Riding time has been limited lately, y’all. The past two weeks have brought on four sinus infections, two ear infections, and four stomach bugs. Yuck! I’m so tired of it.
When I did have a little time to run outside and saddle my horses, I chose to ride one and pony the other. I love ponying because it’s great for easy exercising, desensitizing ,and time saving. I chose to ride Kona and pony Hot Rod–Kona needs more saddle time, and he sets a quicker pace for Hot Rod. It’s like a Kona treadmill!
If you have multiple horses, you should try it! Here are my tips for a safe and enjoyable ponying experience:
- Both horses need to be thoroughly desensitized to bumping into other horses and ropes being used on either side of them.
- The saddled horse, especially, needs to pay attention to the rider and obey commands.
- The ponied horse needs to understand yielding to pressure. If you’re ponying a young horse, work on yielding to pressure on the ground first. It’s not enjoyable to drag your horse around the arena.
- Always wear gloves in case your ponied horse pulls back.
- Always use a long, cotton lead rope. Nylon lead ropes cause the worst rope burns.
- Don’t dally your lead rope. Technically, this is rider preference, but I personally do not dally my rope, even with a single dally. If in doubt, don’t dally, just hold your lead rope.
- Don’t loop your lead rope around your hand in case your ponied horse takes off.
- Always practice in an arena first before moving outside.
- If you have a stubborn or lazy horse, try using a rope halter instead of regular nylon web halter.
- Saddling your ponied horse is a great way to get them in “work mode” too! I love using this method to get injured horses back in shape and back in a work frame-of-mind.
- Master the walk and trot before moving up to the lope. Things can get dicey if you and your horses aren’t ready. Like having your arm ripped off.
Don’t forget to use the opportunity to work on other things! Even though I was leading Hot Rod with one hand, I still worked on transitions and rhythm with Kona. I also love to practice tying my pony horse to a fence close-by. It squeezes in some lateral work without Kona even realizing it! Ponying for the win!