canter on the long reins and lunge.

hmm understand what you mean about my children and their age. just not sure how that fits in with piccolo.

Am i best of letting them carry on learning on Harvey? They can ride harvey off lead rein in the paddock and going between cones etc (god, is he turning into a saint:wink::giggle:) What they can enter him in shows is quite limiting though. local lead rein nearly always let him enter with them but the judge always says "he's a little big for a lead rein"

Would Pic ever get to lead rein standards before they outgrow her?

I have no problems trying to get another person (capable older child/teen) to share her if neccessary if we get this sorted (even for free)

Or am i just being silly and should do what my head says which is - loan her out for around 4yrs or sell her to someone she would suit more in ridden terms and could work with her in ridden terms and then keep my children on harvey or poss look for a small elderly schoolmaster on loan.
 
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eml

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Go with your head! The problem is not just that your children are so young but that pony has now implanted a doubt in your mind which will inevitably feed back to her.

Whether you can get someone to loan or buy her as she is is another matter but realistically it probably doesn't make sense to pay for an intensive training..as you say people with small enough jockeys are like gold dust and charge accordingly.
 

bitsnpieces

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Aug 22, 2007
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I agree with eml on this one, it sounds to me like she's had a fright with the height of the rider....more so if she's only been used to little one's in the past, she probably wasn't expecting it.

I think you have to ultimately decide what you want her for, as it sounds as though this may have changed from the original plan. Once you have this straight you will probably be able to think more clearly about what to do with her
 

laceyfreckle

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May 27, 2007
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Go with your head! The problem is not just that your children are so young but that pony has now implanted a doubt in your mind which will inevitably feed back to her.

Whether you can get someone to loan or buy her as she is is another matter but realistically it probably doesn't make sense to pay for an intensive training..as you say people with small enough jockeys are like gold dust and charge accordingly.

was worried you might say that lol. The doubt in my mind is mainly because it was (intially) so out of character for her. She has always been non-spooky and child safe and friendly. but on the other hand as a parent you do worry.

I also worry as it wasn't that many years ago that i didn't want to sit on harvey let alone take him to shows with my kids on board but he is now so good!

Lesson learned is a elderly lead rein pony doubling as a companion might have been a better choice to start with!

It's not so much this one hurdle to overcome but is more that's its making me appraise whether she would be suitable or not anyway. hmm, difficult one.
 

laceyfreckle

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I agree with eml on this one, it sounds to me like she's had a fright with the height of the rider....more so if she's only been used to little one's in the past, she probably wasn't expecting it.

I think you have to ultimately decide what you want her for, as it sounds as though this may have changed from the original plan. Once you have this straight you will probably be able to think more clearly about what to do with her

hmm, yes originally the plan was for her to be companion and pet. None of my children rode regularly at the time and she was just 4 months old anyway.

When i got first got Harvey he wasn't nice to handle or groom so the kids couldn't stroke him etc and therefore got attached to Piccolo but he has since mellowed a lot. However everyone loves piccolo becuase she is just lovely, good tempered, cute, cuddly, - she'd make a fantastic dog!

Fast forward 3 and a half years and - what do i want? good question!! I'll try and explain it (to you and myself!) below

* Companion for Harvey but as we are moving yards this isn't needed as much.

* Safe and sensible for kids to groom and lead (yes she is this but they wouldn't be able to lead her at shows at the moment as she is excitable then)

* Able for my nearly 3yr old son to sit on and 'ride' in walk and trot on the lead rein once a week or so.

* For my (5yrs old in two weeks) daughter to ride in walk and trot on the lead rein and to learn her first lead rein canter on. To be able to show in lead rein classes within the next 2yrs at a local level and to be able to go to pc type activities on on lead rein within next 2yrs.

* For same daughter, above to be able to ride her off the lead rein in walk and trot.

* For 6yr old son to be able to ride her in walk, and trot on and off lead rein. (off lead rein within 2yrs)

*For her to be able to do some fun activities with the kids such as lead rein gymkhana games and lead-rein riding club activities such as poles & 6" x poles showjumping within the 2yrs.

*For the kids to be able to hack her out (on lead rein) quietly in walk and trot.

*Eventually for the kids to have as 'their pony' and to be able to tack up, groom, have fun with and do all pc activities with.
 

laceyfreckle

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I regret you have answered your own question..what you have is not what you need .

hmm, doesn't make it any easier though does it. :frown:

:cry::cry:

does it sound horrid to say that she might not be the right pony but i don't want anyone else to have her either :help:

but then maybe thats what might be best for her, as well as the children.

Please tell me i really should not be contemplating keeping a big pet.
 

laceyfreckle

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Just another thought - eml - would i be best of keeping my children on harvey and loaning/buying them a new pony or just keeping them on harvey?

If a new pony then i take it i should be looking at older, experienced been there done that pony but what size/age/anything else?
 

eml

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If you want to keep Picollo and carry on with lead rein work, lunging and 'teddy bear rides' . Take him out as much as possible to shows inhand and lead him out on his own and if you can off Harvey. You may well find he comes around..often they go in stages at this age. In he meantime let the kids ride Harvey and play with Piccolo and worry about competition next year.

I think the 12 year old may be out of her depth and conveying worry to him so use the move as an excuse to stop her riding him. I have used very small brave children for backing before on the basis I lead pony and trusted helper holds child so they never actually fall (although they may part company from pony!!)
 

laceyfreckle

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If you want to keep Picollo and carry on with lead rein work, lunging and 'teddy bear rides' . Take him out as much as possible to shows inhand and lead him out on his own and if you can off Harvey. You may well find he comes around..often they go in stages at this age. In he meantime let the kids ride Harvey and play with Piccolo and worry about competition next year.

I think the 12 year old may be out of her depth and conveying worry to him so use the move as an excuse to stop her riding him. I have used very small brave children for backing before on the basis I lead pony and trusted helper holds child so they never actually fall (although they may part company from pony!!)

I'm not sure what i really want to do but i do have an emotional attachment to piccolo. Maybe moving to a yard when i move house will give me facilities but also a better understanding of whether i really do want to keep her. (I don't pay livery for her here as such as she has lawnmower rights!)

I think you're right that it might be best to remove the 12yr old from the equation for now simply because it is with her riding that i get more problems although i don't really know why. she is quiet and doesn't seem particlarly nervous but she does have a bit of a hotseat at her riding school and seems to fall off quite a lot! She rides Harvey fairly nicely though and he works well for her the odd occasions she has ridden him.

My daughter is a bit too brave for her own boots, maybe thats why Piccolo has been good with her in the past?

I think i will long rein and lunge with mr.Bear for a few weeks and go back to groundwork and as you say interspers that with little 'uns' having a sit on. (poss with hubby holding leg)


I haven't tried leading off of Harvey just because Harvey dosn't hack very well but new yard has off road hacking so might be more of a possibility there.

I can take her to shows in-hand as you suggest to get her more used to them. I'm not too worried about competition although it is a long term goal (happy to wait say 2 yrs) mainly because atm poor Harvey ends up with more then enough classes to do!

I will, of course carry on with the kids riding Harvey too.

Maybe by doing the above i'll realise what we really want/need?
 

popularfurball

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Jul 18, 2005
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Interesting thread LF - although I never had any intentions of backing piggywig it kind of happened and he loves it. In walk.

Thankfully no broncing with rider issues, but he refuses to trot - it troubles him that they bounce about I think and he was upset when a little girl fell off him in trot (she was bareback). Now silver has come better, the kids are off lead rein on her (as whoever is leading gets savaged otherwise!!!!) and working on learning trot. Im hoping by the time they have learnt to rise I can have coaxed him over the problems with trot - probalem is I need a saddle to balance and rise on him - he is to slippy to rise from my theighs bareback.

So perhaps them learning to ride on harvey first isnt a bad thing - I think it takes a lot for an unbroken pony to understand why they wobble about - if they can build balance on harvey and work only in walk with her then you can perhaps edal with the issues slowly? I know its nice to go to shows, but you could have your own walk gymkhanas etc at home for the moment? Just takes the time pressure off.

Im lucky though - I have all the time in the world.
 

Dannii5691

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Nov 16, 2009
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I feel your pain!!! I have a ponyo the same size and just a tad older (she was 4 in June) than pic and June is a £@"!!£"!?'. I originally bought her for a companion for the mare I had on loan but after my riding accident and Lucy went back I had a pony I now needed a job for!! She hit 3 and turned into the devil reincarnated!

She was backed and went nicely then turned away for winter, brought her back into work this spring and after getting a little more confident has now decked everyone who has been on her back! She will bronc and throw herself about. The couple of people who have managed to stay on her through her episodes she will work lovely, people who come off her its like she doesn't see them as worthy to ride her so she will plant and refuse point blank to move or put them back on the floor.

Struggling to get a saddle to fit I have gave in and decided she was going to primarily be a driving pony and a couple of people who can stay on her ride her once in a blue moon. I wouldnt dream of putting a small child on her as even on the lead rein she barges through me and takes off with them.

She needs someone who is a sensitive rider and won't Get annoyed with her and can sit through her tantrums that's less than about 8 stone. They are gold dust!!

Could you not have her as a driving pony for yourself and let her grow up a bit with yourself being able to bring her on as she is only a baby!
 

laceyfreckle

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ok, i think in my head i may have worked out a plan - anyone feel free to point out flaws in it if need be.

Next two weeks, get 12yr old to lead piccolo out on the roads in hand and maybe have a lean on but that is all. (she is feeding and watering both ponies for me when i go on holiday in two weeks) Both pic and Harvey will do nothing while i am on holiday.

Find Mr. Bear/make a new one and let Piccolo and Mr. Bear be best rider friends until end of august. Incorporate regular long-reining and lunging as well as goundwork and walking out in hand so pic gets used to working three or four days a week for short stints.

Let the kids fuss and groom Piccolo and have the occasional sit on as well

Move Harvey to new yard beginning of september (approx/latest)

Send Piccolo to Kelly's ponies in beginning of september (a schooling yard specialising in small ponies) for 2-4 weeks + to get more education and more ridden direction/schooling. (she will be 4 at end of september/beginning of october approx)

http://www.kellysponies.co.uk/

Get piccolo back and to new yard (which as a sand school) and hopefully carry on the good work with my own children, mainly hacking on lead rein and riding on lead rein in the school 2-3 times a week for short periods of time.

so opinions?!
 
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