To get a pony for my DD2?

(99 Posts)
JustDontWantToSay Thu 10-Jul-14 00:29:48

I have a strong background in horses, I haven't owned one since Uni due to circumstances but I've always retained an interest and ridden when the opportunity arose. In fact, I ran a small livery yard with 6 horses on my own for a year.

I was keen for DD1 to ride - and she did. For about a year, walk-trot-canter-small jump sort of thing. But she just 'did it' if you see what I mean. There was no passion there and riding is an expensive hobby so I said right, that's it. She wasn't bothered and has plenty of other hobbies.

DD2 has sat on ponies and been lead on hacks, etc. since she was 2. Her legs don't reach below the saddle flaps so I've put off giving her lessons. She's 7 now, but a particularly small 7. When she does ride she loves it and she's fearless.

Anyway, I decided tonight that I'd like to get DD2 a pony. Only on loan, keep it on DIY livery nearby (plenty of yards, I'd probably choose the one at their school which is really close by). I can really see DD2 absolutely loving it, but naturally DD1 has complained massively because I didn't get her a pony. BECAUSE she didn't want one.

So AIBU? Or just treating each child as an individual?

bumbleymummy Thu 10-Jul-14 00:32:36

I don't think yabu. You are treating them as individuals. Could the older one 'share' the pony until she loses interest?

JustDontWantToSay Thu 10-Jul-14 00:36:37

Well, there's 5 years between them and DD2 really is tiny so I'm looking at a pony no bigger than 12.2hh or so which is far too small for DD1.
She really won't be bothered eventually, I just feel guilty getting DD2 such a massive thing when I didn't do it for DD1.
I appreciate this is a first world problem btw blush

Cirsium Thu 10-Jul-14 00:40:12

My parents had a similar dilemma as my brother had given up riding by the time I was ready for a pony of my own. He had taken up mountain biking though and was very into music so he got a top range mountain bike and hifi system and I got a pony. They have continued to make similar substitutions with other things and we are both happy.

JustDontWantToSay Thu 10-Jul-14 00:47:18

Thank you Cirsium smile

DiseasesOfTheSheep Thu 10-Jul-14 00:52:55

My parents did similar to cirsium's - we were both happy. Get her the pony grin

Would you support DD1's hobbies with as much time, money and effort? If you would, buy the pony. If not, ask yourself why?

MiscellaneousAssortment Thu 10-Jul-14 01:33:44

I'd get her a lovely 'dreams come true' present too, that shows you love her and her talents just as much...

My parents sent my talented sister to many dance schools and away trips, and for me they bought a proper and very nice viola, to celebrate my talents. Personally I felt pushed into music and would far rather have done drama smile

But I still love my viola and never felt overlooked in the face of my sisters rather obvious exceptional talent... And that's what you're aiming for!

SquigglySquid Thu 10-Jul-14 01:41:58

As long as you're supporting your other daughter's hobbies and talents with the same enthusiasm, I see no problem.

Tell DD1 what you have gotten her to support her interests and to stop complaining and be grateful for what she has gotten. Unless you haven't gotten her anything nice like that, then you might want to rethink your parenting and why you're playing favorites.

Joysmum Thu 10-Jul-14 01:45:30

My fears were that I'd try to live out my horsey dreams through my daughter. She enjoyed riding but hasn't wanted to live and breath them as I did. She liked having something in common with me and liked it, but not enough for a pony!

Having a pony is a lifestyle, not a hobby. It's takes a LOT of time and money and means the child needs to do it enough to make it pay for itself. The child can be pushed into doing more than they want to justify keeping the pony.

I've got friends who have kids with ponies and I asked how the kids have time to do homework, reading and other hobbies? How the parent devotes just as much time and money to supporting siblings in their interests? Upshot is that there is precious little time or money for anything else. The pony becomes everything and the child doesn't get a chance to explore other interests so it limits their experiences in everything else!

I say this as a horsey person myself.

At most, unless my child was so massively into horses as I am, the most I'd commit to was a share rather than a full loan.

Ponies are my life's love but I've been able to experience lots of different interests to rule everything else out. I see it as my job to provide as many opportunities for my child to try lots of different things too. I'd never buy/full loan a pony unless my child had already proven it to be her dream, not mine!

Brabra Thu 10-Jul-14 04:46:08

You are just living through DD2, I can see why DD1 is annoyed, she did all the preliminaries and never got a pony, but DD2 did even though she only 'sat' on ponies with her very short legs??!

SignYourName Thu 10-Jul-14 06:41:35

I'd get DD2 a bunch of lessons first, in case the reality of having to ride regularly (as she would to keep pony exercised) puts her off. If she's big enough for a 12.2 she's big enough to start at a decent riding school - most of the ones I've known have at least one pony around or under 12 hands for the tinies.

And YY to doing something equivalent for DD1.

SignYourName Thu 10-Jul-14 06:43:56

PS. If you do end up getting a pony, a native such as a Dartmoor or proper leg-at-each-corner Welsh would be up to DD1's weight even if her legs were a bit long, if she wanted to have the odd non-competitive ride and feel more included. Plenty of adults ride ponies.

It's fine to get dd2 a pony (& dd1 something else - what are her interests) but make sure it's her obsession not yours. If it's yours get yourself a pony/horse

EddieStobbart Thu 10-Jul-14 06:53:30

Wait and make sure she really is interested.

I was given a pony as a "surprise". I was terrified of riding it but didn't want to seem ungrateful. Cast a shadow over about three years of my childhood.

I personally would not rush into it. Let her 'earn her stripes' by volunteering at the riding school etc, to demonstrate her commitment.

Dd has been riding since she was seven. She started with 2 of her school friends.
Now, over 4 years later, one girl has dropped out all together, one girl enjoys riding but also enjoys many other hobbies (and riding for her is just one of many things she does) and one - dd- is completely passionate, helps as a volunteer at the stables every Saturday from 9am until early evening, helps with all the pony days and pony camps and has poo - picked more fields on freezing cold and wet days then I care to count. She eats, sleeps and breathes ponies.

So, 8 weeks ago we took on a share pony at her riding stables. Three afternoons per week the pony is hers to use and look after. She understands the commitment, i.e on pony share days she cannot decide to do something else, the pony needs exercising, caring for, it's field needs poo-picking etc.
She is loving it.

We will probably continue to share for another 3 or 4 years (provided she is still as passionate and provided there is a suitable pony available, this one is only 12.2hh and dd is a tall and skinny string bean of a girl) Then, when she is a teenager and is still as committed and passionate, only then will we look into buying.

It has to be her hobby, her passion. (I rode in my youth and still love horses but I am careful to leave the pony share to her, it is not my share!! Although I do get the cuddle him smile )

tobysmum77 Thu 10-Jul-14 07:24:51

I think 7 is too young

Booboostoo Thu 10-Jul-14 07:30:55

I don't think there is anything wrong with getting only DD2 a pony if DD1 is not really interested. DD1 can have something else related to her hobby. However if DD2 may not have more fun with riding lessons instead. There will be more kids around, she can swap ponies as her abilities progress, she can be less involved when the weather is bad but she can still do loan a pony for a week schemes in the summer. She may enjoy a pony more in a couple of years when she will be more ready for it.

Madsometimes Thu 10-Jul-14 07:39:27

I wouldn't get her a pony.

I would get yourself a pony! It sounds like the horse passion is yours. Your dd can still learn to ride etc, and if in a few years time she is begging to be at the stables, mucking out horses etc, then think of getting her one. At 7, this could just be a passing phase like it was for dd1.

fluffyraggies Thu 10-Jul-14 07:42:23

I agree about lessons possibly being more fun and less pressure to enjoy it all for a 7 yer old.

It would be different if you still had a 'horsey life style', with horses of your own already. In those circs. adding a pony for DD2 would seem a natural progression and less of a big deal all round. But you don't. And personally i think buying a pony and it's subsequent upkeep plus committing the time it will take up is a big thing to give just one (very young) DC.

Livvylongpants Thu 10-Jul-14 07:46:50

Have you looked into sharing? We have a share on a shetland 2 days a week for nearly 3 year old DD. Only costs us £10 a week and DD loves it and has been talking about ponies since she first sat on one at 18 months.

Plus deep down I love doing the caring side, havn't ridden since having DD but I just live to be round horses

fluffyraggies Thu 10-Jul-14 07:50:57

Meant to add - my eldest DD was horsey mad and spent hours doing unpaid work at our local stables - mucking out, cleaning tack, grooming and shifting ponies about and helping on lesson days. Some evenings and all day every Sat. For this she got her lessons free plus the pick of the horses to ride. This was from aged 9 till apx.16.

Ironically my other 2 DDs were keen on riding - but not keen enough for any hard graft - so i had to pay out a fortune in lessons for them for years!

Eelseelseels Thu 10-Jul-14 07:51:17

As Madsometimes said. Get a loan pony for you. I've got a native pony myself, he's great for me and other adults, but a child could easily learn on him as he's only 13.3. Then both your daughters can have a ride if they really want to.

SignYourName Thu 10-Jul-14 07:57:11

I also note it's telling that you don't say DD2 wants a pony. She has enjoyed riding so far and is fearless - that's not the same as non-stop "pleeeeeeeease can I have a pony, Mum" pestering. You have decided you would like to get her a pony, so if this is coming from you rather than her sister I can see why DD1 would be even more peeved. As PPs have said, it sounds like you want to be Pony Club Mum and relive your own horsey lifestyle.

Also, from the POV of any future loan pony's owner, I would want to know that the person who would be riding my much-loved worth-his-weight-in-gold first pony was someone who could ride competently for their age and standard. If DD2's legs don't come below the saddle flaps, she's going to struggle to control a pony.

Riding lessons, and lots of them, are definitely the way forward for so many reasons - giving her fun and an opportunity to make friends, improving her riding, giving her the chance to ride different ponies, testing her commitment to the cause. Find a good school with a handful of ponies under 12 hands and maybe get yourself a loan/share there at the same time!

WaywardOn3 Thu 10-Jul-14 08:02:22

Ds (almost 4) has a pony by shear chance. We had two working horses and one retired golden oldie, our retired horse hated to be left alone and thought sheep were a poor substitute for horsey friends. So we looked a small native companions, our perfect one just happened to be a rideable shitland pony. Ds loves the odd ride of 'his' pony but is by no means passionate about riding so if he looses interest it's no biggy as that isn't the ponies main reason for being here (and I can get a sharer to help with fitness)

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