My mom is a lifelong hunter rider in her late 60s who, for a variety of reasons, decided she no longer wants to ride large, big-moving hunter-jumpers. About 18 months ago she bought a POA-type pony to play around with doing some very light trail riding and walk-trot work in the ring. Pony was being used in an English lesson program, but had come from a sale barn so his history prior to that is unknown. We have come to believe that he has had Western training - perhaps more so than English. He’ll do the tiniest, slowest little jog-trot and he also neck reins. He is very soft in the mouth but also a bit fussy; he seems quite confused by the idea of a steady contact.
My mom has become interested in the idea of riding him in Western tack, partially to give her a bit more security in the saddle and also because she thinks he might be happier without a bit. While I used to ride one of our retired hunters in an English hackamore, I know nothing about Western hackamores other than that there seem to be a lot of different types. What would make sense for us to try when I have no idea what he might have been ridden in before?
Also if anyone has any thoughts regarding where to start with saddles, that would be much appreciated as well. My mom is a petite 5’3”, pony is a large but with a fairly light build.
I’ll try to attach a picture - here he is dressed up to do the Leadline with my 3-year old son.
Thanks so much!