How do you know when They are ready for their own pony?

(29 Posts)
internationalvulva Mon 29-Oct-12 16:15:05

Bit of background. DD is 7, has ridden since she was 4, is a member of pony club, and rides once a week, twice on pony club weeks. She is obsessive about riding. It's her big thing, she loves it more than anything else she does and I would love her to have her own pony....but

I'm not sure whether the costs are worth it at this age? We have two options. We have a stable Next to our house Which is vacant and a small field next door that we have been told would be free for us to use. However, aside from a half mile field track behind the house the only place she could exercise a pony directly from here is on roads, and as I haven't a horse I'd have to cycle with her. There is a small possibility of renting a field behind us which is substantial, I'd say a couple of acres or so and she could possibly erect jumps there, so dependant on rental costs this could be an option.

Her riding school is a 6 minute drive away, and they do livery, and have two arenas and three jumping fields. But she'd need me to ferry here there and back to ride.

I'm not entirely sure which would be the best option. I can see advantages of both. If she wanted lessons and wasn't at the yard then we'd have to get the pony there somehow. If she isn't at the yard she can't see it and hang out with it as much as if it's here.

Is 7 too young. Realistically it's going to be me mucking out and taking care of the pony a lot right?? How much time does that take a day? Would we be better with a loan or share pony??

Would love some opinions and experiences to help me make a decision (and then I have to figure out where the money would come from, but hey ho!grin)

basildonbond Mon 29-Oct-12 18:26:22

Well dd did a quiz in Pony magazine and according to that she's definitely ready to have her own pony grin

At your daughter's age I think it's more a case of are you ready for her to have her own pony as you will be the one looking after it

We don't have your dilemma as we're in London and there's nowhere here we could keep a pony (although dd did measure up the garden and is pretty convinced we could fit a 'small' pony in there ...). One of the local riding schools is advertising shares 'soon' so I'm going to find out what that entails.

Good luck with your decision

mistybear Mon 29-Oct-12 19:45:58

My little girl is 7 and has her own pony but i must admit from seeing her and her little friends the amount of work they do is very hit and miss and sometimes really depends on how much they want to impress their friends ! lol so i would think the majority of the work will fall to you i also school the pony a couple of times of week (long reining and lunging) to keep her manners in place x my dd's pony is kept at the riding school where all her friends are and the local pony club is also at and that in my mind really helps because we have kept the pony on the yard where i have had my horses and she was really bored and lonely without children of her age around, also i would think you do need a safe enclosed area for her to have lessons in and play around with her pony ( which is the big part of them having their own pony) x if i could go back in time i would have tried to find a pony on loan or to share to see how keen dd really was because the cold and wet is a big wake up call for most little ones and i have many times been up on the yard without dd looking after her pony in the freezing cold while lady muck lounges at home in the warm playing with her toy horses !! lol xx good luck and have fun and in the end i find that watching dd cuddle her pony and seeing the bond they have is worth it all xx

mistybear Mon 29-Oct-12 19:56:50

sorry just re-read your post - I go to the yard in the morning to school, turnout and muckout and then dd and I go back up after school to either bring in or ride( she has lesson a couple of times a week) she does pony club on the sunday so is up at the yard all day but i am lucky as the pony club helpers really like children lol so i dont have to stay with her x I also have another rider for dpony who has the pony on a sat and mon to give us some ponyfree time and she is a better rider then dd so really helps with the schooling, unless you can afford to pay for help or have very good friends or family i find its quite time consuming and if you then start going down the competition route very expensive, we go without a lot because its mine and dd's hobby together and dh is hoping it will keep her on the straight and narrow when older !!!

internationalvulva Mon 29-Oct-12 20:06:11

Hmmm you see you are convincing me that loan is the way to go until I see how she takes to having more of the responsibility along with the riding! It's a hobby DD and I share too Misty, I think part of the reason I want her to have one is that I always wanted one but my parents could never have managed it and had no interest in horses. Going to explore the loan route further...any tips on what to seek and avoid? Thanks for all the input so far, it's really helping!!

Butkin Mon 29-Oct-12 23:00:41

Agree that at 7 you'll be doing a lot of the work although you can delegate tasks - our DD does watering topping up, making up feeds, packing hay nets, sweeping etc. We don't let her muck out as she'd either make a mess or she'd throw out more clean stuff than we would.

I don't think the home option is a good idea. Sounds like she'd enjoy the interaction with the other children, using the school, having lessons etc. Also they will be able to do some services for you on part-livery. Depends on how much you want to spend. At least it means you can easily go on holiday etc.

7 is a good age for a new pony but think hard about what sort she will need and most importantly what size.

mistybear Tue 30-Oct-12 14:01:58

Hi international my dd pony is 12 hands sec a and dd is about 128 cm and i would think she will have another year or so depending on how fast she grows but we also have a 11.2hh dartmoor and she looks the same size on him because he broader so takes her leg up more and she also rides a 12.2 show pony and does not look that much different to the other two as he is a lot narrower so i would to try quite a few and see how she looks but if you do want to show she will have a lot longer with natives x I agree with butkin there is a lot they can do on the yard to help out and especially if they have friend with them ! i would ask the riding school and pony club if they know of any ponies to load or share but i find the best ponies are found by word of mouth so do you know anyone who is more involved in the horsey world and ask them to keep a look out for you . I would also take her riding instructor(if you trust her) or a horsey friend to go with when you go looking just to give you a reality check because sometimes the ones you want are not the ones that are right for you as i have found out !!!!! if you are going down the sharer loaning route look on the British horse society they lots of advice and loan agreements to download. Also whichever route you go down please have it vetted i know it can be a expense but its amazing how people will bend the truth about their ponies and nothing worse then having to keep a pony that cant do what you want !!! and its lovely for them to have their own pony dd and I have just been shopping for Halloween costumes for her and her pony !! she is going as a corpse bride and the pony as the devil (which is very appropriate for the little darling !!) its a pony club day and fancy dress competition tomorrow x have fun and i am very jealous because its lovely going pony hunting x a good website is horsequest to look at and do some window shopping on x

internationalvulva Tue 30-Oct-12 20:23:51

Oh Thanks Butkin and Mistybear, I'm going to find out about livery and see if we can manage to keep it at the yard we ride at. my instructor is lovely and I think would come with us. Off to check out those websites!! I'll be back if we do it to let you know what we end u with. (and possibly before then with a bundle more questions!! grin)

internationalvulva Tue 30-Oct-12 20:56:07

Oh PS, Misty, if and when we go for it your welcome to come pony shopping with us! grin

mistybear Wed 31-Oct-12 19:15:54

thankyou international i might take you up on that xx happy hunting x

WithoutCaution Thu 01-Nov-12 14:41:14

DS is 13 months and obsessed with my big ginger giant so I let him have a sit on Oz every now and again. My mistake was telling my mum that DS was into horses and had been riding Oz. DS is now the proud owner of a dartmoor pony (currently living at my parents with their horses and my yearling until Xmas) but I'm not to worry as the girl down the road is going to ride him for DS until my parents bring Leo to ours where we'll be able to find a sharer until DS is older and can do more than have a little walk round. It would seem that my mum has it all planned hmm Thankfully Leo can live out all year and won't need hard feed or shoes

Lasvegas Tue 06-Nov-12 13:26:44

I am an adult and have recently started a two day share at a livery yard. It involves mucking out 2 days, grooming, picking out feet, topping up water and rugging up. Other things needs like nets are down to livery yard. It is amazing how physical it is. My pony is 14.2. I have a nine year old DD and there is no way she would have the strength to use a pitch fork to lift out wet straw and put it into a wheel barrel and then empty it on muck heap. So OP I think it will be you looking after the pony. My DD can groom, but I would not leave her unsupervised to do so.

Katla Tue 06-Nov-12 16:10:26

I was desperate when I was 7 for a pony but my parents made me wait until I was 14 - theory was then that I'd shown I was still keen and would stick with it. Most small girls want a pony, whereas I'd done hard time at the local riding school brushing, mucking out (inc the pigs), cleaning tack for free rides for years.

I think that was a good age as then I could do it myself, getting the bus there, being responsible for looking after it (although there was an experienced lady there who used to keep an eye on me as my parents weren't particularly horsey). There is also the bit about managing a pony alone when small - at 7 a child isn't strong enough to cope on their own should the pony decide to be difficult/nappy - they are too young to hack out alone, and the pony will quickly get bored of being schooled in the one space all the time on their own and may misbehave.

I think children can get their own pony younger if you are also horsey and they 'do' their pony whilst you are doing your own, or if there are others around to help out. Perhaps do the loan/livery thing for a few years and see if she sticks at it because the novelty may wear off - loads of my friends who had ponies young lost interest as soon as hair/makeup and boys came on the scene.

KTK9 Wed 07-Nov-12 23:16:00

I would also suggest you go with the loan/share option and keep it at the local riding school. Their help will be esssential if you are not particularly 'horsey' yourself and if you go on holiday or away for the weekend.

DD is just 8 and we got a pony on loan at the beginning of the summer. We pay £20 a week towards it and pay for the farrier £20 (no shoes). We are lucky to have a livery yard next door to us and the owner - who has another horse, does her two days a week, we do the rest and ride whenever we want to. However, the work of doing the pony on our days falls to me. DD will do the water buckets, haynet and feed, she can also put rugs on and off (with help throwing the rug over!), but I don't let her muck out - far too much waste! I have to go with her to the field to get her in - because of other horses in there, for safety - it is a lot of work really. although dd lives for it. We also take turns with others in the yard, turning out/getting in each day, so we don't have to worry before school, you would have this at a riding school.

Loaning is ideal for us though, because if she loses interest, we just give notice, or when she grows out of the pony, we don't have a trauma of selling her. I also haven't had to fork out the money to buy a pony!

DD doesn't really have any other children in the yard her age and she misses the fun of being with others - like she was at the riding school and for that alone, I feel she is missing out a bit. We probably will join pony club, but we haven't a box and all our meetings are a long way away sad

Have a look on preloved in your area, or local notice boards in saddlers etc., a lot of people with outgrown ponies look for riders, although very often the pony has to stay at their yard.

CanonFodder Sun 11-Nov-12 14:24:20

thanks again for all your sage advice and experiences. Am now wondering about getting a shetland. Been reading a lot about it in the last few days and it seems like it could be an interim solution? We have a field that is 1/3 of an acre next door, which we can use for free. We have a stable if it is needed, again for free or very cheaply, there is also the possibility of further grazing in a field the other side for a small fee, or we could feed as a (more expensive) alternative. even if it were too small to ride it would give her (well, us) experience in looking after a pony. I know they are a horse like any other, and have the same needs, so I'm not thinking it's the easy option necessarily, but am I right in thinking they CAN be more 'self sufficient' and therefore more manageable for us? Hmmmmm more reading needed I think. Of supreme importance to me is the horses happiness and health, so I want to make the right decision on this.

NothingIsAsBadAsItSeems Thu 15-Nov-12 16:40:07

We have a shetland for DS (2), he needs more exercise than a short plod down the road or in the school so I lunge/long rein/loose jump him to help keep the weight off. smile Will never be able to sell the evil cheeky sod though as he's become part of the family. Hopefully DS will still enjoy horses when he's old enough for a bigger pony.

helebear Mon 19-Nov-12 22:53:35

I was desperate for a pony from the age or about 7 or 8. When I was about 10 or 11 I got a Shetland pony on loan who could live in the little paddock at the end of our garden as a sort of compromise. He was really sweet & I had fun grooming him but I couldn't really ride him as he was barely broken in. Unfortunately the pony got very lonely by himself and I found that there was only so much grooming etc that I could do & I preferred the buzz of being at the riding school with my friends, so he went back to his owners. So, whilst its s good idea in theory it might not work in practice.

I eventually got a pony on loan when I was 15 after another 5 years spending every Saturday down the stables, working for rides & loving every moment come rain or shine!

Booboostoo Tue 20-Nov-12 19:31:28

Many horses/ponies will be unhappy on their own so you'd need two to keep each other company, but two can get attached to each other, so three is a better see where this is going don't you?

Your DD would have to be exceptionally dedicated to look after a pony she never had a chance to ride. While some people do love the taking care of side of things and there is nothing wrong with having a horse you do not ride, I suspect a 7 year old might get very bored looking after a pony all by herself with no riding.

Shetlands are notoriously difficult characters, and while there are exceptions, you'd probably be better off looking at a different breed.

Abitwobblynow Tue 20-Nov-12 23:05:44

Erm, IMO when they will crawl over broken glass just to see a pony in a field.

I made the mistake of giving my children ponies on a plate. Despite lessons every week, they never really got it. Well, one did (because he is brave but still not into it) and the others went until that ackward phase going into canter when they ARE going to fall off, and that was absolutely it! Such a pity, they had the most wonderful Dartmoor, a grumpy Shetland x and a rather tricky very pretty dish-faced Welsh sec A.

So we gave up until D hit 12 when she wanted to start again, now she has to show real commitment and drive before she owns a horse again.

Mirage Wed 21-Nov-12 08:45:45

I was a mean mummy and made DD1 go to riding school for 4 years before we bought dpony.She went every week,even when the weather was so cold that the lessons had to be shortened because of the temperatures.Then DD2 started,progressed quickly and I ended up going to the RS twice a week and it was costing me a ridiculous amount of money,so I convinced DH that it would be cheaper to have our own.We are lucky and rent a private yard at home,so we don't have the travelling back and forth,dpony lives out so there is no mucking out.

They were 6 and 7 when we got her and she's been with us 16 months,they are getting better at helping,although it is quicker for me to do the poo picking rather than them.They catch her,bring her in,groom,tack up ect,and they ride every day but one,weather permitting.It takes all my time and money,but we love Dpony and will never part with her,and pony no.2 arrives on Monday.

I'd avoid a Shetland,unless you are experienced.They are not known as Shitlands for nothing,and a surprising amount of horses are frightened of the little blighters.

Mirage Wed 21-Nov-12 08:46:36

I was a mean mummy and made DD1 go to riding school for 4 years before we bought dpony.She went every week,even when the weather was so cold that the lessons had to be shortened because of the temperatures.Then DD2 started,progressed quickly and I ended up going to the RS twice a week and it was costing me a ridiculous amount of money,so I convinced DH that it would be cheaper to have our own.We are lucky and rent a private yard at home,so we don't have the travelling back and forth,dpony lives out so there is no mucking out.

They were 6 and 7 when we got her and she's been with us 16 months,they are getting better at helping,although it is quicker for me to do the poo picking rather than them.They catch her,bring her in,groom,tack up ect,and they ride every day but one,weather permitting.It takes all my time and money,but we love Dpony and will never part with her,and pony no.2 arrives on Monday.

I'd avoid a Shetland,unless you are experienced.They are not known as Shitlands for nothing,and a surprising amount of horses are frightened of the little blighters.

eclectible Wed 21-Nov-12 10:56:17

Definitely when they are ready to 'climb across broken glass to see a pony in a field' and even then make them wait a year.

I made dd wait until she was 11 as she had to do it herself - with other small children at home there was no way I could do it. She gets up at 6.15 every day to check on him in all weathers. Utterly committed. The other children are less bothered as they are blase about having a pony (although they like riding of course hmm). Keeping a pony at home is 90% paddock management as well - fencing, badger destruction, wet paddocks, too much grass, too little grass etc etc etc putting up electric fencing etc. So livery always seems like an enviable option!!

eclectible Wed 21-Nov-12 10:57:24

hastily adds: when I say badger destruction I mean dealing with the problems caused by destructive badgers - not destroying badgers!!!!

Abitwobblynow Wed 21-Nov-12 11:13:33

Oh, the best piece of advice I can give you, is look very carefully for that pony when you eventually decide. Don't just take anything and don't give them a sports car when they need a Datsun Sunny. Remember the old-fashioned saying, temperament is 9/10s of everything. So if they have 1 eye and 1 ear but would never dream of dropping a shoulder, that pony is worth their weight in gold.

I have found the relationship with horses very much like a marriage. A bad one will end you doubting yourself as a worthy human being! Lost confidence is a killer.

My children were put off by the grumpy shitland (who are rather flighty for their size) and the dishonest Welshie. By the time we got golden darling perfect honest Dartmoor, the fear was instilled, the damage done.

Mirage Wed 21-Nov-12 12:09:11

Abitwobblynow is absolutely right.Do not believe what anyone selling a pony says unless you have seen it with your own eyes.There are a surprising amount of people who have no scruples whatsoever about lying about their pony's abilities/habits.We ended up with a bucker during the summer and the vendor outright lied to me when I asked if it bucked.She knew it did,as I later found out.Poor DD2 kept trying and trying with the pony,and sat most of them,but unless the pony was on a lead rein,it would do everything to get it's jockey off.Sweet as anything on the ground though,but I rehomed her as DD2 is a confident rider and I didn't want her to loose her nerve or get hurt.That was a very expensive lesson learned the hard way.Fortunately it didn't put her off and she revels in her reputation as a rodeo rider!

Abitwobblynow Wed 21-Nov-12 20:32:14

Cure for bucking: butcher's string. Thread from D ring through brow band down face, under top lip, up the other side to other D ring. It is instant consequence just after the thought (and the head starting to be thrust down), and apparently they do it twice at the most.

Mirage Wed 21-Nov-12 22:08:38

That's useful to know,thank you.The bucker we had could even manage it in grass reins.I thought that if he couldn't get her head down,we'd be ok,but she still managed to kind of corkscrew herself and deck poor DD2.Bless her,she got back on every single time though.

frenchfancy Thu 22-Nov-12 19:03:50

Our instructor told us to wait until DD was at least 10 years old. He was absolutely right. When we finally got DPony DD was strong enough to lead her even if she was being naughty, and deal with feet etc without problems on her own. It has made a big difference to us. I think if we had got her earlier it would have been frustrating for all of us.

thegreylady Thu 22-Nov-12 20:55:28

My dd had her own pony at 7. We kept it at a local diy livery stable and she rode every day. It was the best leisure related decision I ever made for her.That pony was the first of 3 between 7 and 18.She was in Pony Club and a local riding club and represented Pony Club in showjumping and eventing and tetrathlon.
Make sure her teacher is involved in your choice of pony and ask for a trial period.Our first was a 12hh Welsh SecB and was absolutely perfect.

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