I stole Mom’s driving pony late last summer. Little history - she’s a road safe Amish pony from flat Indiana. An 80 year old used her as his daily driver. She’ll stand for hours. Six years ago the two of them were in a wreck, buggy got rear-ended. Old guy ended up in ICU, pony had a few scratches. Both of them got back on the road. My mother occasionally drove her, did tons of ground work. She’s not as uneducated as most road horses. She had a 3 year vacation, which ended with being broke to ride.
After 6 months, pony drives pretty well, changes gears well, isn’t pulling. Looks cute. Here’s the problem. She stands fine to hook, but starting out is UGLY. If you take hold of the lines, she balks. Not going anywhere. If someone walks her off, with no contact on the line, she’ll go. On good days, she’ll step off and takes a hippy hop, cantering lap around the barn. Looks a little like she’s thinking about going up, but doesn’t.
On bad days, she’ll take off with leap or throw herself forward/sideways. She doesn’t pay much attention to where. Best thing is pulling on the shaft, she gets pissy-er if you take the bridle or a line by the bit. After a 10-20 ft tantrum, she’ll go off, hippity hop around the barn, & after 2 laps around the barn, she’s fine.
If you stop her during your drive, she steps off just fine. When she was Amish, she’d balk the first time out of the barn yard and be fine the rest of the day. Her day job is now being a lesson pony. She generally gets lunged ~10 minutes before a kid gets on.
I think part of this that she pulled a good size buggy that moved quite easily on asphalt, but took some effort for her to get out of the gravel barn yard. She tends to throw herself sideways like she’s breaking wheels loose. Now she’s hooked to a 2 wheel bike going through 3" of sawdust there’s not much resistance. I think it gets more violent than she really intends.
Any suggestions other than miles? Unfortunately, best we’ve done is 2 drives a week. If I’m lucky I can get to the barn mid week, usually just weekends. Her nonsense doesn’t bother my trainer or I, but it freaks out most people in the barn, so not always the right ground help to hook her. We’ve got a few green drivers that she’d be great for, but what greenie wants to get in after seeing a tantrum? “Trust me, she’s fine now” Hell no.