[Q] I have a pony who is well behaved most of the time, but sometimes he spins and then runs away with me. I often can’t find a trigger. Do you have any tips to fix this?

Asked by Marianne de Jong

[A] The first thing that comes to mind when I read this is: have you checked your horse, his saddle and have you had him checked out by a vet? Before you can start questioning your horse’s behaviour, you have to rule out any pain. Unfortunately, horses can’t speak, so it is always a challenge to find out what causes certain behaviour.

Once pain and discomfort have been ruled out, you need to search for factors that might be contributing to the issue, such as the build-up of too much energy because of too much food or lack of free movement. Does your pony have time and space to expend built-up energy in the paddock? If not, you can increase the turn-out time and also lunge your pony before you get on. In this way your pony has the opportunity to get rid of any excitement before he has to work with you. 

If you have checked all these things and your horse is still trying to run away with you, then you can assess your own riding. A good instructor can help you train your horse and make him more focused and obedient. Unfortunately some of these behaviours can become habit over time, and an equine behaviourist or instructor will be required to help you sort through the issue and undertake some proper retraining. Through proper training or retraining you can hopefully start to gain more control. Good luck!

Answered by Equine Support International