Small Riding Horses - Ponies

Would you ever consider writting and publishing online on horseman pro an article specifically about your experiences and knowledge of riding ponies or horses just making 14.2 hands

Answer: I have referred to the horse size in relevance to riding in several of my articles, but I will sum it up for you as briefly as I can. First of all the smaller breeds of horses are in most part more agile, durable and less demanding in care, hence preferred for riding purposes, obviously. The bigger and the taller horses tend to be not only more demanding in care, but also less durable and often fairly clumsy, and when the weight of the rider is added they tire quicker and are more prone to injury. It is all simple physics.

As far as the Arabian horse goes it possesses all the desired attributes in riding horses, except for the comfort of the rider. This is why the Arabian blood is just about in all horses bred for riding purposes. To a greenhorn the bones of the Arabian horse, especially in the legs, look thin, hence presumed by the thinker-fools as weak, while the opposite is true. Though the bones are thin they have greater density than for example the bones of coldbloods or the heavier warmbloods, which was one of the main reasons for all the crossbreeding with the Arabian horse.

As far as the size goes and the weight of the rider, there are three criteria to be added, or calculated, or in simple terms taking into consideration; the weight of the horse as well as the rider's, the gait and speed in which we ride. And so for these reasons we use light riders for the fast work in gallop like in racing, and for the slower gaits and mainly in slower speeds we can use more weight. For example the Hucul horse is fairly small horse and yet it was used in the military primarily as pack horse to carry artillery to the top of the mountains with the weight limit of 400 kg, or 800 pounds. Of course these horses only walked when burdened, and did not gallop with all that weight, obviously. It is false to presume that one needs larger and heavier horse for a large rider, since the legs of the horse are burdened not only by the rider but also by the animal's own weight. And so, the Mongol horse is literally a pony in size, and yet the  animal can gallop with a rider nonstop for some 4 hours, while most tall and heavy horses would more likely die within an hour when doing the same. Hence the speed and weight are the ratios by which one must be guided when riding. The weight is calculated not only by the burden of the rider and the saddle, but also by the weight of the horse.

The only problem that the rider may experience in riding smaller horses is in his center of gravity that is in such case much higher in relevance to the smaller horse, hence more problems for the rider to balance himself, especially when fairly tall. It is also more difficult for the smaller horse, since the taller rider is more likely to set the horse of balance by his own lack of balance. For this reason many of the Arabian horses do not buck when they want to get rid of the rider, but rather have the tendency of spinning or jumping to the side, since they are aware of the lack of balance of the rider on top. It is also for these reasons why the taller and wider horses are preferred by the lesser riders, since on taller and heavier horses the incompetent rider feels more secure. In 1936 Olympic Games the most popular horse for riding was the Anglo-Arabian, which of course is a horse that demands better riding or a better rider, as opposed today where the larger and taller warmbloods are preferred, since the riding capability of humans has grossly declined thanks to the influx of amateur riders, mainly of the women.
The heavier the rider the slower the speed and gaits should be, and if too heavy one should not jump, especially when tall and heavy.

In reference to your weight of 11 stones, as in 154 pounds, you belong to the category of light rider and so you can do pretty much anything with your 14 hands Arabian. A person of 175 pounds qualifies as medium weight in which case such rider can do pretty much anything with any decent light riding horse. Above 200 pounds it is considered as heavy rider and one must most of all slow down when riding, while avoiding any sharp turns and riding that is demanding on the horse's legs. On the same note, the heavier the rider the better he should be, as opposed to a light rider who can get away with many riding errors without hurting the animal. A heavy rider on a heavy horse is a dangerous combination, which often results in injuries of the horse as well as the rider.

In conclusion, the size of the horse is not the only criteria by which one pics a horse for riding purposes, since there are many other factors that need to be considered when acquiring a horse for the purpose of riding. One is best off to be accompanied by someone that is qualified in these matters to help him during the purchase. The suitability of a horse for a rider is not only the issue of physical attributes, but also the matter of matching not only the spiritual characteristics of the horse and rider, but also the rider's ability to ride the particular animal. The equine industry, or better said market, is like some swimming pool full of sharks, and jumping into it is not recommended, obviously, as most people get eaten up or at least bitten, because they are blind fools, metaphorically speaking of course.

Regarding your question about how to ride smaller horses, well, there are no prescriptions, because how to ride the particular horse should come to you from the horse. To learn from God is to learn from life, as schools teach from books and God teaches the man through life, hence live it and learn from it, which depends on your awareness of life and God. The cowards read books because they fear mistakes, and so the brave are living and learning, while the fools and cowards are reading about it.

Regarding your mare being pregnant when purchased there are couple of things that should be mentioned. I usually present it in more human form so people can understand, so do not see the following as some humanization of animals. The female horses that have never been bred remain like "girls", while the bred mares that foaled become like "women". In short, the broodmares can often prove themselves difficult for riding purposes, especially for the amateur rider, because they get braver, stronger and often more stubborn than before being bred. In such cases one must find his way in dealing with such mare, where one should not demand to accomplish things his way, but rather letting the mare do it her way, while trying to avoid any conflicts and fights, as such mares can often be much stronger in resistance than a full horse - ("stallion"). In simple words, the broodmares are much tougher than mares, full horses/stallions, fillies or colts, which could be perceived as beneficial or detrimental, depending on the horsemanship ability of the rider.

Reply 1:
... I was delighted to find that your article fully addressed my conserns so much so I felt that you read my situation like a book. I can relate to what you have said especially about brood mares being braver than virgin mares and/or stallions. I saw a massive change in her since I purchased her in August of last year and believe you me the women at my yard love to laugh at a man like me who has no choice except to do things on her terms (the pony that is). It seems that those humans who are born with xx chromosomes (women) seem to think they have a God given right with regards to horses. However, to put it simply. Many off those same women now fear her (my pony). They, being naturally women thought it wise to educate me and show me how things should be done and without being promted. The usual responce from my pony was either baring teeth or a blatant snap in an attempt to bite them.

So far I've been lucky! Even I have learned to be cautious as I too have learned from those same responces. I too have learnt that my horse for now has her protocol to follow. As I said in my first e-mail, I had a dream of her before I glanced at any of her pictures before she arrived here in the UK therefore I have no idea as of yet what is in store or what plans have been set in place for me. However, I have taken note of your advise and I will try to tread cautiously as much as possible. Is she a detriment or a benefit? Well I hope she's both in disguise of a saddle pony. I live and learn!

Answer to reply 1:

The Arabs are not the founders of the Arabian horse but rather the prophet Mohammed is, and since the Arabs, or better said Muslims, revered Mohammed as the holy prophet chosen by God they adhered strictly to the breeding protocols, as most Muslims would not dare to cheat God, hence the records of the blood lines are more accurate than by any other breed of horse. For these reasons the Arabian horse can be clearly called the purest breed of horse, at least it was until recent times, where the influx of western civilization polluted the breeding of these horses.

One of the many things people are not aware of is that the Arabian horse, the desert Arabian that is, was not unlike any breed bred in herds, but rather individually by each owner in close and personally. Meaning, since these horses were bred by the desert tribes, they grew up literally with the particular owner. They did not live on open spaces and with other horses, but rather tied to the tent or even in it, or hobbled nearby, which included the raising of young foals. Because of this upbringing over the span of more than 1300 centuries their herd instincts were altered and in some horses, especially in the mares, similar instincts to a dog has evolved, like the sense of territory and the sense of belonging to a particular individual. In other word, the horse's home was there where its owner was since they grew up with the nomadic tribes.

This is still present, to some extent, in the Arabian blood, mainly in the mares, and it becomes stronger in the mares that had foals. And so, just like the dogs need the fulfillment of the sense of belonging so do often the Arabian mares, and of course they also feel the lack of it when not present. It is for all these reasons why the Arabs preferred mares to stallions, and rode the mares to battle. Most tribes had usually only one or two stallions, and the rest was mares and foals, and of course no geldings, obviously.
And so you can see that mares like these prefer to be one-man's horses, and do not like much the interaction with other people, and they are also often territorial, which should be kept in mind.
And so here are some tips how to deal with such horse, or better said mare.

First and for most do not try in any way to appease the animal, they resent it and see it as weakness. These types of horses resent strongly any kind of fear, as they are aware of it instantly and find it annoying. Many do not like to get petted or be treated disrespectfully as some pets by expressing some silly affection, especially not in touching. I have written that a genuine horsemanship is found in mutual respect and not in some silly girly love. Just like most creatures in nature respect, admire and adore a brave heart so does horses like that, and if you have one of those they will adhere to you very easily. In other words, the words "strong and brave" are the keys to the heart of "strong and brave" horses just like the one you have. You can rest assured that this mare will test both in you, and so remember that fear is simply unacceptable, and I mean any kind of fear, weather fearing the horse or something or someone else.

The strength of one's heart is found in constancy, and so be constant in everything you are doing with her, in which case you also become predictable to her, which in return gives her the sense of security, because one can count only on the predictable. For the same reasons remove any kind of emotions from your mind, because emotions are erratic and unpredictable, not to mention that horses cannot relate to them. Liking the horse has to do with acceptance, which should reflect in your responses and actions and not in emotions. Do not ever reprimand or show dissatisfaction when the animal makes any kind of mistake, hence be aware all the time of what is happening, as there is no apology in nature. On the same note fearing to make a mistake will put you in the coward category in her eyes.

Respect does not mean fear, but rather respect her for what she is and be considered of what she feels, which means that you give her the freedom of doing things her way and not your way, while becoming instantly aware of what is unpleasant to her or any pain or discomfort that she may feel. This does not mean that you will become yielding and let her do what she want, because in that she will see you as weak and will exploit it. And so one of the many things you do not want to do is controlling her, and so you need to take up a different perspective when working with her. Learn how to convey to her what you want and then let her do it. Do not try to "reward" her as the corrupted minds do with horses. If you wish to give her some "treats", do it as the last thing before you leave, and never when you come or during the time when with her. When the mare is fed leave her alone and respect her privacy.

You should also consider riding her without the bit, as most Arabs rode the mares just in halters, even into the battle. These kinds of horses resent any kind of restrains and so stay away from all that shit that the riding people tell you. On the same note do not try to ride her in the riding balance, because she will not only resent that, but also because most Arabian horses learn on their own how to balance themselves with the rider, and so do not "tell" her how to carry you! In short, if you do your best to make her work easier on her, she will become aware of it. On the same note you cannot be afraid of doing something wrong, for she would resent that even more than the wrong thing you are doing. Once you become aware of what is going on, she will become aware of your awareness and will teach you what to do, similar way as they teach their foals. And so, of all things the most important is awareness, hence remain constantly in responsive mode and at any cost avoid thinking while with her, because no animal can relate to that. Read my article on "Instinctive Horsemanship", which should expand your understanding. God will teach you through the horse things about the nature you have not read, heard or seen, hence trust no man but God and be aware of everything when with the horse.

Furthermore have a respect for her heat cycle and adjust your work to that. Some mares present very strong cycle and many are not willing to move or work, and if it is so, try to do as little as possible when working with her, and in the stronger cases just give her the two or three days off from work, and so learn from her as you go.

Also remember that most of these horses do not do well when fed grains, especially the oats. You can think of the Arabian horse when on grain as a kid that gets too much sugar. And so, not only the handling but also the diet is important in relating to one another. If you find that she needs, in addition to her free choice of hey, grain in her diet, use crimped barley rather than oats, and stay away from all the commercial feed-garbage.

The women cannot comprehend most of the above that I have written, because they do not relate to nature as man does, or better said as men are capable of, and they are totally clueless when it comes to the matter of the heart as described above. The matter of the heart in women is all about emotions, as opposed the matter of the heart in men is all about strength, endurance, courage, loyalty, constancy of which none are emotions. And so do not expect women to understand that, or you, and do not try to understand women. In the previous sentence I am emphasizing the word MEN, because in this modern world most men are effeminate, thinking and reasoning on the bases of emotions like women. And so, as you have lived and learned, women can pretty much fuck up your mind if you let them, hence the wise, strong and brave men do not listen to women, which is the ancient wisdom starting with Adam and Eve and continuing with Samson and Delilah till this day.

Be aware of God all the time, which also means be aware of life all the time, as God teaches the man through life.

Reply 2
There is a question I must ask. You said that I must make her work easy. How do I do that? Or more precisley, could you clarify what you mean exactly.

Answer to reply 2
As you can see most of my reply could be expanded on and so my replies are never complete, and this is a legitimate question, but fairly hard to explain, but I will try at least briefly. I will be writing soon an article about "Understanding the Reprimand in Training of Horses", which should help in addition to the following. In training of horses one needs to recognize the two main factors, which are the training, or schooling if you will, of the horse to do the particular work, and the mental and physical conditioning of the horse for such work, the latter is often ignored by most amateur riders.

When I said to make the work easier on the horse it means several things, but it does not mean that you become yielding, because horses by nature do not like to move without some purpose, especially when lacking in physical conditioning. And so, you have to make sure that the horse is first and foremost fit and thus more willing to do the work you are asking for. However, as the old saying goes regarding the physical conditioning, "no pain no gain", the same applies in training of horses. And so you need to recognize what is what when riding a horse, because in majority of cases when people are experiencing problems with the horse in cooperation with the rider the horse usually has a legitimate cause, and there are many of them. This is impossible to explain or learn from the books but one has to learn it by becoming more and more aware of what is going on, and that not only with the horse but also with the handler or a rider.

If and when the horse is conditioned enough for the work we have to make sure that we allow the horse to perform it without interfering with the animal's motion, and that is what I mean when I say to make the work easier on the horse, among other things. For example, if we do not use the proper tack or do not saddle or bridle the horse suitably we make the work much more difficult for the horse. Or if the horse is not feeling well and we are not aware of it and demand the same performance as when the horse is OK, we again make things difficult on the horse. And so any decent person, that is using a horse for some kind of work, should be first and for most considered enough to notice when the horse has some physical problems, and then adjust his care accordingly. As I have witnessed in many cases, most amateur horse people notice almost nothing and keep on riding their horses in some cases even when being sick and having a fever, or even lame.

And so, the basic element in learning from the horse about the horse is found in a simple human attribute, which is called "care", and how much one cares about the horse will reflect in his heightened awareness, and that not only of the horse but also of one's actions as well as the environment. In short, caring about life results in the heightened awareness of life. And so, as I say, to love God is to love life, and in that, all the "mysteries" of life, natural and spiritual alike, are revealed gradually as one grows in life.

I keep seeing the lack of care for horses just about everywhere. So many times I have pointed out things to people, and they are often in disbelief, and yet I cannot say the whole truth but only a part of it, for they could not handle it. For example, I said many time to various folks, "Hey, your horse has a swollen knee, ankle or what not", and in most cases the reply was, "Where? I don't see anything." Then I had to literally stick their nose in it for them to see it. If I would tell them the whole truth it would simply mean, "You did not see it because you do not care enough about the horse to see it". Just about all women that own horses claim to love them, and when they tell me that I think to myself, "I hope I am never loved like that by anyone". One of the most repulsive things in life is the satanic love, which is possessive and wants to own and control that which it loves. Cursed is any man or child that is loved like that by a woman, or anyone for that matter. It is for this reason why I have the Gilgamesh quote on the main page, but most people do not get it.

Most common thing emphasized in training horses is patience, which most people associate with the horse and not with themselves. And so you must learn to be most of all patient with yourself when learning, because horses learn much faster than people in the mutual association. It takes only a year for most horses to become decent riding horses, providing they are trained and ridden by a decent rider, while most people do not become decent riders in their lifetime. And so, who needs to be more patient with whom, the horse with you, or you with the horse, or you with yourself?

Written by Ludvik K Stanek a.k.a Lee Stanek March 14th 2012