having a first pony, realistic estimates of costs and time please.(27 Posts)
DDs riding school is closing and there is the possiblity of purchasing a pony. DD 1 is 13 and has ridden since age 5, totally smitten. We have a field joining our house and a handy friend who can erect a stable / fence etc. I don't have any riding experience but would help with practical stuff. Any thoughts from you wise ones please as the pleading has started and I could do with realistic ideas of whether to pursue! TIA X
First of all, how big is the field next to your house? Ponies need adequate space to graze and move. Second, horses and ponies are social animals, so you'll have to get at least two. You can buy a pony of a thousand quid or more, but there's also the tack. Ponies are economical to feed, but you'll still have to order hay or haylage over winter, along with minimal hard feed. (The biggest challenge is to keep the ponies from getting too fat over summer when they're on grass.) I pay about £70 each six weeks for the farrier. It's a huge cost investment, not to mention a TIME investment. Who will look after the pony if you are away? A livery yard might actually be a cheaper option, because then at least you only need to buy one pony and they generally have staff who will cover for you (for an added fee) if you are away. Either way, it's an enormous commitment--a lifestyle. I spend about 3 hours a day on things horsey.
Thanks Aliz, that's helpful. We have a lot of land surrounding us, so the field size is that it can be as big as is necessary. I wouldn't want to take on more than one pony however. There are horsey friends around but yes it's a consideration for holidays, we would maybe use livery for that? DD has lots of school work so I am unsure about the time commitment. The riding school was perfect as she got to socialise too whilst doing her hobby, I would be worried about her being a bit isolated if she's just riding by herself.
You can't keep one pony on its own. If your daughter wants to go out riding them you can't leave the other on its own. My sister has three at home for this reason.
Also part of having a pony is being at a yard with your friends.going out on rides having lessons and.socialising.
Also where will she ride- a pony needs regular schooling in a sand school and you daughter will need to have fairly regular lessons.
Having a pony on your own at home isn't that much fun.
When I was 12.-18 we kept our.ponies.at an assisted DIY yard. They would feed them in the morning and then turn them.out.
I would.go up every night after school to ride and muck out.
Weekends were spent up there. All day - both days.Best years of my life!!
Ps I did fine at school despite spending most of my time at the stables.
Not trying to be dismal, but owning a pony is a huge commitment, so please think very carefully before going down this road. I would suggest considering part-loaning a pony first from a livery yard with someone experienced on hand to help out if needed.
A good option might be getting a share in a pony.
Usually a couple.of nights after school and 1 day at the weekend.
thanks everyone, I hadn't known that you can't have just 1 pony, all helpful information.
There are several companion ponies on the World Horse Welfare website if you are really passionate about getting this pony. Please bear in mind that you have to introduce the ponies to each other, keep an eye on them, cater for both etcetera.
If you don't want more than 1 pony then unfortunately you shouldn't get one. A pony will end up depressed with no company.
You really need to read as much as you can. They are a huge time and financial commitment. If you have a pony on its own, you are very likely to have behavioural issues to deal with ... they need company.
To meet its needs properly, you really need to know what you are doing.
Do you know about worming, jabs, shoeing, laminitis, basic first aid, feed types, bedding, muck heap removal etc etc etc?
There is a lot to learn. Don’t go into this without a lot of research.
I would agree that a livery yard is better, if you're not horsey then you wouldn't be able to step in to care for the pony if your daughter is away or busy with school etc. I didn't have my own until uni but i spent all my free time as a teenager at my stables, the social side is just as important and may keep her interested as she gets older, not all pony mad girls stay that way! I did well in my exams and uni despite spending most of my time there
Time wise it's very intensive, when I had my old pony stables I was there twice a day every day, my horse now lives out so is checked on in the morning by the yard and I ride in the evenings and at weekends - again I'm there every day for a few hours. Cost doesn't bear thinking about sometimes
And 2 ponies is double the cost and double the work. No doubt about it!
Part-loaning a pony at a livery yard with lots of other girls your daughter's age sounds like a good solution. It will still cost a lot of money (part of the livery fees/feed/shoeing/vet bills) and time (all the mucking out!). But it's less of a commitment and if your daughter decides she's not so keen, it's easier to back out of than having to sell and rehome multiple ponies.
Sorry to add to the doom, but in my experience riding school ponies are great in a riding school setting. They know the lesson plans and are in heavy work so appear 'good ponies'. Get them out of the riding school setting can become quite different animals. I can think of three ex riding school ponies who are very tricky and will not hack alone and became difficult on the ground once they were in a private home.
Interesting reading, certainly don't want a depressed lonely pony! I do think the riding school / livery sounds the best option, DD1 is such a lovely friendly girl and I don't want her to be by herself all the time. Thanks Jonsnow, she sounds a lot like you! That's what I love about MN, lots of honest advice, thanks!
I thought about buying my own horse a few years back. My very good friend who'd been an equestrian all her life, gave me a great bit of advice. Make a big fire, she said, and then just start throwing £50 notes on it. Keep going until you're destitute.
I didn't buy the horse. If you're thinking about it, be very very sure that you (because at 13 so much is about to change
one word, boys ) can put the time, effort and money into looking after your DD's ponies properly and for life. Totally agree with the part-loan at a livery yard.
Everything that has been mentioned above are very valid points
Also the point about needing a sandschool to ride in is so very important. To keep the horse exercised and well schooled and your daughter's riding ability up you will need a sand school. (Particularly in the winter when it's impossible to keep a horse schooled in a field)
Buying a horse is definitely an option, but I'd say unless you can invest in a sand school and a companion, a livery yard is the best option.
thanks for the advice everyone, it's not the right time for us to take this on, maybe when she's working and has more independence (and money!).
An adult rider wouldn't necessarily need a sand school but I don't think it would be great for a child rider who is still learning to have to ride out on the public road as their only option in winter when it's too muddy to ride in the field. I say this as someone who prefers hacking to schooling.
You could consider having your daughters pony and then offering DIY livery to another pony so that you would get some funds towards the cost of your pony and your daughter would have someone else to ride with.
Ponies don't have to be expensive.
We keep DDs ponies in fields we rent near our house and have a stable block. Everybody elses comments make sense and I'd add that you not only need to look after them twice a day 365 days a year but you have to manage the fields. You'll need electric tape to make sure they only graze small sections slowly - to avoid laminitis - and you'll need to deal with poo picking the field and keeping a constant flow of fresh water. You'll be stabling it in the Winter - overnight at least - and that will require electricity for lighting and place to store bedding, feed, tack etc. it is great but a commitment and if you only plan to have one horse then put it on livery with a ménage at a price to suit your budget..
When I was younger my pony had companion animals ( sheep l)
Sorry my phone gone bonkers
Also no way did I have my own riding school
My school was country lanes
It's a pony ! Natural environment ! Of course you can school
In diff environments ! Not everyone has a school
My friend has a pony on A small holding attached to her home - geese , hens - no other pony
Her dd wd not like to be on a yard she is quiet and wd not like that aspect .
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