But if your pony still thinks it’s a laugh to thunder around the school or storm across the fields this winter, here are some ideas for riding him without tears (yours, that it!)
1. Do up the girth in stages. Never just heave it up as soon as you saddle your pony, especially when it’s cold. Put on his saddle 10 minutes or so before you plan to ride (put his rug over the top again, if he’s wearing one). Then do up the girth another hole every few minutes. Once you’ve ridden around for five minutes or so, check the girth and tighten it again if you need to.
2. Ride soft. This means sitting quietly and giving very slight (but clear) aids until your pony settles. No kicking or pulling – just do everything as softly, and as quietly as you can. Think of suggesting with your aids, instead of insisting. Of whispering, instead of shouting.
3. Breathe. Holding your breath makes your pony nervous. Honestly, we can’t say this enough (which is why we’re always saying it!).
4. Keep your weight in your heels. These are your anchors. When they go up, so do you. You don’t want this to happen so keep those heels down.
5. Sit up. Crouching over your pony’s neck won’t help you stay on. Quite the opposite, in fact. Sit up and you are more secure in the saddle.