New to sharing - help!(11 Posts)
So, I have a confident almost 13 year old DD who has been riding for 3 years. She has recently started jumping. She spends every weekend at our local stables and is desperate for a horse of her own. We don't have the space (or money!) To have one but I have told her I will look into a share. Problem is, I have no idea where to start.....I also have a less confident but improving 10 year old DD and it would be ideal if they could both ride.
Could someone do a where to start for a mum who has horse obsessed daughter's but no real idea about horses!!
Thanks for ANY advice
How much experience do you and your daughter have with stable management and horse care? As a sharer you are normally expected to ride independently and look after the pony on your days. Who would supervise your DD?
Is it possible for your DD to share a pony at her riding school where support should be available? They would also be able to to suggest a suitable pony for her ability.
Unless you are experienced yourself then it will be very hard to find a suitable pony yourself and the risks of getting it wrong are huge - she may be very confident but at her age ( remembering what I was like too) it is easy to be over confident as you don’t know enough to know what you don’t know!
At their stage of riding you are best off looking to see if you can share a horse at the
Riding school you use.
Your daughters are still learning and need the qualified supervision
As others have said, there are childrens ponies available for share, but most people will be (rightly) a bit nervous about a novice 12/13 year old and her un-horsey Mum taking this on. This isn't meant to be harsh and your DD is obviously not a beginner in riding school terms but if she's only ever ridden school ponies under supervision she is effectively a novice with privately owned ponies who can be much more lively and challenging than school ponies who know their job well and can be swiftly corrected by adults if they start to misbehave, both when ridden and when being handled on the ground!
Essentially, at least for the first few weeks/months, you will need someone fairly experienced available to you at all times in case you run into problems bringing the pony in, grooming, tacking up, spotting injuries or tack malfunctions, dealing with any accidents etc - and since for most owners the whole point of getting a sharer is that they then don't have to be at the yard those days, it would have to come from a fellow owner, yard owner or instructor, and not all would be willing/able to do this.
Also, don't underestimate the challenge/change for your DD from riding in lessons where she will always have someone telling her what to do (now trot, now canter, now change the rein etc) to riding all on her own - children can either end up wanting to just bomb around in canter all the time (not good for the pony obviously) or just get bored/confused and stop enjoying riding as much. This can be particularly the case if there aren't other children to ride with or they are not able/allowed to hack out so are stuck in the arena. It's a good lesson for them though, teaches them how to put together a good effective schooling session with goals to work on etc., which is translatable to more than riding! But again if you are not horsey you may struggle to help her here.
I don't mean to sound really negative - you may get lucky and find a pony on a supportive full livery yard with lots of people and other children around which could work, or perhaps someone who has more than one pony so are around at the times you'd be there. These types of shares will almost certainly charge you a fair amount, compared to a share where your contribution is mainly doing yard jobs and exercising the pony. And you might need to be patient and wait for the right opportunity to come up. Or as others have said, riding school lease/share schemes are a good compromise although again, not cheap!
Good things you can be doing in the meantime are to educate yourself a bit on horse care (get a book, or better yet see if you can take a course at a local stables). You can advertise for shares in local tack shops and also on local horsey facebook groups. The best way to find a share is probably through word of mouth - can you ask your instructor if s/he has heard of anything local? Do make sure if you do enter into a private share agreement that someone experienced and independent (i.e. not the ponys owner!) has seen your DD riding the pony and agrees it is suitable/safe - your instructor may be willing to assess them together for a fee. Also make sure you get a proper written share agreement in place- the BHS have a template I think, and that your DD is covered by proper insurance - BHS gold membership comes with insurance.
While your DD is waiting, can she and her sister join a local Pony Club? There are branches for children without their own ponies, and they learn horse care as well as riding, and its good fun for them. Does your riding school (or other local ones) run pony days and weeks in school holidays? Again they usually do some stable management and more fun riding and games at these and are a good way of getting more riding in. In a few years she may be able to help out at the riding school as well which is great experience.
Plenty of pony mad children don't ever get their own pony no matter how much they want one and have to make do with lessons and rides where they can get them so please don't feel obliged to find a way for her to have her 'own' pony, they are such a huge responsibility/hassle even when sharing, no child 'needs' one. It can serve as motivation for her to get a good job as an adult so she can buy her own then !
I was you just over 3 years ago! I had a pony-mad dd but was unhorsey myself (apart from a few riding lessons when I was a child). She was desperate to have her own pony but we couldn’t make the logistics work at the time.
Our compromise was to give her as much pony time as we could, so she had two group lessons a week; she spent every Saturday at the riding school volunteering so she learned lots about stable management and she went on a pony week at Wellington in Hampshire every summer (highly recommended).
A couple of years ago she moved to a bigger riding school with more horses catering for a wider range of abilities and started getting paid for working one day at the weekend as well as getting a free ride. She also took her BHS stage 1 exam.
Last year when she was 15, she was getting herself to and from school on public transport so I said if she could find a yard she could travel to independently she could see if any of the horses there were up for share. She started sharing a very green horse two days a week - they had a few setbacks but he had such a lovely personality that they started to bond. His owner had hardly been riding him so after a few months asked if we’d like to take him on full loan and last autumn, when she turned 16, we took a deep breath and bought him.
She wouldn’t have been able to look after him if she hadn’t worked so hard at both her riding schools because neither of us would have known enough for it to be safe or a happy experience. Because she had to wait and prove that she was committed, having her own horse means so much to her. We’ve seen several other girls who’ve had ponies since they were 10/11 who lose interest because it’s been handed to them on a plate.
I wouldn’t be in a rush to get a share or loan - there are lots of different ways to spend time with ponies - and she may well end up a better, more determined rider as a result
If you take on a share pony the owners will expect you to be able to bring in, clean, tack up, ride and turn out independently and safely, as well as know enough to notice any health issues that need attention. Most yards would want your DD to be supervised by an adult while she does all this, do you have the time for this kind of commitment? It is highly unlikely that your DDs could both share the same pony as they have different needs and different levels of experience.
The best places to find a share are local FB riding groups, notices in tack shops and riding centers, the Pony Club and word of mouth.
I echo the others here
Riding schools are insured to the eyeballs and will not want a serious injury on their hands so the ponies even the “naughty” ones are rarely that tricky to ride. Home owned ponies are likely to be less forgiving and also ALOT more forward going.
Has your daughter also done any stable management? She will be expected to bring in the pony from a field which will likely have other loose horses in it, groom; muck out and tack up. Etc etc etc. Again a riding school pony that’s perhaps a bit more tolerant to being slightly manhandled might be best here.
In your situation I’d be looking for a riding school with a share scheme so she can get used to riding without an adult telling her what to do at any given second and then if that goes well start maybe looking for a share.
Pony club centres, which are for children without their own horse, are a fantastic idea too.
Horse shares up my way are advertised on line and most say ‘must remain at current yard’ so I agree with other posters here that to leave an inexperienced person at a strange yard in sole charge of a horse or pony two/three days a week is a big step.
She may also be expected to do her share of daily turn out (changing inside rug for outside waterproof rug and leading the potentially hyper pony from stable to field) early in the morning.
Riding school ponies are a much better idea. Our local yards so Own A Pony Weekends which are great for learning how to muck out, groom, tack up, turn out or catch ponies etc. Once she is proficient st all that could come the next step. Good luck
Thanks all. We've recently started some jumping lessons at new stables which I have discovered do shares. However, it is quite a bit further away than I would like. We are going to see how we get on at this stables for a little while then maybe consider it here.
Not having a horsey background myself means this is all a steep learning curve for me!
That seems sensible OP! You can never be too cautious with horses, they are large animals that can cause serious injuries and it's always a good idea to take things slowly and gain more experience in a controlled environment.
I am in a very similar position with my DD nearly 13. She was on a farm type riding school and took lessons,loved it and swiftly moved to helping out and then a pony loan with one of their ponies for past 2 years. She did everything in all weathers with him and brought him back into work , got him jumping and he was not a novice ride. I had considered buying him for her and am similar to yourself with non horsey background got loads of advice and decided against it as he is 13.2 and she has taken a stretch over the summer and is already outgrowing him. Instead I got her private lessons at another school with more going on like dressage & competitions etc and she has been enjoying that. I also saw a share advertised for a bigger horse but seems a much calmer nature and she is going to start that. The owner is a riding school teacher but is pregnant so she will supervise her to start with until she goes off on mat leave. There is always so much to learn, each new horse teaches them new things and can be so different to ride. I got the share on a local horsey facebook group and there are quite a few advertised. Good luck . Things to ask are how many days and when the person would be looking for her to ride, nature of the horse and what it can do and likes to do, is it safe hacking in traffic etc, what about vet/farrier and is there a financial contribution, what facilities can she use and would there be adult supervision around. From what I've seen £30-£50 a week is the going rate depending on days.
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