supermariosmum you should ensure that the woman has insurance to teach on her pony (very expensive for individuals without formal teaching qualifications) so that you have some kind of backup if anything goes wrong.
We have ended up in the same situation and it is working out really well!! We went to see a pony for my DD 10 to loan then decided that she was not experienced enough yet so said no then the woman offered to 'teach' my DD the care side of it and a bit of riding as DD has been having lessons for a couple of years but needs to know more about how to look after a horse. We are 3 weeks into the arrangement and so far it is going really well. My DD has learnt loads already and is loving all the hands on experience she is getting. Turns out that my parents know the woman's parents quite well so we are reassured by that as it feels like she is not a complete stranger to us. I would think its worth a try and see how it goes op!!
Is your DD nervous handling, riding or both? If it's just handling why not book some stable management lessons at your local RC where you know they will have suitable staff and ponies? If she is nervous riding it's a big risk to rely on a random stranger with an unknown pony to give her her confidence back - that is a job for a professional.
There are no good and bad deals when it comes to sharing. Some people offer you the horse for free but benefit from your free time to look after the horse and your experience to ride it, some expect a financial contribution which may be a lot less than you would pay for lessons without the hassle of owning. As long as the parties involved are happy then it's a good deal.
It depends. Does the owner have any qualifications? How much experience does she have? It is difficult to judge if you are getting a good deal without knowing anything about the owner. Just owning a horse soesn't mean you know what you are doing. I would want to be sure what she is teaching your DD is actually right.
I posted on here last week about my DD being overly nervous with horses. We had answered an ad to loan a horse for three days a week for a £100 a month. Very reasonable price. Anyway when we went up there on our own we decided she wasn't ready experience wise and we were not experienced enough to cope. I contacted the owner and she very kindly wanted us to see out the month with her as we had already paid and liked our DD so wanted to help her overcome her nerves a bit. We went and met her there and DD stayed with her for a few hours grooming and a bit of riding. When we got back the owner suggested that DD comes to her every weekend for 1 day for a few hours as she feels she could help her. That she could teach her the care of horses and some riding. She said it would help her because she enjoys being with DD and obviously pay the same amount of money. Just wondered if that is a good deal. Financially?