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Taking on two ponies - haven't a clue!

(130 Posts)
TwoPonyTony Sun 09-Jun-19 19:43:26

We went to see a house with quite a bit of land (for us) and the owners currently had horses in the paddocks. Amongst the horses were two small ponies that looked like unicorns without the horn. They were very friendly and came straight over to the kids. The owner then proceeded to tell me in front of said smitten children that I could have the two ponies with the house/land if I wanted them. Cue jumping up and down children. We have always had animals but never a horse. The owner said they keep the grass down. So tell me everything I don't know about keeping two small ponies. How much exactly is it going to cost me to keep these two little chaps as happy as possible? I do at least understand this means sorting them out every day. There currently is a Gardner/animal keeper? living in the annex but he's moving on. I would be up for finding another person willing to do the same work but need some sort of grasp on the whole thing myself first.

MILfromHELLL Sun 09-Jun-19 19:46:08

How big are we talking? Shetland ponies?

TwoPonyTony Sun 09-Jun-19 19:48:57

No, bigger. They are used for driving. Maybe just under 5 foot tall?

Doublechocolatetiffin Sun 09-Jun-19 20:03:24

For me basics of horse care are, checks twice daily, feet picking out and maybe a brush. You’ll need to provide water and ensure the right amount of grass/hay. You may need to buy extra in the winter or restrict in the summer. You need annual vaccinations, regular worming and annual teeth rasping. You may also need rugs/fly masks etc. Is there somewhere for them to shelter? You would need to have something so they can get out of the rain or sun. You would probably want to have both insured for vets bills unless you had a pot to spare for fees.

On top of that is managing the land. Poo needs to be picked up or harrowed. Fields will need to be rested/rotated. Fences will need maintenance - small ponies can be buggers for escaping!

I’d say it’s quite a task for someone who hasn’t had horses before. I have mine at home and spend as much time managing the land as I do the horses! It’s not impossible, but you’ll have to do lots of research and get some people in to help you (freelance groom and farmer) especially to start with so you can learn how to look after them properly.

I had two miniature Shetlands and they caused me more hassle than the two horses. Small doesn’t necessarily mean cheap and easy, they still do silly things like get skin infections (requiring medicated bathing etc) and sticking a grass seed in their eye (drops 3x daily). So you need to be prepared for that too. Personally I’d only take them on if it’s your passion. Otherwise get the grass topped once or twice a year, it’ll be miles easier and cheaper!

Damnanddoubledamn Sun 09-Jun-19 20:06:56

It’d be a firm no thank you from us. Massive, extremely expensive and long lived commitment.
Your kids have survived thus far without ponies, they’ll be fine.
Too many people who haven’t a clue take on horses and ponies with sad outcomes (for the horses and ponies). Just ask your nearest pony sanctuary.

Floralnomad Sun 09-Jun-19 20:18:26

As a horse / pony owner of 40 yrs I’d also decline the offer and ensure that the ponies are taken with them when they move .

Anise7438 Sun 09-Jun-19 20:28:15

Do not take the ponies!!!! They're not rabbits!

OnlineAlienator Sun 09-Jun-19 20:33:00

Yah, i'm not exactly mrs BHS standards when it comes to horse ownership - mine are barefoot, live out and get rotated rather than poo-picked, but becoming an owner without a clue? Bad juju. Bone up, then get a horse later if you want one. I'm thinking you'll get into trouble with laminitis, you need to know how and when to worm, will you know how to rotate for winter grass/mudpit avoidance? What would you do if they collicked?

It's not easy.

Fireinthegrate Sun 09-Jun-19 21:01:48

You need to say NO to keeping the ponies as you have no experience.

Have you thought what You’re going to do with the land anyway? Do you need land or just want a big garden for your children?

The land won’t look after itself

You could perhaps rent it to a local horsey person but you would still be responsible for upkeep of it all I would think

Deafdonkey Sun 09-Jun-19 21:02:19

@Anise7438 rabbits are not easy pets to keep. The most neglected pet in Britain.

I live rurally and lots of my friends have lots of animals (so do we) but we have a joke about with my friends with horses, they are the ones up till midnight and frequently have to cancel plans due to time or money spent on the horse!

clemmy0m Sun 09-Jun-19 21:45:47

As other people have said ponies require a huge amount of knowledge, time, money and dedication. It is incredibly rewarding but you can't go into it blind, if you were to seriously consider it (which in your situation I would advise not too), then approaching a riding school or finding a local experienced person to educate you is essential.

Ponies may be small but they often are prone to laminitis which is a debilitating and possibly fatal illness often cause by a pony having too much grass/sugar in their diet which means that limited turn out and weight management is essential. Ponies can also be cheeky and learn very quickly how to take advantage of an inexperienced person which can lead to them becoming dangerous to handle and getting into bad habits, which could put your children at risk.

Aside from this and the daily routine care a horse would need, you would have to arrange visits from a farrier roughly every 6-8weeks, vet check ups/vaccinations/dental work at least once a year, worming. prior to taking on any ponies you would need to get the vet to examine them to make sure there are no underlying health problems. Horses/ponies also need to be passported and microchipped by law.


Eve Mon 10-Jun-19 08:14:08

As others have said don’t do it, small ponies require a lot of management and looking after.

... and the fact that the owner is giving away a pair of ponies to someone with no knowledge speaks volumes about their motives.

CosmicVagina Mon 10-Jun-19 08:16:28

Do not do this!

Booboostwo Mon 10-Jun-19 08:33:22

As above, do not do this, it’s madness.

I got my first horse after 10 years of riding, it was still a massive learning curve and I had to keep her at a livery yard with knowledgeable people on call all the time. About 10 years later I started keeping the horses at home, yet another massive learning curve.

Horses can quickly get out of hand if not handled and exercised properly. Even a small pony can cause a lot of problems, breaking away when led, rearing or kicking at you, going through fences, or running loose while you struggle to catch it. Welfare wise horses need a knowledgeable owner to notice first signs of a health problem, manage their living conditions, and even for daily care. Finally, they are extremely expensive animals to keep. Just the basics, farrier, vaccinations, worming and dentist will set you back, plus the land has to be managed for them, e.g. fencing, poo picking, ragwort clearing, shelter, etc. and you will need a house sitter experienced with horses every time you go in holiday.

Whitegrenache Mon 10-Jun-19 08:33:34

Repeat - do not take these ponies on. The owner must have seen you coming! No one who loved their ponies would give them away like that. Horse care is a mammoth task and is not as simple as letting them graze all year with nothing else to do.
My advice would be to take the children to riding lessons then if they show commitment to this THEN get them a pony which you know is safe and rideable and will provide pleasure.
You know nothing about these ones and they can live a lonnnnnng time smile

Sarahlou63 Mon 10-Jun-19 08:35:34

Just no, NO!!!

UrsulaPandress Mon 10-Jun-19 08:41:16

Ha ha ha.


freshstartnewme Mon 10-Jun-19 08:43:21

Absolutely no way.

This could end up being a disastrous commitment.

A friend of mine once got sucked in by this 'free' pony con. Turned out the pony was prone to laminitis, had cushings disease, suffered from photosensitivity and was a little bastard to boot. Cost them literally thousands of pounds and took every spare minute they had for years caring for him.

Just don't do it.

Fibbke Mon 10-Jun-19 10:25:50

Please don't take them on unless you are willing to go on a course and learn how to look after them properly. They will need a farrier, even for a trim, they will not be able to be just left eating grass all year or they will get laminitis (if they don't have it already). They will be expensive - or should be if you are looking after them properly. Can they be ridden? Or take them on and hire someone to look after them properly for you.

TwoPonyTony Mon 10-Jun-19 12:28:19

I have a feeling these ponies might be there when we move in whether I want them or not. She's now saying they will have to go to a sanctuary if we don't take them. We have always taken good care of our cats and dogs and we will certainly do whatever is needed for these two if we end up with them. I think my best bet is to contact a local stables and see if they have space for them.

UrsulaPandress Mon 10-Jun-19 12:32:50

This happened to people I know. Bought a house and when they moved in the shetland had been left behind.

freshstartnewme Mon 10-Jun-19 12:35:06

She's now saying they will have to go to a sanctuary if we don't take them.

Tell her that's great then. The very last thing you want is responsibility for ponies that the owner can't be arsed with.

I think my best bet is to contact a local stables and see if they have space for them.

No. Don't do this. Don't take on responsibility for this. You are being used.

Booboostwo Mon 10-Jun-19 12:59:14

A local stables won’t just take in two ponies, they will charge you livery for them and that is a cost on top of all the other costs outlines above. Ponies can live up to 40 years, they are a serious and demanding commitment.

A sanctuary won’t take them either. They only take abused, neglected and abandoned animals with no owners. It is very difficult to rehome a pony no one wants, e.g. elderly, laminitic, unriddable, unhandlable.

They are not your problem, don’t make it yours. Talk to your solicitor, make sure the property is inspected for vacant possession before he transfers the money. The seller tried to leave a horse behind at our last property, our solicitor refused to pay the money over until it was removed - it went within the day.

Bigsighall Mon 10-Jun-19 13:03:46

Speak to your solicitor and make sure there is something in the sales contract about them being removed before completion. Ponies, as everyone else has said, ain’t easy. I certainly wouldn’t in your situation

Fireinthegrate Mon 10-Jun-19 13:04:48

These ponies are the responsibility of the person who owns them. They will be breaching their contract with you if they leave the ponies when they move out having sold the house to you.
DON’T take the ponies. DON’T feel responsible for them. You are NOT responsible for them.
Read everyone’s comments on here. All are (presumably) knowledgeable horse owners/carers. Listen to what we are all saying to you please.

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