Learning how to handle horses and ponies well takes a lifetime. However, if you start off by keeping out of dangers way (front end bites, back end kicks!) and remember that there are times to be firm and times to be kind, you won't go far wrong.
TYING A PONY UP
Remember - Never tie the pony to a fence or gate!
CATCHING YOUR PONY FROM THE FIELD
If you are going to ride the pony you will need;
If you are going to lead your pony you will need;
Tit bits should be a piece of carrot or apple, not sugar as this is bad for the ponys teeth.
Approach the ponys shoulder quietly and speak to him. Do not scream, shout or flap the headcollar. Stand on his left side and offer him the tit bit. Put the leadrope or reins around his neck and then put on the headcollar or bridle. Lead your pony out of the field - one at a time if in a group - and shut the gate! Be careful not to mill around the gateway together as there is a risk of fighting amongst the ponies.DIFFICULT PONIES
Occasionally a pony will be difficult to catch. To deal with this establish a routine - go at the same time every day and give a small feed or an apple or carrot (tums are very important to ponies!). Always pat the pony and slip on a headcollar or slide the rope around his neck. Continue the routine, and it will build up the ponys confidence and he will look forward to seeing you. Dont ride the pony every time you go to see him.
Persuasion with food is the usual way of catching ponies. If all else fails, all the other ponies may have to be removed from the field and the difficult pony may be caught as he tries to follow his friends. Keep trying! Never go into a field of ponies with a bucket.TURNING YOUR PONY OUT
Lead the pony into the field and shut the gate. Turn the pony to face the gate and then take off his headcollar - this will give you time to step back out of the way if the pony decides to kick up his heels once free. Never chase the pony away.
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Updated: October 2005.