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Talk to me about buying older ponies...

(19 Posts)
Somanyillustrations Mon 14-Nov-16 13:37:10

DD is 6, and has had a rough ride with ponies this year. She's ready to come off lead rein, but her confidence wobbles a bit as she has had a couple of unpredictable incidents and ended up coming off (no fault of hers or the pony).

Current pony is a saint on lead rein or hacking out off it. He is another story in the school off LR. He's green, not naughty, and we are working on it, but she's getting a bit disheartened.

We have seen a promising looking first ridden sec.a, but she is 18, and they want £1000 for her. My thoughts are that she can bring DD off lead rein this year, then DS will be 3.5 and he can move onto her as LR and eventually FR.

Reassure me that an 18 year old native is still relatively young and isn't going to cost me a small fortune in vets bills!

Ladyformation Mon 14-Nov-16 14:19:04

Everything below caveated with the warning that we all know: every pony is different and there aren't any guarantees in this game...

I can only speak from my personal experience, but natives do often go on forever. One of mine (I'd guess mostly connemara with a bit of exmoor) is now mid-20s and has just gone off to his 4th loan home having been competing at a high level with lots of very happy children for 20 years. This is his "slowing down" forever home (I hope) but honestly he probably would still compete for another couple of years. He's had the vet out once in the 20 years I've owned him.

Back in my pony days I rode lots of ancient natives including a 32yro New Forest - they were fab. I remember one welsh sec B who we tried to retire several times to a nearby farm and he kept jumping out and coming back to work, so eventually we gave up grin

If I were you I'd do it.

BratFarrarsPony Mon 14-Nov-16 14:23:28

tbh the price sounds high but then she will probably be good until she is over 25 as Lady said.

That would mean your dd could probably have her until she is about 11 and your DS can ride her too..depending on how big she gets (the dd i )

It is a lot to pay but then I live in West Wales not (say) the south east of England so probably have quite a different view.

SecretPeanut Mon 14-Nov-16 14:40:39

IME you tend to get spaceship miles out of natives. I have a 22 yr old 11hh shetland and a 10yr old ex flat racer.

Over the years I have never paid for a horse, they have all been gifted to me. I refuse to buy a horse when there are so many good ones out there looking for a new home.

Have you considered a younger pony? I only ask because my 22 yr old 'Perfect Childs Pony' is an absolute twat to ride, yet the 'hot headed, highly strung' TB is worth her weight in gold and will adapt to any rider

BaldricksWife Mon 14-Nov-16 15:07:45

If the pony is a genuine schoolmaster and a safe stepping stone from LR to FR then it will be gold dust. We have one elderly pony doing just that job and there is a queue for when he has done his job with us- as PP poster has said, they are individuals but native ponies are pretty tough albeit it is a good idea to ask about 'feet' history just so you are prepared management wise.

BratFarrarsPony Mon 14-Nov-16 15:12:30

I do not think an 18 year old Section A would be worth that much tbh

Foxley11 Mon 14-Nov-16 15:25:18

I've never found age to be an issue when it comes to vet's bills - my youngest horse is by far the most attached to my vet. My oldest (now 20) is tough as old boots, and isn't even native. It's all a risk, in my experience!

5OBalesofHay Mon 14-Nov-16 15:30:11

If the pony is a genuine school master then snap it up they are worth their weight in gold. Our 13.2 was 16 when we got him 10 years ago. He's retired now and a bit stiff but he was a saint with kids.

The main thing is if you are going to buy an 18 year old i think you have to commit for ever and recognize you'll have to fund their retirement.

For me that's a small price to pay in terms of what I owe our old boy.

Garthmarenghi Mon 14-Nov-16 16:40:20

Absolutely what BalesofHay said. At that age I would only buy if I was going to keep a pony into its retirement. Breaks my heart to see horses in their twenties for sale.

GuinefortGrey Mon 14-Nov-16 17:17:59

If this pony is a bona-fide confidence giver, a been-there-done-it-all type and is honest and kind, then the age would not put me off. Ponies like this are absolute gold dust as a pp said. However, don't assume that just because pony is "old" it will be calm and ploddy!!! Do make sure that it really is as good as owners are saying - make sure you ask how long they have they owned it and why are they selling? Speak to a previous owner if possible. Does it buck, bolt, kick, bite, regularly refuse or run out at jump, is it nappy or clingy to other ponies? I always ask these questions very clearly as sellers are not always forthcoming unless asked directly smile

I have 3 older ponies aged 18, 19 and 23. They are all awesome
and fit as fiddles (touch wood). A few years ago I also had a 21 year old first pony for DD3 but he sadly had to be pts when we'd only had him around 9 months. It was a very sudden decline (arthritis related) and very sad. It didn't put me off the oldies though. Mine will stay with me forever now.
Vets fees-wise I have paid more for our 6 & 10 year old ponies unfortunately blush

IceIceIce Tue 15-Nov-16 00:34:53

If the pony is genuinely well trained I'd say £1000 is a bargain. My idea of well handled tends to be different to a lot of people's though it seems.

Too many people want amazing kids ponies without the work and for little money though that's for sure. I don't like seeing a horse with a good chunk of its working life left sold for peanuts. I think it devalues what experience brings.

Somanyillustrations Tue 15-Nov-16 10:47:00

Food for thought, but no decisive feeling one way or the other! To address some of the points raised:

I am slightly biased, as my first pony was a late 20s fell cross who did 4 years of PC camp with me, taught me how to jump and whizzed through mounted games.

Money wise, it seems a lot to me, as we usually buy youngsters and bring them on ourselves- with the exception of current lead rein pony, who is on loan to us. I'm not against a youngster as such, but at this point in her riding career, I do think she needs a 'made' pony, even though that goes against all my usual rules!

In terms of forever home, we have a field full of my husband's retired showjumpers- none ridden, all costing a fortune in hard feed through winter! We would always keep a pony through retirement, but would rather do this once they have done a job for us iyswim.

I'm going to have a chat with the owner this evening, and see if she would be willing for us to have a decent length trial, or lwvtb, to give us a real idea of whether she is as promised or not.

I hate buying ponies, so stressful trying to get it right!

IceIceIce Tue 15-Nov-16 20:34:00

I know the feeling. I bought my youngsters in January. the three year old had been handled for about 5 weeks by my friend. I bought him. she knew where his brother was and he was unhandled so me and my other half are his only handlers.

I have two beautiful intelligent soft mannerly young horses and I wouldn't change them and for myself I won't spend money on a horse that has been 'made' by someone else. But for a child I would definitely look at well handled older ponies.

It just depends on if yours and the sellers versions of well handled match up.

I'm really quite fussy what I consider well handled but in my experience people use "well handled" to mean it's desensitised and often difficult tryout get going.

To an extent for a kids pony that's not always a negative. it's not too difficult to get them softer and more responsive again if you do it right.

But you don't want the far end of extreme and end up with something so deafened that you'd need to beat it to get it moving cause obviously that's not gonna be a very nice thing to do! (I generally think those types should just accept they've deafened their horse of all ability of when the respond they should just let it live out its days in a field grazing).

I think a lwvtb is perfectly reasonable tbh and I would want the same x

IceIceIce Tue 15-Nov-16 20:35:35

difficult to get going *

*deadened not deafened

BratFarrarsPony Tue 15-Nov-16 20:42:54

" none ridden, all costing a fortune in hard feed through winter! "

sorry to derail but horses that are not in work really do not need 'hard feed'.

Garthmarenghi Tue 15-Nov-16 20:47:06

The TB here not in work certainly needs hard feed to keep weight loss n during winter - plus ad lib hay.

BratFarrarsPony Tue 15-Nov-16 20:58:44

oh well ad lib forage or hay of course....

Somersetlady Sun 18-Dec-16 08:06:52

If you look after them and keep them warm and fed then you have years left to enjoy the new pony.

I have a 20yo 24yo and a couple of 18yo all happy and in work!

user1480179933 Mon 19-Dec-16 00:39:03

Obviously every pony is different but I would say 18 is fine, especially if he's going to be mainly a lead rein pony. A woman who owned a riding school type thing near us used to use our field to keep older/retired/in need of fattening up ponies in our field over summer, and one we had once was 40! She was an 11hh Welsh sec a and she lived out all year round.

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