Choosing a first ridden pony

(48 Posts)
annieapple7 Mon 22-Jul-13 14:42:44

Hi tack roomers
DD is 6 but very tall for her age - more like aged 8 in terms of height. She is having weekly riding lessons and can walk and trot independently (on placid riding school ponies of course) and canter on the lead rein. I am thinking about buying her a pony and have started looking at the adverts online. My budget is £1000, although many of the suitable ponies advertised all cost a fortune. I'd like an all rounder that she could take to pony club and will last us for many years as we never sell our horses! But I am out of the loop in terms of competitions...if later on we did want to go to some shows, is it still the case that 12.2hhs must be ridden by under 11s and so on? A lot of the first ponies at 11.2 and under and they won't be big enough for her. I saw a nice 13hh pony but wondered if that would preclude her in competitions later on. Any advice appreciated.

Lovesswimming Mon 22-Jul-13 17:15:20

as far as I am aware the 12.2hh rule still applies to most shows for lead rein and 1st ridden. we had a 13.1hh when my daughter was 8 and so couldn't do those classes, now have a rounder 12.2hh and she hasn't outgrown her yet (she's now a tall 10 year old). Her 12.2 was £1000 and from the pony club website, she's a 1st pony, I think wasn't quick enough for her owners daughter who was doing games, perfect for a 1st ridden for us, jumps and is pretty solid all round. she's what I would say is a 1st pony coming off lead rein but will do enough to last as well.
good luck in your search smile

Butkin Mon 22-Jul-13 17:36:57

If you are doing affiliated shows it depends on the breed of the pony. If you are going to do First Ridden Show Pony or Show Hunter Pony then they can only be up to 122cm (12 hands). If you are going to do First Ridden Mountain and Moorlands they can only be up to 128cm (12.2).

I don't know about local showing rules - sometimes they have a general class up to 128cm but you'd need to check with the venues you like to go to.

DD is quite tall for her age (10) and has outgrown her 12hh show hunter this year. She is now riding her palomino Section B (see profile pics) in M&M FRs and he is 12.1 and her bay Show Pony in Open 128 classes.

If she was 6 then I'd say a 12 hand blood type pony or 12.2 M&M would last her for a good few years.

Butkin Mon 22-Jul-13 17:47:34

Just noticed you've seen a 13 hand pony. As an example if you wanted to compete it in Show Pony classes the children could be up to 15, in Show Hunter Pony classes they could be up to 14 and in Open Mountain and Moorland Classes the could potentially be adults!

I don't know what your daughter likes doing but you may also need to check the height rules for show jumping and Working Hunter Pony classes but we don't yet do these classes ourselves.

Gilbertus Mon 22-Jul-13 19:10:41

My 6 year old rides her sister's 13.1 and he's plenty big enough (too big really and my daughter is very tall). 12.2 is perfect for this age.

Gilbertus Mon 22-Jul-13 19:12:16

Local shows here: whp 10 and under is always under 13hh much to my 6 year olds annoyance!

annieapple7 Mon 22-Jul-13 21:58:53

Sounds like your pony would be perfect for my DD love swimming.....are you sure she is not outgrown yet??
Butkin - lovely pix of your ponies. We would like to have a go at lots of things so looks less important.
The classes sound really confusing but I am sure I will get the hang of it when I get back into it!
Thanks all.

Littlebigbum Mon 22-Jul-13 23:17:53

butkin they are so cute.
12-2 if we are voting!

Butkin Tue 23-Jul-13 09:41:09

Thanks guys! Annie - just because our ponies do showing doesn't mean they don't do lots of other things. DD loves hacking them both and she had done Pony Club, dressage and Working Hunter Pony on the palomino. We plan to do some show jumping with him this Autumn. Just that if you buy the right size you will keep all your options open...

Good luck with your search and let us know out you get on!!

PoshPenny Tue 23-Jul-13 16:32:59

I think if you want to show you need 12.2 or under. The main thing which I'm sure you are already aware of it is to ask if it is a "first pony" - ie one that is sweet and kind enough to do what the novice child asks of it when ridden off the lead rein. Truly a first ridden as it were. Those are quite scarce and can be expensive. There are thousands of angels on the lead and little horrors off it about - they are usually referred to as "second ponies"

Mirage Tue 23-Jul-13 18:08:24

DD1 won the1st ridden cup at a local show on our lovely 13hh,the height limit was 13.2 and age limit 12.We bought her when the dds were 6 and 7 and she still isn't outgrown in size or capability,the better DD1 gets,the more the pony gives.She is such a star that I am dreading the DDs outgrowing her and will never sell her.

Just be careful and look at the size and capability of the child currently riding any pony you are thinking of buying,some children whizz them up,not always intentionally.The really good ones go up or down a gear with the rider.

It might be worth you going along to your local PC and watching a rally.The ponies in the 'just off lead rein group' differ wildly,some look half dead,others are more lively/naughty.Someone may be looking for a new home for an outgrown pony or know of one.Good luck.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 24-Jul-13 22:17:48

I'd not put a 6yo on a 13hander I didn't know inside out and trust completely, personally.
IMO you are thinking too far ahead in terms of showing and all of that stuff. She is having lessons and can trot. Get her a safe pony of a sensible height, that she can potter about on safely, is big enough to control, and doesn't scare the pants off of her. It doesn't need to be a show stopper, it needs to be a confidence builder. Get her miles in the saddle, get her through all of the many teething problems that come with owning your own pony, get her into a decent pony club and see what she decides she wants to do.

Booboostoo Thu 25-Jul-13 12:03:12

What Saggy said. However tall your 6yo might be she is still a 6yo which affects things like balance, co-ordination and confidence. I don't think it's possible to buy a pony for a 6yo and still keep it for the same child 10 years down the line. You will have to make your peace with changing ponies as your daughter grows, her abilities increase and her needs change.

It is perfectly possible to loan out good ponies though so you can retain control of what happens to the animals and have them back when they need to retire.

Butkin Thu 25-Jul-13 22:49:04

Agreed - we think a 6yo should be on a 12 hander (or small breed M&M) - they just aren't ready mentally for anything bigger and stronger. Our DD is very experienced and only now - aged 10 - is she trying out 13 handers for next season.

BooBoo is right that you should buy something that she will enjoy riding now. Whilst you can buy something for them to grow into, overfacing a child can be a big mistake. There again whilst we've kept horses all their lives we've always sold ponies on when they are outgrown so they can go and teach other little people.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 25-Jul-13 23:15:48

You need something safe, but a LITTLE bit challenging. So it doesn't always go right, but there is light at the end of the tunnel so to speak.

Lovesswimming Thu 25-Jul-13 23:53:37

Not sure where u are OP but I noticed a few ponies on the pony club website at your price, the 1st ponies seem to be, the more expensive ones are probAbly proven games ponies. Worth a look, how's your search going? (another year and u would be welcome to ours but she was unwell over the winter and now possibly has RAO or whatever it's called she coughs all sorted with an inhaler but not ideal to take on! She'll probably be with us forever smile

Principality Wed 31-Jul-13 15:23:03

We had a similar problem with our DS aged nearly 10 and now 5'1/5'2- but with legs up to his armpits that he hasn't yet grown into!! . He had the most lovely sweet and kind first ridden pony on art loan last year, but sadly at 12.1 ish his toes were dangling way below her belly by the new year...

We ended up sharing a 14.2 ex jumping pony who was owned by the same family. He is fine size wise in terms of leg length as because he is a PBA he is quite fine. A massive plus is I get to ride him too!! (5'4.5)

But he can't do any of the first ridden showing classes locally as they are all for 12.2 and under... sad At the moment they have stuck to nursery stakes jumping (pony any size, rider under 12), best turned out, and will probably try pony club pony classes. On the plus side, pony will be more than capable of stepping up with him, when/if he wants to- pony used to be super whizzy and easily jump 1m+ courses in his day.. at 24 we are trying to take it a bit more slowly..... not that he is convinced if jumping is involved!

annieapple7 Mon 05-Aug-13 21:36:27

Here are two in the running any thoughts?
Smashing pony who is so quiet to ride and handle. He has been ridden regularly on the roads by a nervous 10yro; and around the farm and at shows by an 8yro. Excellent Mountain and Moorland prospect having had reserve champion in his 2nd show! Placed at the Royal Welsh, this pony will go a long way and make a great PC, fun ride. £1000 ono

Butkin Mon 05-Aug-13 22:20:28

Both seem sensible selections. Good experienced ponies who are not too young nor too old. Well priced as well. I don't know how far they are away from you but I'd be tempted to go and try them both out. The grey will be harder to keep clean!

I'd go for the grey simply because he has Coed Coch bloodlines! Fabulous ponies with which I have a family connection, I was involved in the dispersal sale as a child, and helped prepare Coed Coch Bari who went to Australia for £21k - an enormous sum in 1978....memories, memories!

Lovesswimming Tue 06-Aug-13 09:28:01

Keep us updated, are u going to see them?

annieapple7 Tue 06-Aug-13 13:39:03

The lady did say something about the grey's brother being sold for a lot of money.
Although 8 he was only broken in last year. Found this about the Coed Coch stud Frosty

Think we will try and see them this weekend...ooh exciting!

Butkin Tue 06-Aug-13 17:09:06

I think at the end of the day if your DD likes riding them then that will make the difference. She'll know which one she felt more comfortable on. They both look like they would do a job for you though. Good Luck!

Booboostoo Tue 06-Aug-13 18:57:03

Was the pony you are going to see only broken last year? Why is that? I don't mean to be negative, but that would make me weary. A year is not a long time for a pony to gain experience and your DD is very, very young so she really needs a 'been there done that' type of pony. The photos on the advert show a much older child riding the pony, so make sure he is suitable for a small, lightweight and inexperienced child. Why do you want a PC pony? For me that means a competition pony which requires a more experienced rider. I'd be looking for a LR/FR pony which is truly good off the lead rein.

Personally I wouldn't go see this pony. You need a pony that has already helped 2-3 children learn to ride and has been passed on from family to family because he is truly brilliant at his job.

The palomino looks more promising with the younger child on board, but what kind of bit is that? He also has quite a heavy set neck and your DD may find it difficult to stop him.

Lovesswimming Tue 06-Aug-13 20:51:49

We had a 7 year old p

Lovesswimming Tue 06-Aug-13 20:55:36

Oops lol, I was saying we 1st got a pony that was 8 that we thought was a good age, turned out she had only been broken in a year, (she had been showed abd had a foal 1st) as she got fitter she got sharper and she was more spooky. Just so u are aware, she seemed perfect at 1st but wasn't once she'd lost weight! We still have her but she isn't the 1st ridden pony my daughter rides.

annieapple7 Sun 11-Aug-13 21:19:37

I spoke to the lady whose daughter rides the grey 8yo ..he is still with his breeder and was shown in hand apparently. They started him last year because they want to sell him to make room
For younger ponies coming through. The good thing with him is that everything has been done right with him and he has had no bad experiences or bad habits.
I hadn't noticed the bit on the palomino will look again!
Planning to view them next week.
Have always bought from people I know previously so help, what's the procedure for haggling over price, deposits, trial periods these days?

Pixel Sun 11-Aug-13 23:15:03

I zoomed in on the bit, still not clear but looks to me like this so nothing dreadful I don't think.

Lovesswimming Mon 12-Aug-13 08:15:23

The grey sounds like the pony we had that had not long been broken in, she had been schooled very well and had won in the ridden show ring for one season. We still had the green issues, she hasn't seen poles, was very spooky out hacking and became sharp when she was fit. Though the grey may not be the same just be aware of it. The bit (Wilkie or shires beveled) we use, it gives a bit more than a snaffle. Many people use them with ponies, if your children are still beginners and the pony u get is not strong then go for a snaffle. It wouldn't worry me to view a pony in that bit

Booboostoo Mon 12-Aug-13 14:08:20

If it is a bevel bit it increases poll pressure which is consistent with thinking that a pony with that neck would have a tendecy to tank off. It's not the end of the world, but it's not dressage legal and it wouldn't be my first choice for a pony for a 6 year old child.

Mirage Mon 12-Aug-13 15:41:44

Just to add to what the others have said.We have a 7 year old on loan,who was only broken last year.He didn't put a foot wrong for the first 4 months,until he got fit,then he became very sharp and spooky.We knew this might happen as his owner was very honest about how green he was,but it has stopped DD2 doing stuff she could have done on a steadier pony.I wouldn't trust him on a x country course for example.

She has done amazingly well with him,he hadn't even jumped properly before we had him,or hacked out.None of the other mums at PC say their children could ride him,too sharp,too fast and too big a jump,and she has been on the ground or run away with countless times,but she keeps getting back on.However,we have decided enough is enough before she breaks something or loses confidence,and he will be going back to his owner next month,and DD2 will ride her sister's beloved,steady,dpony.

For a 6 year old child,I'd want an old,been there and done it pony,time enough for the whizzy show stoppers when they are older and stronger.It isn't pleasant watching your child disappearing over the horizon or picking them up after they've been thrown.

mrslaughan Mon 12-Aug-13 18:23:24

Oh mirage - I am sorry it hasn't worked out.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Mon 12-Aug-13 18:28:37

Oh no Mirage! I'm sorry to hear that. But it's a good reflection on dd2 and her skill and confidence that she rides him when others couldn't, and that she gets back on. Will dd1 be moving up a pony now?

Booboostoo Mon 12-Aug-13 18:52:01

Sorry to hear that Mirage, I remember your posts on your search. For what it's worth I think you are making the right decision. I don't think children learn that much from constantly falling off and being carted off. Aside from the risk of every single accident getting serious, they only lose their confidence overall. A steady pony that will teach her the ropes is a much better teacher.

Mirage Mon 12-Aug-13 19:11:28

Yes,it all happened a bit unexpectedly really.I was looking on Preloved for jump cups and spotted a 13.3 Connemara PC pony.I rang up and went to see him on Tuesday,DD1 rode him with the biggest smile on her face and I was amazed,dpony is such a hard act to follow and the last time she tried a pony,last Feb,she cried and refused to canter or jump.This time she got the pony going beautifully and jumped in the school,then hacked him out.

His owners had several people to see him,but rang us back afterwards saying that they think we are the right family for him,they also rang our instructor to sound her out about us and DD1's capability.He seems like a bigger,more forward version of dpony,which is what I'd hoped for but didn't think we'd find.We are loaning him and all being well,should last both DDs some years.

I asked DD1 who she'd rather ride,Brandy or dpony,and she said dpony.Much as she loves Brandy,he is a bit of a nerve racking ride.Yesterday he did one jump in the minimus,decided that was that,and headed out of the ring.We ended up running around with him,and I could hear people gasping at the size of his jump.I'll try and post a photo,but it was a miracle DD2 stayed on.grin She was charging around the warm up ring,over the jumps,before her SJ class,and the little monkey decided to spook on landing and chucked her off.She decided to do the SJ on dpony and got a far better round on her than DD1 did.

I've spoken to B's owner and she thinks we are doing the right thing.As she says,it is meant to be fun,and,a lot of the time,with him,it isn't.She has had him 6 months now and ridden him almost every day,so we will all miss him.

Mirage Mon 12-Aug-13 19:15:13

Actually,if I could,I'd keep him,he is the sweetest most affectionate little thing ever.But I know what I'm like,I'd end up like one of those mad old ladies with loads of cats,but with loads of ponies instead.grin

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Mon 12-Aug-13 21:06:34

Ahem... I just don't get people like that... blush
It sounds like he fulfilled his purpose and its now time to move on.

Mirage Mon 12-Aug-13 21:57:43

It's easily done Saggy.grin

I was joking to DH yesterday that ponies aren't like buying new clothes,hiding them in the wardrobe and pretending they aren't new and you've had them forever,you can't hide them in the paddock and say 'This old thing? I've had it for years'.

More's the pity! grin

annieapple7 Mon 12-Aug-13 22:01:02

I certainly want to avoid that! Glad you've found something more suitable, Mirage.
I have always bought from people I know before. If we do find the right pony, Should I ask for a trial period? Should I leave a deposit before collecting the pony? How much haggling over price is usual?

Lovesswimming Mon 12-Aug-13 22:54:03

I'd ask for a trail period, put a deposit down until vetted/collected and make an offer. It's likely if u get a trial period u might pay for the pony with a contract that u can return it and details of when returning would not be acceptable (the seller is taking a risk as well) but many sellers will just say no as it can end in tears for either party. If u put down a deposit then have it written down on what circumstances you would get your deposit back (failed vetting?) and in what circumstances you wouldn't (if u change your mind). Last pony I bought (the 1st ridden we still have) I put a deposit down, checked the price which I thought was reasonable so I didn't haggle. Had her vetted the next day, got my trailer and picked her up straight after it. But my daughter did try her on a busy yard and in a huge storm so I was quite convinced she was what we wanted smile sorry if that's no help, I suppose I'm saying it does no harm to ask, for you to realise they have a risk as well and always write agreements down. Everyone is different and if they say no it doesn't mean they are hiding anything. I'll stop waffling now!

Butkin Tue 13-Aug-13 04:18:07

When we buy ponies we never commit in front of the vendors. We drive home and talk to DD about what they were like, calmly between ourselves. DD would never say anything negative in front of them but would to us in private.

Then, if we decide to buy, we ring up and offer what we think it is worth - often less than the asking price and see what sort of reaction we get. We usually meet somewhere in the middle but it depends on how much we like the pony, what the demand is and we usually know what the going price is for our type of pony.

If expensive (over 3,000 pounds) we vet - 2 part with blood tests - and we have also asked for a height certificate to be included in the price (but this is for showing where they are vital).

We offer to send a deposit but usually we just go back within a week of passing the vet and just pick up and pay the agreed price in full in cash.

We've never done a trial period. We know what we like and rely on DD's experience when riding them - both in the school and hacking - to see if they are OK.

annieapple7 Tue 13-Aug-13 11:47:01

Thanks both for that good advice. I suppose a week's trial is not always perfect anyway as the pony would likely to be unsettled to begin with. How much do you think vendors are prepared to drop the price when they advertise as 'price negotiable' or 'ono'?

Lovesswimming Tue 13-Aug-13 17:09:45

If I asked for £1k I'd expect £850 minimum to be honest but if I had a fair bit of interest I'd hold out for it all esp if a good 1st pony if its £3k I'd make a cheeky offer as that's harder to achieve. If the pony is right for u I wouldn't haggle over £100 or so

Butkin Wed 14-Aug-13 05:09:13

Depends on initial price, how competitive it is for a similar pony and if they really need to sell on (ie on market for a long time, got the new pony already etc).

We would search the internet for similar ponies until we found one that was cheaper and use that as our guide.

If we can't get the price dropped you could try to negotiate on tack etc. Remember if they are sizing up (as usual in ponies) then they have to sell the old saddle and bridle anyway so you may get a discount for the saving in hassle. Similarly look at the rugs to see if they can get thrown in for the price.

annieapple7 Sun 25-Aug-13 21:33:12

Update: we have bought a pony!
He is a 7 year old 12.3hh skewbald gelding. We went to look at the two I linked to. The grey was beautiful but a bit too sharp for DD at her stage. The palomino bucked her off in canter! She wasn't hurt but I am glad she fell off because it was her first time and I wondered if she would want to ride again!
We then went to see this pony. He is quiet, calm, steady, although very responsive to the leg. He is in a snaffle, was not bothered by busy traffic, and DD rode him off lead rein in the field in walk and trot. We picked him up Thursday. He loaded straight away and is easy to catch.
Thank you for all your advice. I hope I have made the right decision but my gut feeling is that he is the right choice for us. Will post a pic on my profile.

Littlebigbum Sun 25-Aug-13 22:03:16


Booboostoo Mon 26-Aug-13 08:06:19

Great, glad it all worked out!

Lovesswimming Mon 26-Aug-13 10:26:09

Brill!!! Well done and I hope you have great times with him! My saint of a pony bucked my eldest daughter off last week!! But we have just sold another mare who was the lead mare and I think she was unsettled, she been a saint again ever since!
Love to see a piccy if u put one on :-)

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