Thinking of a loan for DD. Is this the way to go?(20 Posts)
My DD (15) has been riding 3x lessons or hacks per month for a couple of years now. We have recently moved to an area surrounded by paddocks and DD is very keen to have her own pony. I'm a bit wary of committing to our own pony initially until we know exactly how much it's likely to cost and how much time and energy it is going to need. I was thinking it would be ideal to loan a pony for the summer and see how we get on.
My question is; am I being unrealistic about what we want. I'm guessing that reliable, live-out, middle aged ponies for loan are like hens teeth? I've tried looking online and most I've found are youngsters which need bringing on. We're definitely not up to anything like that currently due to lack of experience! If we're unlikely to be able to find what we want, what would be the best thing to do which doesn't involve buying our own pony straight away? I did think about loaning through DD's RS but now we've moved we're too far away to travel there each day, and just looking after it and riding at the weekends defeats the object somewhat.
Also, if we do go for the loan, which do I organise first? The pony or the grazing? There are plenty of paddocks nearby and lots of youngsters who have their own ponies, but it seems a bit premature to approach them when we don't have a pony or even the possibility of a loan at the moment.
Has your daughter done much in the way of stable management? If not I'd recommend maybe looking for a share? It's also less of a disaster if it doesn't work out.
She has done a few stable management days, grooming, tacking up, mucking out etc. but I'm not sure if she's done enough.
I'd love a share but was hoping to keep it locally (so DD doesn't need driving there 2+ times per day) so I think that might be even harder to find.
"She has done a few stable management days, grooming, tacking up, mucking out etc. but I'm not sure if she's done enough."
It really doesn't sound as if your daughter has enough experience to have sole charge and I am guessing you/other family members don't have, either.
On that basis, in your shoes, I would look for a share (where your daughter is sharing with the owner, often paying shared costs, and providing all care on a set amount of days per week).
If not a share, would the school (that your daughter currently has lessons with) give her a Saturday/weekend/holiday job? That would give her more on-the-ground experience and she could use her wages to pay for more frequent lessons.
I had a pony at her age, so many moons ago, but I don't have any recent knowledge or experience except a handful of lessons. I do have a family member and a friend who have horses (in the same county but not local) who have said they will help, but they both work full time so I'd only be able to pick their brains now and then really. I couldn't ask them to oversee the whole venture iyswim.
I'd love a share if I could find one locally. I might have to put an ad in the local shop and see what happens.
She has spent some days as a volunteer at her RS but it was mostly mucking out, with a bare back ride to the fields at the end of the day in return. She loved it but the only stable management she's done has been the days the RS has specifically run.
I'll keep thinking....
To be honest I think the most sensible thing would be to get your daughter to volunteer at her riding school, at local stable yards to gain as much experience as she can before committing to a pony of your own.
Although you say she can ride, you all sound rather inexperienced, and it doesn't sound like you'd be capable (in the nicest possible way) of taking the pony on at this stage. And when you daughter realises how much work is involved, and early cold mornings, she may not be so keen!
I know many people who would be grateful of a helping hand, and she will learn SO much when she's doing it outside of that riding school environment where the horses are all well behaved and know the routine. Let her get a few more years of practical experience before committing to your own.
We did this about 7 years ago. I saw a 6 year old pony for loan, took it on, found a field and we learnt as we went on. We did have a good support network and I rode as a child. We spent two years with him and made every mistake under the sun, but looked after him well and he's now in a very happy long term home. All dcs now compete at quite a high level and we have 4 horses!!
So I'm going to say it's totally possible if you are willing to be shouted at by every horse person you know for two years, you find a good vet and farrier and have a knowledgeable friend nearby. Dds riding school did loads of stable management and dd was very confident even at 11.
We are rather inexperienced, no doubt about it, but we're willing to work hard and learn fast. I realise owning a pony is a huge commitment which is why I thought a loan first might be good for us. As I mentioned, she has volunteered at her RS but it was mostly mucking out so not really advancing her horsemanship. I love the idea of a share (and an experienced hand to hold) but it's finding one locally. I will definitely have a go though - you never know.
Good to hear it worked for you Freddorika. It sounds like a steep but worthwhile learning curve. I have found another RS not too far away which does stable management so I'll get her booked in. She says she's quite confident already but I worry she might feel differently when it comes to it! I'd plan to continue lessons if we did get a loan/share so she would carry on improving her riding. The whole thing is a bit daunting at the moment so it's good to hear it can work.
Thanks for the advice.
Am I right in thinking there are no livery yards nearby, OP? I was just asking because, as you mentioned, it's good to have a hand to hold in the early months.
We've loaned our DCs pony for a few years now, and I really appreciated having the peace of mind that a livery yard gave me. I was completely clueless at first, having ridden as a young child, in my teens, and with only a couple of own a pony days under my belt 30 years before. DH is a qualified instructor, but we were rarely at the yard at the same time, so I learned most of what I know from watching other people at the yard and asking countless questions, and taking any advice that anyone would give me.
I second your daughter helping out at a local RS, and then part loaning a couple of days a week. If there are any livery yards available, I'd approach them over a RS any day when it comes to loaning, but others might disagree. Also, I would initially consider keeping a pony at a livery yard prior to having one in a local paddock, given that you have no experience. Finances permitting, of course.
15 is a funny age. I would definitely go down the line of sharing if possible. Some riding schools do a part loan scheme. So the horse is yours for certain days of the week and the rest of the time is used in the school.
This would give her the support and knowledge she needs without the long term commitment.
See how she gets on doing that and take it from there. From experience 15 year old girls are desperate for ponies. Then they get busy with GCSEs, then college and boyfriends and pt jobs and it falls to mum and dad to do the pony.
You would be better being mums cabs for another year than spending the next 3 bringing in and turning out and filling nets, breaking ice off water buckets and mucking out. Only take on your own pony if you have time to do everything yourself. Because there will be times when you have to.
If you pop a wanted ad for a share pony on preloved or your local Facebook horsey page, you may well get some good responses. That seems to be where people advertise in my area.
I have a 14 year old who's desperate to have a pony but due to logistics it's currently impossible. Our compromise is she has two lessons a week during term time (one at a mainly dressage school which she can get to by herself after school and one at her 'regular' riding school), she works at the riding school every Sunday and she'll be doing her BHS stage 1 in a couple of months (which will take up every Saturday afternoon). During the holidays she works at the riding school as many days as she wants and as she's now reasonably advanced she helps exercise the horses as well as muck out, groom, tack up etc. She also has a riding holiday at Wellington every year (fantastic, can't recommend them enough) and has just started going to competitions with the riding school.
She's getting as much pony experience as our circumstances allow and she can increase or decrease the amount of time she spends at the stables depending on how much school work she has which is important as she'll have GCSEs in a couple of years.
She would still dearly love her own pony but is sensible enough to realise that it's just not feasible at the moment and is currently planning her career (wants to be an equine vet) and have her own horse when she's grownup
In your circumstances I'd be very wary of taking on a loan as I suspect you'd end up doing a lot of the work!
Im another that would also look at a share rather than a loan, taking on a horse is huge, its a lifestyle more than a hobby, 15 is an age where she will be trying to figure out the lifestyle she wants and loaning a horse is almost as huge as buying, some riding schools do horse shares have you asked about availability of a horse she knows?
Your dd is a novice and unless you can take her to the next level she is not ready to loan or share unless she will be supervised and taught.
I would ncrease lessons and both do basics course beforehand
I had a mare on loan before I bought my boy. She was 25 and a pleasure to look after and ride and very sane on the whole. I had absolutely no experience of loaning, owning or even sharing. All I'd done is work at a riding school an afternoon a week for a few months. The loan was one of the other girls at the yard so I trusted I wasn't getting screwed over!
I'd say if DD keeps it somewhere with plenty of others to advise/support it might be viable. My first livery yard had nobody else who rode at the time and I was on my own 70% of the time which was really stressful (I'd love it now!) So do your research and make sure DD knows some basic signs of illness/how to spot colic/lame etc as when something's wrong is the worst time. I think a share is safest option but if she's confident yet sensitive and open to asking for help/questions she might be ok.
We may have a solution! I got talking to two women who were supervising their daughters at the field down the road. One of them is interested in loaning her daughter's pony to us (outgrown) possibly starting next month. DD has a riding assessment on Saturday and if it goes well for both parties we can loan the pony (she's a sweet pony). The pony will stay where she is so we will have some support and DD will continue her riding lessons during the loan, although not on the loan pony. Fingers crossed for Saturday. We know we're novice but we're not stupid and I do have some, albeit a good few years ago, experience of owning a pony. Thanks for the advice.
Sounds like the ideal. You'll have the owner for help and support. Good luck.
Thank you. I do feel much more relaxed about the whole thing knowing we'll have support frim someone who knows what they're doing. I just hope Saturday goes well.
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