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kid flinging pony

O.K., things seem slow, see if ya'll can help me out.

I've got a 12.2 hand, 6 year old Welsh gelding, and an 8 year old
daughter who thinks she wants to do a 25 this spring.  Josie, (said
daughter) is pretty tough and really loves to ride.  No, mom doesn't push
her because mom really needs to ride without her so she can go faster, so
it's doesn't behoove me for her to ride.

The pony has had a pretty easy life since he was actually the property of
the "other daughter" who is more of a "phone sprouting from the ear"
type.  I've had him since he was 18 months old and am responsible for
whatever training he's had, which means I rode him when I had a lame
horse or had a few spare minutes.

His problem is, he likes to throw a buck now and then.  When he's in the
field, if a horsefly lands on his back, he bucks.  When he canters, he
likes to throw a buck now and then.  Not a great big one, but he likes to
get his head down and bounce a couple of times now and then, more of a
"yee ha" than trying to get rid of anybody.  

When he bucks with me I let him have it, but kids are too busy hanging
on.  By the way, he's not touchy on the flanks or loins.  He's also as
far as you can get from shy.  You can't beat him away from you and he
would simply chuckle if you thought you could scare him away.

Yesterday, Josie went for a ride through the woods with me.  She was
doing great, posting 90 miles an hour on the flats, trotting down hills
(slowly) and going over a few low jumps, grinning from ear to ear. 
But...she loves to canter so as we rounded a little uphill curve I would
let them canter.  After about an hour of riding, we did this and I looked
back just in time to see her come off.  He had bucked at the canter and I
heard her helmet smack a root hard.  This stuff is no big deal when it
happens to me, but was terrifying as a mom.  She lay very still, cried a
little, said her head hurt bad.  Finally, I asked if she thought she
should walk home (meaning on foot) and she said, "No, I can trot". :-)) 
She took it well and kept passing me as I walked them home, but her head
did hurt, and today her neck is sore.  By the way, she knows enough about
concussions to mess with us by giving us all sorts of phone numbers when
we asked her what hers was. :-) 

This really bothers me.  The pony, for the most part is safer than most. 
But he just thinks he's got to do that little pitch now and then.  Josie
was riding a little jumping saddle when it happened.  She likes to ride
my Ortho-Flex Express, but right now that leaves me with no saddle to
ride.  I'm looking at having a fellow who works over here at Big Horn
make me a 13" endurance saddle and set the stirrups back, possibly
modified to take up farther.  If I get one made, think anyone will be in
the market for it when it's outgrown? (probably cost me about $300)  

Does anybody have advice on the bucking thing?  I have no round pen,
Josie only weighs 70 lbs, and I don't think saddle fit was a major
reason.  He does it bareback too.

Does anybody know how one would make a pattern to build a little more of
an English "look" saddle on a western tree, comparable to my Express?

I have her ride with a curb bit so that she can keep his head up.  She's
easy on his mouth, has great hands.  I'm thinking of getting some rubber
grip reins.

I really would like to keep this daughter, since I've been very pleased
with her and have lots of money invested in her. >eg<  I can't see
putting any sort of overcheck on the pony with all the uneven terrain and
jumps we have to get past.

P.S.  I'm looking at buying her a new helmet.  Won't be a Lexington type,
they fall down over her eyes.  What's the concencus on the different
Troxel styles?  Which one was more oblong?


Angie & Josie (the one with the dent in her helmet)      

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