Help with a pony who is scary to lead? (Bucking, kicking, etc.)

Hello! My pony recently has developed many situation where is becomes difficult for me to lead him. He would often squeal and throw a small buck, but now he showed me today, he will buck and try to kick out at me directly. He actually got my elbow today. He then bolts around the property before we can catch him. He also bites when you lead him. I would never have thought of him as dangerous, he is a phenomenal pony with talent who I am posing to show in the jumpers this spring. But I don’t want to develop a fear of having to lead him and the fear of him running into the road or kicking me again. We got him to go back to the paddock with some food, but he still bites. My trainer thinks it because he’s on a diet and they always get excited when it’s cold, but I don’t want it to become uncontrollable.
Has anyone had any similar situations and what did they do to help this.
(We were doing groundwork before this escalated)
Thanks all!

How long have you had him? Has he ever showed aggressive behavior before?

No. I’ve had him for about 16mo. He has shown pony behavior, like nibbling But never like what has taken place. My trainer says it has bee. Something that has been going on for a while she thinks but I haven’t noticed anything until about a week ago. I would have never thought of his as aggressive at all.

Chain over the nose 100% of the time when leading. Lunge line attached to the halter as well, so that when he does bugger off, you still can hold him. Lead him with a dressage whip, and make him WORK when you lead him. No leisurely strolls, it’s business time. You move his feet, and he complies - halt, turn on haunches, back, circle. Leave no room for funny business.

Your groundwork needs to be more effective. I agree with the manner of leading as described by Preposterous Ponies.

Also, if you hold the lead rope no longer than just reaching the wither and no longer, pony will not be able to reach you with his hind hoofies.

Lead at that length, dressage whip between you (handle prepared to fend off biting/crowding). FORWARD/halt/back/yield haunches/yield shoulders etc.

a chain over the nose and a severe “come to jesus” moment or two.

Is the pony bad for the trainer/barn help to lead? Or just you?
Agree with the above posters that a chain over the nose, a dressage whip to ensure your ‘personal bubble’, and an “i won’t take any crap” attitude are necessary. OP, you didn’t mention how old you are, or what kind of program the pony is in. I know in my neck of the woods, it’s so cold and snowy, the horses are getting minimal turn-out and pretty much no riding. So they can be rambunctious on days they do turnout. Bad manners is NEVER acceptable, but do you think the pony is acting up becuase he’s super fresh, or is he actively trying to hurt/intimidate you?
Unless you think you can handle this on your own as described above, please enlist the help of your trainer/good ground person when handling your pony. That kind of behavior needs to be stopped immediately, before you, the pony, or both get seriously hurt.

We had a pony that was bad to lead that way. We always used a chain over the nose, and if she was being really bad one couldn’t hold her with just a chain…at that point we ran the chain through her mouth. Actually, because she never was a problem leading with a bridle, the chain through the mouth worked really well.

[QUOTE=ElementFarm;7390917]Is the pony bad for the trainer/barn help to lead? Or just you?
Agree with the above posters that a chain over the nose, a dressage whip to ensure your ‘personal bubble’, and an “i won’t take any crap” attitude are necessary. OP, you didn’t mention how old you are, or what kind of program the pony is in. I know in my neck of the woods, it’s so cold and snowy, the horses are getting minimal turn-out and pretty much no riding. So they can be rambunctious on days they do turnout. Bad manners is NEVER acceptable, but do you think the pony is acting up becuase he’s super fresh, or is he actively trying to hurt/intimidate you?
Unless you think you can handle this on your own as described above, please enlist the help of your trainer/good ground person when handling your pony. That kind of behavior needs to be stopped immediately, before you, the pony, or both get seriously hurt.[/QUOTE]

Agree with the above. It’s very likely winter/lack of turnout. It makes even the steady eddies perform airs above the ground when being led. If that’s the case the aforementioned dressage whip/take no crap attitude will likely work. If you are not already using one you also need a long lead rope (I use a leather lead with a knot at the end) with a chain. Wear gloves when handling the pony so that you won’t get a nasty burn from the lead line running through your hands.

The safe zone for leading is by your pony’s shoulder - if he takes off forward you can push into his shoulder and pull his nose around to turn him before he gets away, he can’t easily bite or strike out at you with his front legs, etc. You do have to watch to make sure you’re not in the striking zone for a cow kick.

That said, no one can tell you for sure if your pony is simply frustrated due to pent up energy or if he means business without seeing the behavior in action - if you are unable to tell please enlist a trainer or another experienced person to help you figure out what is going on.

Chain over the nose or (can’t believe I’m going to say this) a rope halter. You also need someone with the skills on the ground to teach the pony some manners and to teach you how to expect and get proper behaviour before you take over.

While it is understandable that your pony may be up because of the weather or some other reason, it is never acceptable for them to kick out at their handler.

I agree the pony needs a little come to jesus.

He’s actually out all day and night. He is on a diet though he gets very rambunctious and. Fresh in the cold. He is ridden 5 times a week .
Thank you guys for tall the help!

He is ridden 4 times a week at the least and jumps 2 times. He’s been stiff/back sore lately so we’ve only been doing walk work and groundwork for the time being. I do try to stay at his shoulder as much as possible. I think we are going to try a shank on his lead if this continue. After all this only happened severely one time, which was yesterday. Hopefully the cold will die down and he won’t be as fresh. Thank you!

Yes, time to (figuratively) kill the pony.

Poor little short folk of the horse world lol! They are such crabs and bosses.

I’m in hunter/jumper land, but I really LOVE natural horsemanship teachings, and how to establish a leadership. See if you can’t research some different ways to approach dealing with the pony. Somewhere along the way he is misunderstood.

I know my mare will just get hotter and more nervous and less trusting and start acting out if I use aggressive approaches with anything. When she has started acting out, or doing something naughty, I know somewhere along the way I haven’t done my job correctly or listened to her.
I take it back to the basics and work on ground work with her all the way down to putting a halter on, taking it off. Even if she is not bad at the halter portion, I like to make sure I am doing everything correctly, as the leader, from the get go before I even ask anything else of her. It helps a lot for us.

P.s. do you wear a helmet when leading the pony? I would while you figure this little guy out.

This reminds me of someone’s signature line that goes something like, “Ponies are evil because they are short and therefore closer to Hell.” So very, very true sometimes. Good luck, OP!

My only advice apart from what’s been said is given your age/size compared to the pony, I might have someone else bring him to Jesus if he’s pulling this crap with everyone. I knew a pony like this that did damage to several people (myself included) before the trainer finally went to get the pony from the paddock one day, and two hard cracks of a whip did the trick. Pony was an angel there on out until he left the barn a couple years later.

They can be such royal PITAs, best of luck to you. The ponies will teach you to stand up for yourself and not take anybody’s crap, that’s for sure!!

It is one thing to be fresh, it is a completely different thing to be down right dangerous! I agree with the other posters. Even over a lunge line which some people will find cumbersome, I would get a 14 FT cowboy lead rope with the little leather tassels at the end. It gives you almost twice the length of a regular lead without you trying to man handle 25ft lunge line. I prefer a driving whip to a dressage whip as it is about 4-5 FT long. That coupled with the length of your arm should get you out of firing distance. If you are at all unsure you can keep him from escaping, please get someone experienced to help you. He won when he got away the behavior will become worse because of that. I will also caution you to using the chain over the nose, over the gums, in the mouth if you are not 100% sure you will be able to stop him from pulling out of your hands. That is a disaster waiting to happen.
I agree with the previous poster that mentioned the rope halter (a good one) You will be amazed at how well the respect them. I actually prefer those to a chain and use them on some of our more rambunctious two year olds.
Another suggestion would be to clip the lead rope to the side and not to the bottom ring. That way if he start to act up, you can disengage his hind quarter away from you by turning his head into you. It will have the same effect as a one rein stop you would use on a run away horse.

While a longer lead may help you (placing it over the nose has the effect of shortening the end you have to work with), it will be dangerous to simply let the pony move away from you–at some stage you’ll be in kicking or striking range, and not necessarily safer if you manage to let even more slack out–sometimes they learn to charge back in, and the last thing you need to give them is a running start.

The smarter thing to do is to have someone more experienced than yourself deal with this. Sometimes an difficult animal is talented enough in the show ring or breeding shed to justify the extra trouble it takes to handle on the ground, but not often.

If the only advice your trainer has given you is that ‘it’s about food,’ perhaps you haven’t conveyed how uneasy you are being made to feel or perhaps your trainer isn’t taking the problem seriously enough. Not knowing enough about the situation, my advice would be to let someone more expert than you (i.e. a professional groom or trainer) handle this pony, and if there is no one available, inform your trainer, and ask for her help!

If he is running through the chain/halter set-up, there is a thing called a “Be Nice Halter” that has little metal knobs at critical places, nose, poll, etc. It is not expensive and mine has always been used as a Pony Club Quiz question.

I have lent it to several people who needed a little extra control and all have said it worked. Be aware, though, that it can be severe and you should never - ever - tie an animal up while wearing it.

Once you ‘have’ him, or have mastered him, just be very alert and aware of his behaviours and nip them in the bud even as he is thinking about being bad. You can then switch to an ordinary rope halter. Habits like this will lie dormant…until he sees an opportunity…not necessarily with his master, but another person not alerted to his behaviour.