If your pony or riding school pony is fine limbed, with a silky coat and a turn of speed then he’s probably descended from hot-blooded stock. There is no need to be nervous about riding hot-bloods. Arabians and Thoroughbreds are sensitive, it’s true, but they are also very intelligent, and Arabs in particular have been bred for centuries to live with human beings, so are very social.
1. Be confident – but not rough. Hot-bloods like confident riders.
2. Remember they are thin-skinned, so don’t go yanking up that girth in one go, or using harsh aids.
3. Hot-bloods are sensitive – but that’s a good thing. There is no need to shout your aids. Just whisper them. Just thinking about what you want to do (make a transition, turn a corner) can influence them. Less is more.
4. Be respectful. Hot-bloods are intelligent and dislike being bossed about. Cultivate a partnership.
If your pony or riding school pony is chunky, with plenty of feather and a thick mane and tail (and possibly less inclined to spook, shy or tow you along at a gallop), he probably has cold-blooded ancestors. He is probably long-suffering and patient, but still has a gentle personality to love!
1. You may have to make your requests ultra-clear. And possibly ask more than once. Be patient, but insistent.
2. Cold-bloods have thicker skins than warm-bloods, and may have thicker coats. This will influence the strength of your aids until you come to an understanding.
3. You may find your cold-blooded pony needs a firm hand. Don’t be afraid to be a leader and be in charge. Nicely, of course!
If the pony you ride looks cute and cuddly, but has an iron will and can frustrate and surprise you, he may just be a native pony!
1. Native ponies are survivors, so they’re anything but stupid. Remember that your pony will have his own ideas about things, so you need to come to an understanding.
2. Native ponies often have an eating fixation. This is hard-wired into their brain for survival, so it is understandable. Be aware when hacking out that temptation will be strong!
3. Native ponies have a turn of speed – so don’t get caught out!