Horsy News, Views and Attitudes   Vol. 1 Number 19  November 26 - December 2, 2007


Fall Field  photo by Jeanne Betancourt


Pony Pals Letters

I am Rebecca S. and I am 10 years old.  I received Pony Pals books for Christmas last year and I have read all 8 of the books I have.  I have asked for the rest of the Pony Pals books for Christmas this year.  I would also like to sign up for Club Pony Pals.  I had a pony of my own named Star, but he died a while ago, I miss him a LOT. Some of the pony pals books remind me of him.  I hope Santa can find all the Pony Pals books for me for Christmas this year.   Rebecca

hello can i change email address if i can can you let me know (Ed. Of course! Please write me with your new email address and I would be glad to change it.)

Hey, I'm glad most people liked the e-mail way to get the issues more. Here is some horsy news of my own:

I just got back from horseback riding about 2 or 3 hours ago, I ride at a place called Riverbend Equestrian, I did lots of barn work for the ponies. My favorite pony there is an Arabian/Quarter Horse named Sofana. When I first got to Riverbend today I got horses in from the pasture (They were very frisky so it was difficult). It was tuff getting by this one Percheron stallion named Rhett. Soon everybody (the horses) were all in their stalls and munching on fresh hay I had just given them.

(See "Learn to Speak Horse" on page 2)


Olson's Pony Party

    Almost sixty riders, guests and prospective horse owners came to Reggie Olson's Open House last Friday.   


     "It was great to meet so many new people," Olson said. "Three young riders really helped out at this event."


      A Wiggins group called the Pony Pals helped Olson answer questions about the horses and ponies for sale at the event.


     "We had a great time and two of our pals got the ponies they always wanted from Mr. Olson," Lulu Sanders said. "It was really fun!"


A prospective pony owner tries out a Shetland pony at Olson's Black Friday Open House.

Thought for the day - - 

You really appreciate fingers when you cut your thumb. 

Page 2

Horsy News, Views and Attitudes    Vol. 1 Number 19  November 26 - December 2, 2007



 (Continued from "Pony Pals Letters " on page 1) Q. I went to a small paddock where a miniature (Will) and a little pony (Scooby were playing a game of, as you said, "Nip Tag". I went to scrub and refill their water buckets. The problem was, every time I would reach to unlock the gate Scooby would come and try to push it open, I would quickly lock it again. Soon, he succeeded in pushing the gate open but he did not try to get out, he only stood there as if to say, "What are you waiting for". So when I would go into the paddock (By the way Scooby is a very aggressive biter) and try to get Scoobs to back up so I could get to the water bucket, he would not budge. I soon had the solution of walking back out the gate and jump over the gate to the buckets. Do you know why Scooby was doing this? Will you tell me some handy facts for pasture turnout? I am having some trouble w/ the horses.    Thank you, PoniGirl


Dear PoniGirl

Wow!  What a great story!  Your adventures with the horses at Riverbend sound exciting. Maybe even a little too exciting.

First, let’s talk about something that you mentioned only in passing, “Scooby is a very aggressive biter.” Biting is something that is a very dangerous trait, even in ponies. If you do not own Scooby, then his owner would be responsible if you were hurt while caring for him.  Biting can hurt you seriously or even kill you if you’re bitten in the wrong place. Every time Scooby bites at you he needs to be trained not to do it.

 Before you can teach a horse not to bite you, they must also be trained to respect you and your “bubble,” which is the safe area around your body. When dealing with horses or ponies, your bubble is about six feet in diameter, about the same distance as the horse could reach or strike. No horse can be allowed to enter this area unless invited.

When you approach an animal, they must be trained to back up and away from you and this area if you ask them to move. This is done with a lead line and involves asking the horse to stay out of your bubble until invited to enter into it. Practicing this teaches a horse respect for you in their herd.

Scooby does not respect you. He wouldn’t move away when you asked him to and until he will do that willingly he is a dangerous animal. He is biting at you and refusing to move saying “I am the boss.  You are less powerful than I am.”

You need to get help from a horse trainer or adult to help you teach the horses you handle to respect you, so that when you ask one to move away he does it willingly. Some trainers have videos that show how to do this.

Moving horses in pasture also requires that they respect you. Young or untrained horses will sometimes run, buck and kick at you when you try to catch them. Again, they must learn to respect you or this can be dangerous.

It would be a good idea for you to ask for help with these horses. Without being there, it is not easy for anyone to demonstrate how to teach a horse to respect you. Most people who have had a lot of experience with handling horses can show you how to do this. Just like a human baby has to learn to talk, working with horses means you must learn how to express your thoughts to a horse clearly in “horse language.” Until you learn how to “expand your bubble” so a horse will respect it, you will have trouble with getting them to do what you want them to do.

You may want to think about finding an adult who you think is skilled in communicating with horses and ask them to help you. There is no shame in asking for help from an adult if you are at risk.  Horses are loving creatures, but they are big and you can be badly hurt or killed if you do not handle them the right way.

Please look around for an adult you trust — someone who is kind, patient but firm-- to teach you some safety tips when you handle these horses.