Hi everyone, I am new to the forum although I have been a member for a while. I am going to apologize in advance for what could be a long post!
Potted history of me, rode up until late teens, had a break after getting married, bought a little welshie that I backed myself ( still in the family now aged 25) moved onto horses, in particular ex racers and sadly lost the most wonderful horse in the world due to a silly accident out on the road, cue loss of confidence! That was over 15 years ago. Embarked on Natural Horsemanship training but never felt overly confident. Rode lots of horses and managed to contain fear. My daughter now has ponies and I really want to get back into riding! Phew not so potted!!!
Anyway I have recently got a lovely 14.1 New Forest x Warmblood pony. I tried him several times and he was lovely, good to ride, handle, in traffic etc. However about a week before he came to me the person I was getting him from informed me he had bitten her and she wanted to hang onto him for a week to make sure he was safe to come here as she knows I have children. So he arrived after assurances that he was fine and safe. The biting issues were caused by treats, she also said that he is "grumpy" and the best thing to do is walk away when he is "grumpy" and leave him. I allowed him to settle and then wanted to go and remove his headcollar after a few days. As I approached him he laid his ears flat back and as I walked up he started to run at me. I had a rope in my hands and so I slapped it against my leg and he stopped, still with ears flat back. I was feeling rather nervous but decided not to leave the field but instead walked around and patted the other ponies and then left. My husband (not horsey at all but very good with animals) went out to see if he would do the same to him. The pony didn't charge but had ears flat back but my OH was able to smooth him between the eyes and then he asked my daughter to walk up, the pony was acting all relaxed when he suddenly went to bite my daughter! Immediately he was reprimanded by OH slapping rope on the ground to send him away. Since then we have spent a lot of time in the field just being around him and the other ponies so that he doesn't see us as a threat. He is getting used to us and even neighed to me the other day which I thought was rather touching. However today I went into the field and I could feel my nerves getting the better of me. I wanted to be brave and walk up to him but I couldn't. My husband went up and touched him between his eyes and then walked away, I was just observing and although the pony didn't try to bite or charge he still looked unhappy.
So I guess what I am trying to say is what is the best approach with this pony? I feel that my nerves are not helping the situation and obviously the pony knows I am nervous. Although I wasn't at all nervous of him before he displayed this behavior so it wasn't the cause.
Thank you for reading and if you have any suggestions I would be eternally grateful.