Friday, April 29, 2011

Advice for ponies who pull

Ponies are not the charming creatures you think they are. (I may have said this before.) Generally speaking, the smaller the body, the bigger the daemonic spirit. To make up for their short stature, ponies fight dirty. And they live forever. So they have plenty of time to expand their repertoire.

I could probably write forever about pony tricks and how to avoid them, but today's ideas will be focused. Some ponies, realizing that while they may be small compared to other equines, they can hold their own against a 50 lb kid. Easiest way to do it, pull the reins away from the child and the world is your carrot. And if you happen to pull the reins so hard that the child comes with them, and pitches over your head, so much the better. 50 lbs was far too much, for a cute, tiny pony to have to suffer anyway.

I know a couple of ponies who employ this strategy (among others) so I have had to come up with some tricks of my own. Other than the obvious tactic of finding really strong, short people to pretend to be children,
the best assistance you can give a child is to help increase their leverage, help them get their heels down and lean back like they are in a tug of war. (Which they are.) One tactic I have found that works well is to simply tie the reins in a knot. It helps keep the reins from slipping through loose fingers and gives the children something to lean against when the pony pulls.

The knot works well, but sometimes it pulls loose and it looks messy. So I went online and I found that someone had anticipated my need and invented the perfect fix. I give you Carol Mailer's Bridging Reins.

As you can see from the photo they are a version of rubber jumper reins with a leather buckle that can be attached to each rein in 4 different settings to hold it together. This functions the same as tying a knot, helping prevent the pony from pulling the reins through the child's fingers. My only complaints are that they are very hard to find/order in the U.S. and that there is not an entirely leather version. I really like the idea of them for walk trot kids doing schooling shows. You can find them here at Just for Ponies which is a website that has a lot of good kid and pony friendly merchandise.

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