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So DD is mad keen on horses - WWYD (long)

13 replies

thiskiwicanfly · 19/11/2015 02:45

DD (11) is mad keen on horses and has been for about the last year. She has been on two residential riding camps of 4 days each and is booked on another in January (our summer holidays downunder...). I like horses well enough, and am happy to go for a ride or a trek but know nothing about the care of them, and have no desire to have one or to have responsibility for one. DD is only with me every second week - exH has her the other week - and I work full time, generally 1 hour commute at the end of the day, 45 min in the morning, never home before 6pm.

A friend of mine is involved in a pony club on the other side of our major city (about 45 minutes each way on a good day) and has convinced me to join DD up as a Rider Without Horse to do some general learning about horses etc, and if they are lucky they may get a cool down ride on someone's pony at the end of the session. I thought this would be okay, and having to be patient might be good for her. Friend was going to take her to pony club on Saturdays. That's happened once. The next few apparently she is not available so I will have to take DD.

Today friend contacts me to say she's found a pony that would be perfect for DD and herself and that they could share the lease and would I like to be part of it.

I have no idea what to do, what to expect, what responsibilities I would have and the time required for these things. And how much it will all cost.

My thoughts are to say no, that DD needs to have a season at least to be sure she wants to go down this path, and for us to work out what exactly the requirements are. But friend is very keen - keeps sending me photos of the horse etc, and I'm also pretty sure she won't be able to not tell DD all about it (if she hasn't already). I try very hard to encourage new hobbies etc, but seriously - am I going to spend every evening driving at least 30 minutes further each way to check on the horse, how many hours picking up poo, feeding, waiting for riding to be done? I drive a very small car so no chance of being able to tow a float etc.

Help! What would you do? Am I being mean to say no? (DD will require braces in the next 12 months that will cost somewhere in the vicinity of $4000 from me as well).

OP posts:
kormachameleon · 19/11/2015 03:10

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thiskiwicanfly · 19/11/2015 06:34

Thank you for taking the time to respond. That was my feeling too. And tonight I discovered that the pony would be grazed more than 45 minutes drive each way away. So time would be a major issue.

I've said no to a leased horse this season at all, particularly grazed that far away. I'll think about it again in a year or two.

OP posts:
stolemyusername · 19/11/2015 06:57

I'm not sure where you are but we're in Aus and have a horse for our dds.

They are a massive bind, there's always something they need, farrier or agistment costs - honestly it's never ending.

In our experience our dds hit the 15-16 mark and suddenly there's a million other things to do than look after the horse and I'm left with the brunt of it, with having a newborn our boy is currently getting fat in his (expensive) paddock, he's happy - loads to eat and no work!

If your friend is this flaky over Saturdays then when is she going to have time to look after a horse, plus there's going to be the issue of getting all the tack to the person who actually wants to ride on that occasion.

Get her some decent experience, she needs to know everything (we didn't, massive learning curve). Then maybe have a look on gumtree, around here there's usually someone who owns a horse already looking for someone to go and exercise them due to lack of time etc.

If you do decide to think about ownership, consider a 6 month lease first to make sure the horse us the right one, but my first instinct is to say don't do it!

cherrytree63 · 19/11/2015 07:19

Are there any riding schools near to you? Could your DD go for a weekly lesson or hack, and then maybe progress to being a "helper" at the yard.
This way you have some idea of her commitment. The next step could be sharing a pony. I'm in the UK so don't know if things work differently, but here the common arrangement would be the sharer pays for so many days (cost of pony's keep divided by days) on which they are responsible for the chores and riding. If the pony is on livery then the cost is higher but minimal chores and no early mornings.
If DD progresses well, and is reliable, then you may find a local horse owner who just wants a hand with the exercising for a token fee or just doing some chores around the yard.
If you were to buy or lease a pony now, and your DD has a massive growth spurt, you may end up with a pony your daughter is too big for, unless you over horse her now.

Nowthereistwo · 19/11/2015 07:23

Your friend just wants a horse and wants you to pay for it.

ThreeRuddyTubs · 19/11/2015 07:25

Don't do it. That sounds like a massive commitment time wise and it sounds like you would end up bearing the brunt. I wanted a horse when I was younger and had to accept it wasn't doable

P1nkP0ppy · 19/11/2015 07:40

Definitely don't do it.
DD did have a pony but because we're farming we didn't have to worry about grazing and stables. She didn't have one until she'd had a year of weekly riding lessons and I was certain she'd do most of the hard work (dd was 8) including daily mucking out etc.
University finally stopped her owning a horse, not boys!

mrslaughan · 19/11/2015 12:57

Hello fellow Kiwi!
I would say don't do it.....I ride, my husband rides (If I didn't I don't think he would - but he does enjoy it), and in June we got my son who is 10 a pony - he is mad keen, and has been doing riding lessons every week for the last 4 years, more in the holidays.
I was very gung-ho about him having to do the majority of the care in the weekends....the reality is quite different, because at 10, he actually is not capable of mucking out a stable on his own. (or turning out a wilful welshie) Don't get me wrong, he helps a lot, but it is still a lot of my involvement.
His pony is fantastic - we are so lucky - but I have to always pick out her hooves as she can be very sharp around this........I give this example as ponies are animals - there is no such thing as the "perfect one", there will always be something, which means at 8 or at 10, there always needs to be someone around, who is prepared to help a lot.
It only works for me - because his pony is kept at the same place as our horse - the person who runs the yard is an amazing instructor and horse women so is on hand to help and too give lessons, plus is now happy for me to help him tack up, then leave him for a lesson and him to untack on his own (with her around just incase it all goes pear shaped) while I run my daughter around to ballet etc. I am a SAHM, and the yard is only 10min from home........but I seriously regretted it the first couple of months.

I would say if she is horse mad - instead of loaning a pony - find a really good riding school where she can have a weekly lesson, do more in the holidays (like pony days/weeks), let her do that for a couple of years and hold off on the commitment of your own one for a long time. She will get to the point where her riding stops progressing, thats the point to get a pony.

plus this is the most appalling time of the year to take on a loan/share - unless you have access to a indoor floodlit menage (even then riding your pony out into the pitch-black at 5.00 is pretty scary.......), riding just won't happen after school.......

mrslaughan · 19/11/2015 13:00

sorry just seen your daughter is 11 - even so - I would say its not until they are 13 that they can really be independent.......unless maybe they are like Butkins DD who has been doing it since about 2yrs!!

mrslaughan · 19/11/2015 13:01

What you could do - if you wanted to do - is pay on a per ride basis?

ShapeSorterGoesWild · 19/11/2015 15:09

Just wanted to add, at 11 riding in a riding school environment and riding on your own are two completely different things. Without experience it's very easy to lose confidence when you don't have an instructor to help you tackle any issues that arise.

Pixel · 22/11/2015 22:48

mrslaughan Just wanted to point out that it might be an awful time of year for us but OP is in Aus so probably just fine. Smile

Other than that I'll agree with Don't Do it! Normally I'm the first to try and find ways to encourage people to let their children have a pony but in this case I really don't see how it can be done with the distances involved and other commitments. I think Nowthereistwo has hit the nail on the head re: your friend's motives.

thiskiwicanfly · 23/11/2015 01:52

Thanks everyone. I decided that it really wasn't appropriate for us to go in for this share, agreeing with all your advice that it's a huge commitment, both in time and energy, for something that may be a short term passion.

Agree kind of agree also with -Nowthereistwo- on the motives - she needs me to do this so that she can also afford the horse (and it's only 5 minutes drive from her place). I'm sorry she will not be able to do it, but it's not my job to ensure that she has ready access to a horse!

DD is booked in for a week of intermediate camp in January (canter, trot, small jumps etc) with 2 lessons a day, and next school year we will look at more frequent lessons (if I can get her dad to agree to take her on his week). I figure we will see how it plays out and if in a couple of years she's still obsessed then it's time to do it (but find one closer to home).

Thank you again everyone for your well thought out replies, I'm pleased to see I'm not just a mean mummy!

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