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Kids - to give up or not..?

13 replies

stancissimamama · 18/01/2012 14:45


Any advice gratefully received...

We've just loaned a 13.2h pony for my 7 & 9 year old dds (we have a companion riding Shettie which they rode previously and they occasionally went on my small Cob- lead rein) and they've had 3 months' of weekly lessons.

We asked if they would to loan a pony and explained the work this involved and they were over the moon. (Lessons were costing a fortune for two kids once a week).

So we found a loan pony in November and 9 weeks in, one has more or less given up riding!!!! The other is also considerably less keen than when doing riding lessons.

To be fair, we took the pony on in winter. During the milder weather, the 9 year old was keener to ride....Right now she's definitely less so. Is it the cold do you reckon? Or do you think she may have liked riding as it was at a riding club? I did explain clearly the difference that having pony at home means, but I wonder if she liked the sociability of the stables and other kids?

To be fair - she's also fallen off recently (accidentally steered into a jump and plopped off afterwards - but got right back on again) and been slightly carted off with (sedate canter off in school- but she's not learned canter yet) in the last couple of weeks so could be this too...

I have said to her that if she wants to give up, its fine - but she says she doesn't. The problem is (age old problem) that all the work falls to me and I'm struggling to keep it all together (with work etc) so if she's not AMAZINGLY keen then I honestly don't think I want to keep mucking out/feeding/caring for both this new pony and the Shettie. I could rehome the 13.2 for the owner, sell the Shettie and just enjoy my own and be mucking out just one pony. Or am I just being lazy and expecting too much of dd for this time of year? Are your kids less keen to ride in the cooler weather?

Have said I'll give her until mid summer to prove she actually wants to ride/own a pony unless it becomes pretty clear either way before then. I'm going to try to get Pony Club sorted as I think this might also give her something to aim at and a more fun time....just don't want to push her into a sport she's not enjoying (nor pay for it and do all the work to boot!!!!!).

Kids eh!

OP posts:
Butkin · 18/01/2012 15:14

DD (8) had been riding since she was 2 when we bought her a roan Sec A LR for quite a lot of money when she was 5. In the first month we thought we'd wasted our money as she never seemed to want to ride him and did not really bond with him. However that was in the Winter!

Within about 3 months she was riding him all the time, absolutely loving him to bits and now won't let him go even though she's outgrown him (we have sold ponies before and since him but he is her favourite).

I think most kids go off riding when it is cold unless they have specific things to do rather than just hacking.

DD has been going to Pony Club since she was 4 and in the Winter she does indoor jumping every 2 weeks. They are in a ride of maximum 6 kids and she loves it. They are getting ready now for the first Tetrathlon of the season soon.

We also do a lot of showing as that is our thing (DD now has a Section B and a Show Hunter Pony as well as original Sec A) so she is always going for clinics, lessons etc. She has one of the showing ponies at a producers yard so she gets lots of interaction there as well (she is an only child and we don't have any local kids with ponies).

As regards stable duties I think you can expect to do them for a few more years yet. However make sure the children know their specific responsibilities. DD knows she has to lead her ponies in from the field in the evenings and top up their waters and load the haynets. We do the mucking out and feeding though.

Stick with it and work out a plan of what the children want to do with their pony in the Spring. This will enthuse them and help everbody's focus. DD has done showing, show jumping, small Cross Country course, pleasure rides and mounted games on hers in addition to general Pony Club activities. I'm sure if they do Pony Club camp they will be inspired!

One final thing though - are they happy with their pony. As other regular posters will know I'm a bit sizest when it comes to children's ponies and 13.2 sounds big for them? Will they be happier riding him when they are a bit older (DD's two main ponies are 12hh and 12.1hh).

CMOTDibbler · 18/01/2012 18:48

It is a pants time of the year tbh. DS is less enthusiastic atm, but hacking to the garden centre for chocolate makes it better !
Pony club would be a good idea - I think they do need the interaction of other children. Which is why our hunt for new livery is being a pain as we need children there

Mirage · 18/01/2012 19:11

Mine are 6 & 8 and still super keen despite the weather.They ride 6 days a week,mainly hacking over the fields but we have an instructor come once a week for a lesson.We don't have any other children in the village to ride with though and they do love it when they can meet up with their friends from further afield to ride together.They both attend local meets and the eldest goes to Pony Club occassionally which she loves.The youngest isn't at PC ,mainly because we haven't found a smaller pony for her yet,but she isn't much of a 'joiner' so don't know if she'll enjoy it as much as the eldest does.

They do have to do jobs like poo picking,haynets,water,tacking up,untacking rugs ect.They are also responsible for cleaning tack and boots.

I did pretty much the same as you,the eldest had been having riding lessons for 4 years before I considered buying a pony.The youngest had been riding about 6 months.2 lots of lessons on 2 different days was the tipping point,plus our circumstances mean that it is relatively cheap and convenient to have a pony at home.To be quite truthful,I thought that the novelty would have worn off by now and thought they'd be moaning about riding all the time,but the only moans I get are when the weather is too bad to ride out in.

I'd give it a little longer and try PonyClub.If you do decide to rehome your ponies,it will be easier in spring.

Good luck.Smile

kenhallroad · 18/01/2012 20:21

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss · 18/01/2012 22:33

It's taken 8 years for dd to come into her own. She started age 4 1/2, And wound muck out a little and had her own half sized buckets. She rode regularly, and did sometimes blow a little hot and cold, but her biggest problem was winter. She has always turned blue with cold, the minute she set food outdoors, between October and April, so I used to keep the ponies on tick over, and she rode at weekends in daylight. She has always been well swaddled in thermals, woollies and padded boots, out, on, ride and then straight home! It wasn't till she turned 10 she stopped getting so cold. This also meant she felt better in winter, and could put a lot more effort in. Since then, she is now nearly 13, she has been great. She goes down every day, and does everything. She rides at least one pony daily, and her record is 5!!
As I said, buy smaller buckets, and make things easier for her. Our beasties are on Hemcore/aubiose, she wears gloves to pick up the poo into a bucket, and the wet gets dug out every week or so. It's much easier and nicer than mucking out straw.
I haven't FORCED her to go every day, but I've always made it clear they are her ponies and her responsibility. I'll help out, and she does get time out for play dates and stuff. Nowadays she is very dedicated, and I'm very proud of her. She has never had perfect ponies, ours are mostly rejects, Nd they aren't always the most helpful, but she has persevered, and is a really nice little rider, with ponies she has made into something with her own hard work! If she really doesn't want rid, you need to be firm about her commitments, until she gets the idea.

stancissimamama · 19/01/2012 20:22

Thanks all very much for your thoughts - feel re-energised & I will keep going!

Butkin - great idea ref half sized buckets and I have a feeling you are right that he is too big. We really needed a 12.2hh but, as is often the way, this one was available and very senior (24) but he does have a lot of life left in him and can move ... I guess I could offer to rehome him and find one smaller/fatter/slower..which might encourage the younger dd as she definitely feels he is too big and I think this puts her off.

CMOT- love the idea of hacking to a garden centre for choc - we have one near us too and I think I'm going to have a go at this. Have you considered a riding stable for a livery - there would be no shortage of kids and yours could join in lessons on their own (not cheaper though unusually!). They also do part livery where your fees are reduced and your horse is allocated to the right level rider for occasional lessons if you are happy to do this.

Mirage- where did you find a good instructor for children? There was a brilliant lady at the riding stables and she was only there occasionally so I guess was freelance but I hesitate to ask for her tel number from the stables as it seems a bit of a cheek..although they did make quite a bit from us in a year's set of lessons x two kids..

Kenhallroad- know this feeling very, very well.
Saggy - agree - think we'll make a list of chores and see how it goes.

Thanks all - will join pony club - in fact there's a pony club show near us on 28th Jan ...we have absolutely no show kit so I don't know if we can enter anything eg gymkhana stuff because of this but we could go on foot....

OP posts:
CMOTDibbler · 19/01/2012 20:33

We are currently at a riding school, and so would like to go to another for all those reasons, but there aren't many, and a lot don't have good turnout. One looks promising, and you get 4 lessons a month included in the livery - which is still v reasonable. My only reservation is that the ponies are in herds of 20 !

Mirage · 19/01/2012 20:45

We have the Chief Instructor from Pony Club come over to give lessons,she is lovely,very child friendly but also makes them work hard and do things properly.We bought all our smart riding stuff 2nd hand or from friends-luckily there was a lady at school who bought everything new for her dc,only to find they lost interest after a few months.She was only to glad to sell it on and I got a bargain.Smile

If you go to the Pony Club show,ask around which instructors people recommend-you should get a good one who is used to teaching children that way.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss · 19/01/2012 21:46

CMOT herds are great! We have everything from a Shetland to a warmblood living together. We used to strip graze separately, but it made them obsessive and territorial. They all get along like a house on fire, and the mad moments when they all hurtle about like loons are great to watch!

CMOTDibbler · 20/01/2012 09:12

But just 4 Saggy ? I'm used to that, and would never want individual turnout. But when it got to 7 in the group there was a lot of arsiness from the more dominant ones, and the bottom of the heap were getting bitten. Maybe in 20 theres just more space.
Recently though, dpony was the dominant with two ex racer tbs below him Grin. Just now, he only has one friend who is only a hand bigger

SaggyOldClothCatPuss · 20/01/2012 09:36

No. That's jus the ones in shot! There are another 5 in the field. We did have a spate of biting from the warm blood against his deputy, but it didn't last long. It can get interesting when a mare is in season, but we have an adjoining paddock for a few days isolation.

CMOTDibbler · 20/01/2012 11:04

I feel much better about it now ! It was a bit traumatic when dpony was getting bitten all the time, and obv looked really bad, so am a bit paranoid about it

SaggyOldClothCatPuss · 20/01/2012 12:16

I can honestly say, bite marks aside, our bunch of screw ups and weirdos are much more well balanced since they started cohabiting!
And it has been great for my colt foal. He is out with 5 mares, and they all keep him very much in line! He's got quite good manners for a virtually Unhandled youngster!

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