Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Working ponies for the Smallholding  (Read 15257 times)

Hardfeather

  • Guest
Working ponies for the Smallholding
« on: September 12, 2010, 01:34:39 pm »
As I am scheduled to do the working pony introductory course at Dalmore this month, I thought I might start a thread to see what sort of work smallholders may see fit for their ponies.

I plan to demonstrate ways to prepare a pony for a working life, and how the owner can work toward the creation of a pony which is compliant and trustworthy enough to do a bit of work when required.

It's important to assess the suitability of each individual animal to the sort of work required but, without exception, a working pony must have a good temperament. It must have a good basic education in longeing, longreining and be well used to noise around and behind it before any attempt is made to introduce weight and implements.

Up to a point, the working pony will be trained as would a pony for driving. The difference is that a working pony would probably never be required to trot when put to implements, so it is important to do all of the preparatory work at walk.

Much of the early work can easily be done by one person, but there are some things which may require two, such as when introducing the swingle tree and weight for the first time. The second person can help a great deal when the pony is asked to turn, as there is a requirement to 'manage' the traces against the hind legs until the pony becomes used to it.

Safety for handlers and pony are paramount at all times, so some forethought is required when training a working pony. It is very important to be sure that the pony fully understands and accepts each task it is asked to perform before progressing into new territory. This ensures that, in the event of something going wrong, or the pony getting nervous or excitable, there is a firm base of experience to which to return so that the pony can be settled at something he knows/does well before re-trying him at the next stage again.

Everything the novice pony is taught is a preparation for the next stage in his education, so it's important to recognise when a pony is ready for the next step and, more importantly, when he is not. As with all training, it is necessary to accommodate the pony in terms of his learning ability, and to make progress at his pace.  If problems occur, damage limitation is the name of the game, so the success of the previous part of his education is important as that is the place to which he will be taken to calm him and allow a good point at which to finish.

Those persons who are coming to the course are advised to wear stout footwear and, if possible, bring gloves and a hard hat. I hope the day is a success and attendees enjoy it as much as I plan to.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2010, 09:29:10 am by AengusOg »

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Working ponies for the Smallholding
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2010, 10:05:32 pm »
I'm really excited! Hope the joiners have taken the loft insulation out of the byre before the 25th, or we'll have rockwool in our lunch  :yum:

lachlanandmarcus

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Working ponies for the Smallholding
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2010, 08:12:59 pm »
Ooo Im very excited now, esp having tempted OH to come too! (you should have our deposit today Rosemary).

We both have hats and boots, just have to remember to bring them now!

Liesel is very good at longreing as we did lots before backing her, tho lungeing was always 'interesting' as we did some early Join up which meant when we then started to lunge she would catch our eye out of the corner of hers on the circle and think we were sending her away!! But her dad was a driving pony so hopefully she will like it, thats if I dont get a scruffy wee pony to do it.....:-)

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Working ponies for the Smallholding
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2010, 09:08:06 pm »
Got it, thanks.

The Chicken Lady

  • Joined Mar 2008
  • Cheshire
Re: Working ponies for the Smallholding
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2010, 10:04:55 pm »
Wish I could come but just too far. :'(
Karen

Hardfeather

  • Guest
Re: Working ponies for the Smallholding
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2010, 11:12:01 pm »
Chicken lady...I know a man from Cheshire, now living in Bromyard on the Herefordshire border, who would probably be very interested in helping you and anyone who was interested in working ponies. He has cobs with which he hauls timber mainly, although he does farm work with them as well.

I spoke to him about this very subject and he said he'd be keen to be involved.

If you're really keen I'll give you his contact details by PM.

lachlanandmarcus

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Working ponies for the Smallholding
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2010, 06:37:08 pm »
Just to say thankyou very much for the course today, it was great and the ponies were real stars!! I learned a lot and Liesel the Haflinger will have to watch out cos those long reins are being dusted off as we speak in prep for her role as harrower of fields in training! ;D :horse:


Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Working ponies for the Smallholding
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2010, 07:34:58 pm »
So glad you enjoyed it - we did! I'm off to buy Bugsy a wee set of harness now, to continue his education!

Cobra

  • Joined Jun 2010
  • Somerset
    • Millers Of Sedgemoor
    • Facebook
Re: Working ponies for the Smallholding
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2010, 04:03:18 am »
Well done all, great idea so glad people are taking up on this.

My ultimate dream and it is a dream ::) To own a full farm and work it with horses in the old way providing meterials for crafts such as shivs for thatching and food selling foods made by tradition rather than EU friggin bureaucratic specifications etc. oh it is to dream! Maybe if I did the lottery i would have a chance of winning it  :D :D

When teh oil runs out youll need to know how  ;D

Hardfeather

  • Guest
Re: Working ponies for the Smallholding
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2010, 01:51:41 pm »
Well, from my point of view the day went very well. We had a very nice group of attentive and interested people who didn't give me any trouble at all  ;) ;D

I worked with Bugsy first, a very confident little pony who was very well-behaved and made my job very easy. He already understood the concepts of pressure and release and advance and retreat, but we discussed those subjects whilst Bugsy showed us how these methods can be used in horse-training. After working with him in the stable, I took him out onto a lovely area of newly strimmed (by Dan) grass where I proceeded to encourage Bugsy to concentrate on his first experience of longeing. He went away quietly on both sides with just a wee bit encouragement, and was forward-going and well-behaved.

We broke for a fantastic lunch and chatted in the sunshine.

For the afternoon session, we decided first to work with Smokey with whom Rosemary has been doing some good long-reining recently, so that I could demonstrate how to fit harness, introduce a horse to traces and a swingle tree, and then to the feel of weight. Smokey did very well as Rosemary long-reined him, then led him, as I worked the swingle tree, then a log, behind and we got him pulling. Rosemary pointed out that he really got into it as I increased the weight on him, a sign of a good working pony.

After that, we brought Bugsy back and put a roller and long-reins on him. He stole the show by taking to long-reining as does a duck to water.

Because both ponies had done so well, we decided to finish there and, after a last bit of chat, everyone got on their way home...hopefully full of ideas and inspired to get on and produce handy ponies who will enjoy their work.

For my part, I thoroughly enjoyed the day. Great company, fine weather, and willing ponies.

My thanks to all.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2010, 07:58:47 am by AengusOg »

claire

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Falkirk
    • Clairesgarden
    • Facebook
Re: Working ponies for the Smallholding
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2010, 10:15:20 pm »
any photos please???

countryweespirit

  • Joined Sep 2010
  • Perthshire
Re: Working ponies for the Smallholding
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2010, 08:49:48 pm »
Hi Rosemary,

Just to say I had a lovely day on Saturday, perfect weather, good company and learnt lots, thank you :hshoe: :)

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Working ponies for the Smallholding
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2010, 02:36:40 pm »
Glad you enjoyed it - we did! Photos to come soon.

jinglejoys

  • Joined Jul 2009
Re: Working ponies for the Smallholding
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2010, 07:27:23 pm »
What!No Mules! ;D

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Working ponies for the Smallholding
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2010, 08:08:41 am »
Not by choice - but lachlanandmarcus were there, so who knows next time!!  ;D

 

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