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Thinking of loaning a pony for my daughter

(20 Posts)
Lindt70Percent Thu 30-Jan-14 10:57:19

My daughter is 10 and has been riding for about two years. In this time we've been very lucky and have had the use of a 15 year old 11h pony that she can ride whenever she wants and all we pay for are her shoes.

She's now outgrowing the pony and has done about as much as she can with it. Her teacher said she needs a 13.2 or a 14h pony. Her teacher is a good friend of mine and I've just arranged for her to keep her horses on another friend's land at a good rate. As I've done her a favour, the teacher says that she is happy for my daughter to have a pony there too. She'll do all the major looking after for us, so really my daughter will only have the responsibility of the pony at weekends and in holidays.

I know very little about horses - can barely ride but am good at mucking out! How much is it likely to cost to keep a pony given that I don't need to pay any livery? I guess my costs will be:
- dentist
- farrier
- vaccinations
- feed
- bedding?
Is there anything else?

We'd prefer to loan to start off with to see how we get on but haven't found any for loan in our area (Wiltshire) yet. I guess if we're loaning the pony will come with tack, rugs etc. Maybe I'm being optimistic!

Any comments much appreciated. I want to go into this with my eyes open. I haven't mentioned it to my daughter yet in case we can't afford it.

Mirage Thu 30-Jan-14 14:07:13

If the vacs are up to date,it is about £40,if not,you are looking at triple that,more if the vet comes out.
Shoes,I pay £60 a full set,dpony doesn't need shoeing that often,but our other pony has 2x fronts every 7 weeks.
Dentist is £25 a visit
Back person £25
Feed is about £8 every £12 weeks.
Dpony has a supplement £29 every 6 months
I don't pay for hay,but it can vary between £3 -5 per small bale.
Then there is insurance £40 a month for 2,wheelbarrows,poo pickers,grooming kits,buckets,first aid kits,rugs,head collars,leadropes,salt licks,replacing broken/lost tack.

There is a thread on here about how much poster's horses had cost them last year.My total was £2800,which didn't include livery as I keep mine at home,or the trailer and the car to pull it.grin

craggyhollow Fri 31-Jan-14 09:54:14

£70 for a full set of shoes every 6 weeks (mine are busy ponies you may find one who only needs front shoes on)
approx £6 a week for hay during the winter weeks (a bale and a half per pony)
£27 for a bag of feed balancer (lasts approx 3 months)
£10 for a bag of chaff (lasts a couple of months)
£8 for a bag of pony nuts (lasts a month or so)
£9 for a bag of sugar beet (seems to last forever as we only use a little bit to mix supplements in)
£30 for a bag of micronised linseed which I happen to think is essential if you have older ponies who live out and stops you paying a fortune for cortaflex etc. Lasts roughly 3 months.
Dentist is £30 every 6 months
Vet as an when (vaccinations about £40 annually as mirage says)
Insurance - ours is 96 per month - but we have two ponies and they hunt and our vets excess is only £150 AND they are a brilliant no questions asked insurer (NFU highly recommended!)
Ours live out and we don't pay for grazing.

I have just made the mistake of going to the tack shop and came away with two new bits (60), a new headcollar and leadrope (20) and a new riding hat for dd2 (80 hmm)

Moral of the story is always beg, borrow or Ebay, never set foot in an actual real life tack shop.

Lindt70Percent Fri 31-Jan-14 15:52:29

Thanks Mirage and craggyhollow. I'm feeling a bit gulp after reading that. My daughter's teacher is so enthusiastic she really glossed over all the costs saying they're almost nothing. I have the feeling she's not the type to actually add it all up and find out how much it is really costing.

I'm not sure we can afford to do this which is such a shame as it's the best opportunity we're ever likely to have to go for it. Sigh.

Mirage Fri 31-Jan-14 16:08:25

If you can find a hardy,native type that doesn't need hard feed,shoes or rugs,you will save a lot.Unfortunately,with loaning,you have to go with what the owner specifies,whether you agree the pony needs it or not.A lot of my friends don't insure and put the cost of the premium into savings in case anything does go wrong,but I don't think I dare do that.

My 2 are cheap to insure because they are old,so can only be covered for injuries,not illness,if it was full cover,it would be twice the amount.

It isn't a cheap hobby,even on a shoestring,but I suppose it is relative.My girls do nothing but ride,and we don't have a fancy lifestyle,so I feel better about us spending on something they really love.

Would you be able to find a sharer,although you may find that some owners won't loan a pony if it is going to be shared?

Lindt70Percent Sat 01-Feb-14 17:37:49

A hardy, native type sounds good to me. Perhaps it would be better to buy. Have no idea how to go about finding one! What would I search for - hardy, native pony?! blush I really am clueless.

I'd rather not share as my daughter would only really be able to ride at weekends anyway & doubt they'd be another child who could do weekdays. Also, I don't know if my friend would be happy about this as it would mean even more people coming to her land which is right next to her house.

Mirage Sat 01-Feb-14 17:59:31

You might be best to buy,then you can decide how you 'run' the pony [within reason of course].If your daughter can only ride at weekends,can your friend lunge or exercise the pony? A lot of children's ponies can get very fizzy if not ridden frequently.We normally ride every day and for the past few weeks have only done weekends as it is too dark after school.Luckily our two haven't gotten silly,but they live out 24 hours so aren't cooped up.

Have a look on the Pony Club classifieds,also Horsequest and Horse and Hound.Mine came from a notice on a feedstore board and Preloved.

How confident is your daughter? If she isn't that confident,avoid anything described as 'fun','forward going' or 'second pony'.A steady confidence giver would be ideal.I'd also avoid anything under 10 and definitely no 4 year olds,even if they are angelic at the time,once they get to 5 they can often have an attack of the kevins,and get teenagerish and try it on.[ x a pony's age by 3 and you have roughly what it would be in human years,so a 5 year old = a 15 year old,20 year old = 60.But don't discount older ponies,they can live until their late 30's/40's and have a lot to give.Our 2 were 20 and 18 when we bought/loaned them.

Lindt70Percent Sun 02-Feb-14 09:52:10

I think buying would be best too. We don't get back from school until 5pm at the earliest and it's been too dark to ride. As the days get longer she should be able to ride a couple of evenings a week too. If we got a 14h pony that I could ride too then I could exercise it a bit in the week. I'm not a good rider though. I had a few lessons as a child but only really learnt how to hang on rather than how to actually ride. I can do a nice rising trot but never learnt how to sit in canter.

My daughter's pretty confident. The pony she's been riding knows all the tricks and has chucked her off in various ways over the last two years and my daughter's now fairly difficult to unseat.

I'll have a look on those sites and see what's around. There are a couple of horsey mums at school that I could ask too - they may know of something local. DD's just joined pony club and is doing a day rally in half term so will ask around there too.


Mirage Sun 02-Feb-14 10:11:09

Yes,definitely ask at PC,but beware that people are still not always honest even when they know they might be seeing you at PC with said pony after they've sold it.sad I know of several PC ponies that,to read the adverts,you'd think were perfect,2 were bolters,one a rearer and another a bucker.It pays to only believe what you see with your own eyes and to check with a PC instructor,they know the ones to avoid.

You sound like me,I don't really ride,but will hack out the girls ponies if

Floralnomad Sun 02-Feb-14 15:11:17

I would be very wary about buying a pony without looking into being able to afford to keep it should the current free livery and care arrangement break down . Having spent many years around horses I have learned to expect the unexpected and you need to be able to afford a contingency plan .

assumpta Sun 02-Feb-14 22:11:46

Hi, I am in a similar position to the OP, and am wondering if I go with a full loan, do I take out insurance for the horse, or does the actual owner? Also what kind of insurance do I go for? My dd is a pony club member and we have insurance through this for herself? I really don't know what we need as I'm very green and need advice and guidance. Thanks

Mirage Mon 03-Feb-14 08:41:12

We loan one and I pay the insurance.I sent a copy of the policy to his owner so she knows he is covered.It is common for the owners to insure and the loaner pay the owner.We only insure for injury as ours are veterans,we are covered for tack and 3rd party through our home insurance and Pony Club.

craggyhollow Mon 03-Feb-14 09:23:09

I have always paid our own insurance (apart from one aged pony who was 20+ - no new insurance policy allowed so I paid the owners directly).

dcs are members of the pony club which covers third party liability insurance only

but I have vets fees cover PLUS personal accident cover

assumpta Mon 03-Feb-14 13:34:10

Thank you. This pony is 15 years old.

Booboostoo Wed 05-Feb-14 09:44:58

OP you also need to consider emergencies. If the pony is injured he may need to be stabled which would mean transport to a livery yard and all the livery costs associated, all during a time when you'd need to put more work in (e.g. mucking out twice a day) with no reward as the pony won't be up to being ridden. Your insurance would cover most vet fees (after paying the excess) but there are still quite a lot of costs associated with an unwell horse that are not covered.

As for buying it's an extremely risky thing to do and you really need to be experienced to get it right. The advantage of a loan is that if anything goes wrong or the pony is unsuitable you just terminate the loan. If you buy the wrong pony you can be stuck with it long term. If you decide to buy get an experienced instructor who knows your DD and her abilities well to come with you to each viewing and advise you (this will add to the cost but it is well worth it). You also need to get the pony vetted by a vet of your choice.

NigellasDealer Wed 05-Feb-14 09:49:13

My daughter's teacher is so enthusiastic she really glossed over all the costs saying they're almost nothing
do not let her 'gloss it over'!! they are in no way 'almost nothing' - we keep our pony as cheaply as possible but for example we are now facing a vet's bill of about �120 - shoes are �50 a set and that is in a cheap area of the UK, and think about how petrol you will use driving back and forth, quite apart from anything else!

Lindt70Percent Tue 11-Feb-14 15:12:37

Hi again. Sorry, I'd almost forgotten I'd started this thread.

So, I'm still thinking things through. If I do anything it won't be in a hurry.

There are plenty of stables at my friend's house so if the pony did need to be stabled that wouldn't be an issue. The friend lives a very short drive / 20 minute walk / 5 minute cycle ride away so petrol costs wouldn't be high. I would trust my daughter's teacher to choose a pony for her; she's been teaching her for 2 years and has owned various ponies / horses herself over the past 10 years or so.

Having said all of that, I am very nervous of unexpected vet bills, the agreement with friends falling through, the possibility of buying a nightmare pony that we can't get rid of etc.

Also, I mentioned to DD that we were considering getting her a pony and she wasn't exactly dancing for joy! She just cried and cried at the thought of not continuing to ride the pony she uses at the moment.

So, as she isn't likely to completely outgrow the current pony until the end of the summer / next year then it's probably best we stick with our current arrangement unless some amazing, unmissable opportunity pops up in the meantime. This will give me time to see how things work out between my friend and my daughter's teacher. If DD is still keen on riding next year then we can reconsider.

Thank you all so much for your advice. I'll re-read this thread if I start thinking about it again.

Lindt70Percent Mon 15-Dec-14 08:29:32

Just remembered about this thread and thought I'd update.

At the start of the summer we were offered a friend's pony to loan as her daughter had outgrown her. We'd known this pony for a couple of years and my daughter had ridden her a few times and liked her. I then remembered that there are a couple of fields and stables at the end of an industrial estate next to our house (really hidden away so not many people know of it) and so I went there to see if they had any room. They did - a stable and field for £60 a month. There's no running water (she fills up a tank ever week) or electricity and the stable roof was leaking really badly but it's such a short walk from our house that we decided to go for it.

So, since August we've been loaning this pony and it's been fabulous. DD went to pony club summer camp and loved it. She has a friend in our village who has a pony and they meet up together for hacks or to do some jumping. There's an equestrian centre a 30 min walk away (although last little bit is quite a busy road that makes me nervous) so she's been able to enter competitions. We've been able to borrow a friend's trailer if we need to go further afield and I'm gradually overcoming my fear of towing it!

We've replaced the stable roof so the stable's really cosy now. We bought a solar powered light which is perfectly good. We've got in a routine for turning out & mucking out etc. that's working well. So far it's been a real joy.

Downsides are that the pony has sweet itch and is prone to laminitis so I know I'll have to be careful with her come the spring. I'm planning to do all preventative measures before spring really kicks in and have bought a Snuggyhood sweet itch rug and some sweet itch stuff that I think you have to paint on (need to read the instructions!).

She's great with the farrier, not so great with the dentist (they sedated her to rasp her teeth as she'd been quite difficult with her owner but the vet's planning to half the sedation next time in the hope she'll get used to it). He said her mouth was in a really bad state when her owner's bought her but she's fine now and he said annual checks would be fine. She loads pretty well - sometimes instant, sometimes a bit of faffing around but I think I just need to be quicker with the lunge rope.

Where we're keeping her is ideal in terms of being close to home but it is very run down. I worry about all the fencing which is on its last legs and I'm absolutely useless at electric fencing, there must be a real knack to it. I have been offered another field in the village for free but there's no shelter, water or electricity. Someone said I could buy a temporary field shelter for about £600 which would probably be worth doing as if we moved here I would be saving £60 a month. However, she'd also be on her own and I'm not sure that would be good for her. There are 3 other horses where she is at the moment. She's not in a field with them but they can talk over the fence.

Initially I had been planning to keep her at my friend's house as had set up nice arrangement between her and my DD's riding teacher (as mentioned in my OP). I quickly realised this wouldn't work as could see friend was going to be difficult about it. Also DD's riding teacher has been so unreliable. I'm really glad we managed to sort something out on our own so we're not reliant on anyone's goodwill.

I'm really glad we grabbed the opportunity. I'm not sure DD would still be riding otherwise because I think it would have been hard to go from our previous 'loan' arrangement to having lessons at a riding school.

Anyway, sorry about the essay! Just wanted to update. Can't believe I'm feeling so upbeat about it even though it's winter!

Bonkey Mon 15-Dec-14 09:58:46

I've just read this thread and great news you have a pony but please please please don't 'wait' to keep a eye on the lami until spring!
Its a year long thing, my shetty had his worst bowts in the middle of winter with a frost. He has never to date come down with it badly in the spring/summer.
I watch him and manage him 24/7 but its on;y the bloody bastard frost that catches me out!
Its a myth that its a spring thing, most owners who own lami ponies know different!
My best advice for that is strip grazing (get to know that electric fencing grin ), restricted most of the year (ponies can easily live off fresh air!) and keep her weight down with plenty of exercise. Prevention is better than cure!

Out of interest what solar light did you get?
I also have no running water or electricity - most of the time I don't really notice the difference because I tend to do most things before it gets dark but a nice light in the stable is not to be sniffed at! wink

I find some horses are fine on their own, others get really depressed. My shetty was on his own for a while but he had sheep to keep him company. There is no doubt that he is happier with equine company, likewise for every other horse I have had.

If you move could you not put out for a field share if there is enough room?

What are the upsides to moving apart from being free (how long will that last? Ime nothing in life is free for long...
Tbh, it sounds like you have a good little set up at the moment £60 a month for a stable and turnout is a good deal, no one needs fancy as long as it does what you need it to do? smile

Lindt70Percent Mon 15-Dec-14 12:05:32

Hi Bonkey. The field she's in has pretty much turned to mud so I don't need to worry about frosty grass.

I really do need to figure out the electric fencing so that I can sort out strip grazing. Would give her muddy field a chance to recover too. I seem to have a real mental block about it, can't get the poles right, the tape tight etc.

I got the light from It's not as bright as theirs seems to be in the video but it gives enough light for us to do what we need to do.

I'm not sure if there would be enough room in the other field to put a field shelter, somewhere to store tack and feed as well as have room for someone else too. There'd be nowhere to ride apart from bridlepaths. Also, I think the man who owns the field is planning to sell up next year but a friend of mine (who lives next door) to him has first refusal on his house and is planning to buy it. She would be happy for us to stay on but then we're dependent on someone's goodwill again and I could be left with a £600 field shelter and no field!

Where we are is not at all ideal but in the summer there's space to ride in a big circle and put some jumps up (they already have a couple there) and we can also go for hacks from there. Also, the other person there has kept her horses there for 25 years so she really knows what she's talking and gives me plenty of advice (not always wanted!) which is handy although sometimes we feel a bit watched over and despaired of. wink She also has a 21 year old granddaughter who likes to take my daughter out for hacks which she is lovely for her.

I think we're probably better off staying put. It's nice to think there are options though. At the start of the year I thought it would all be impossible without other people's help but it seems we have got choices and can be independent.

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