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Advice for DD moving yards

12 replies

mumontherun14 · 16/04/2019 12:44

Hi there . Looking for a bit of advice. My DD 12 has been loaning a pony in farm type riding school set up for past 4 years. She is there 6-7 days a week and mucks out, grooms, feeds, helps out with lessons etc. She rides loan pony 2-3 times a week. His is 14, 14.2h, welsh section C pony. He was born at the stables and rode intermittently by the owners daughter till she outgrew him then put out in fields for a while till my DD started loaning him. They say he has a lot of good potential but can still spook every now and then and can sometimes be a bit temperamental refusing jumps etc. She has been doing more and more with him, lunging him, riding him more and having private lessons and he does seem to be coming on. She is mostly supervised with him although can take him into school on her own just for exercising.

At the current yard she is at she is a bit limited with what she can do e.g they have no indoor school so weather can affect things and no options for much hacking apart from through their own few fields. She has some school friends who have been going to another yard nearby where there is a cross country course, indoor school , great hacking etc and she has been over a few times for a pony day and really enjoyed it.

She is very fond of the owner & her daughter but really wants to move both for the better facilities and also there can sometime be a bit of politics between the girls at the current yard which she mainly keeps out of but is getting a bit fed up of.

So...either she leaves and goes to new yard and leaves loan pony which would break her heart and she defeintly does not want to do or we try and buy him (£1700) and take him to new yard for livery. I cant see that going down too well with the current yard as he was born there. Also hand on heart I do not know if he is 100% the right horse that I should buy for her as he can be temperamental but she really does love him.

Any advice if poss? I have really no experience of buying a pony or livery but have looked into the costs etc and would probably now be that much more that we currently pay for loan/lessons etc. SHe is really dedicated with him so I have no concerns its a phase or she would grow out of it she has been there non-stop past 4 years in all weathers doing all chores etc and never complains. Also really dont want to offend current yard owner as its a small local world and we would still see them at local shows etc.


OP posts:
Brilliantidiot · 16/04/2019 14:26

Have you any experience with horses other than with the current situation? Because if you buy, you will be solely responsible, and provide the back up care, the final answer on things etc. Your daughter is young, and wonderfully dedicated, but probably not experienced enough to recognise signs of illness, badly fitting tack (even a professionally fitted saddle can become uncomfortable for various reasons over time) etc that a more experienced person would. If you'd get support at the new yard with that, then that'd be better, but you probably need some hands on experience too before owning or loaning away from the yard because you'll have to fill in the gaps when your DD can't - illness, school trips, GCSEs etc.
If you can sort that side of things I'd say the only way your DD will learn and advance is to move to the yard with better facilities.
Whether this pony is the right one for that is a bit of a guessing game. It sounds like being ridden 'intermittently' he's got low mileage, which would account for the spookiness and 'being temperamental' , and you say he's come on with consistent work from your DD. He may continue to do so with better access to facilities and continued consistent riding and lessons. Or he may not. The upside to buying this pony over another is he's a known quantity in many respects, it's rare to be able to know a pony so well before buying.
As for the situation, would the owners even sell? They may also only sell if you agree to keep him there - you can only ask, but tell them you intend to move if you buy him and because you and DD feel with more facilities, DD and the pony would benefit greatly. That might mitigate against any future awkwardness in coming across them at shows and things.
Good luck!

Booboostwo · 16/04/2019 15:20

If you buy the pony you can do whatever you like with him including move him yards, but are you sure that you want to own a horse and that he is the right horse to own?

Owning a horse is extremely expensive. Your DD would still need to have lessons and cover livery, feeding, shoeing, dentist, vet, insurance, etc. costs all for a horse that might need time off due to injury or illness.

If you decide to go for it, buying the right pony is absolutely crucial. The wrong pony can scare your DD, injure her, knock her confidence back, etc. The wrong pony can be a very costly investment if it turns out your DD cannot do what she wants with it.

The pony she is loaning sounds young and green. That is bad news. It doesn't sound like the pony was properly brought on, i.e. taught how to carry himself in the flat, how to negotiate a jump confidently and how to hack safely. I also doubt he has been taken out and about to see the world, so you risk him having a major temperament change when he is moved from the only home he has ever known.

If you decide you want to buy your DD should list what she wants to do with the pony, not what colour/shape/breed it should be and you should get a reputable trainer who knows your DD to find you a pony (one the trainer has no financial interest in).

RatherBeRiding · 16/04/2019 15:46

In your situation - being an inexperienced parent of a relatively inexperienced child - I wouldn't buy. They are expensive to keep! You may think you've taken everything into account but, trust me, you won't have. (Horsey mum here, horsey growing up, worked with and kept horses for donkey's years!)

At 12, there is a distinct possibility your DD WILL grow out of her horsey phase - I've seen it happen time and time again with pony-mad girls. Sometimes they hit mid-teens and discover a social life and boyfriends and the pony is all but forgotten. Not always, but it's something to think about.

I was lucky with my DD in that she kept her interest and still now, as an adult, rides. And as I was the "horsey" one it wouldn't have mattered if her interest had waned because we shared the ponies.

Buying as an inexperienced owner is a bloody minefield (well - it's a bloody minefield for experienced horse people, never mind if your experience is limited).

The current pony and yard set-up don't sound ideal so in your shoes I'd look round for another loan - preferably one that can move yards to the yard where her friends are. If you're not into the local equestrian set then try a local Facebook equestrian group for a loan - put a wanted post on yourself and see what happens.

You both need to be around horses a lot more before you think about taking the plunge and buying. Even easy ponies are relatively complex animals to care for - winter care, summer care, laminitis, weight control, correct feeding, correct shoeing/trimming, teeth, vaccinations, worming, saddle fitting.....the list goes on and on. You will still have all this to think about with a loan, but the owner - if they are responsible - will have input and be able to offer guidance.

mumontherun14 · 16/04/2019 18:26

Thanks for the replies. I have a friend who has owned 2 horses for years with her grown up daughters. I think I'll get her over to see the pony. She has said similar about the costs etc . I think we could manage the costs I am more concerned about the suitability of the pony,

The owner had said he isn't for sale generally but they would consider selling him to DD but I think that was on the assumption she'd be keeping him at their yard,

She wants to do cross country hacking & showjumping and that's what I'd need an honest neutral opinion on whether he is right for that. The yard owner tells me he has a lot of potential and just needs to know DD is boss but I've also heard him described by others as difficult which doesn't fill me with confidence

There would be a lot of support for her/him at new yard with owner and also we know at least 3 families there with mother/daughters who we are friends with. They would help DD cover holidays exams etc and she would do the same for them. I'd also still get her lessons there.

OP posts:
Booboostwo · 16/04/2019 20:29

A horse with potential is seller speak for this horse knows nothing. Of course the horse can learn but the question is who will teach him? It takes years of experience and professional support to bring on a youngster successfully. Your DD is an inexperienced child, she needs a pony that has been there and done that, which will take care of her and teach her. Jumping, especially x-country is quite a risky activity, your DD needs a pony that knows what it’s doing, that will take care of her round a course.

mumontherun14 · 16/04/2019 22:16

Thanks. I think ideally I would probably be best to move her to a loan at the new yard with one of their ponies but I know it will be a hard job getting her to leave her current loan. I am going to get a chat with the new yard owner and get her booked in for their cross country and hacks in the meantime. Thanks again x

OP posts:
mumontherun14 · 16/04/2019 22:29

Also you have prompted me to get more detailed info from owner on his background. I know he has done some competitions in the past with the owners daughter and my daughter has had him round a showjumping course at the stables many times and he is definitely getting more consistent and has begun a bit of dressage practice with him and he has been doing well. Tonight she was out with him in the school just walking, trotting cantering no problems. She is happy just to be with him and potter about with him. I feel he needs to be exercised every day and is benefiting from the work she is putting in but again I have a lack of experience so I will get some more experienced opnions xxx

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Booboostwo · 17/04/2019 06:20

Ambition is what drives most people to change horses. Once you see where a more experienced horse can take you, it’s easier to make the change.

Having said that some people are happy with where they are and feel no need to progress. And some people love one animal so much that they are willing to sacrifice progressing in order to keep that animal for life.

See how it goes, there doesn’t seem to be any hurry.

Jayblue · 22/04/2019 16:35

If the pony has lived at the same yard all his life, with the same routine and environment, then moving him to a different yard could cause problems- especially as he is 14. If he has lived in the same(ish) herd all his life, then he may struggle to fit in with a different one, or struggle to adapt to individual turn out.

Although this pony doesn't sound like the typical riding school pony, a lot of people do have problems when they buy a pony from a riding school where it has been for a long time, keep it in a totally different way, and then find it can't really adapt to the new regime.

In the current set up, it does sound like she has a lot of support available- but equally I can really see why you/DD are keen to move to a yard with more facilities.

If you are really going to buy, then I do think you have a duty to learn about horse care, at least on the health side. You are the one who will have to decide whether or not to get a vet out in certain scenarios, and ultimately, if the worst should happen, you are the one who has to make a decision about whether the pony is put to sleep. I know this sounds horrible but it is something that comes with owning horses.

If you're looking to buy an experienced, competitive pony, you're going to have to at least double your budget for buying, compared to the price you apparently have for this one. You'll also potentially have to spend another £500-1000 on kit for a new pony. And unfortunately, sellers do lie, or ponies can change when in a different environment with a different rider so you could still end up with a "difficult" pony. At least this pony is to some extent a known quantity.

Best case scenario, I think, is to talk honestly with the pony's current owner about a loan/loan-with-view-to-buy where you move the pony to the new yard on a trial basis and see how it works out. The owner may be against this for all sorts of reasons, but if they are reasonable people, they will understand your point of view and may even be able to offer advice on what to do next!

mumontherun14 · 22/04/2019 23:10

Thanks for the advice it is all really helpful.

There have been a few developments this week so grateful for some more thoughts if possible?

DD has been to the new yard and went out hacking with the owner 1 to 1. She loved it they were riding through streams galloping in fields etc. The owner says she can come any time and she could easily set up a new loan for her (has a few ponies in mind) and has already got her registered for their show jumping competition next weekend DD is delighted.

She went back to original yard and I got a bit more chat with the owner there on the original loan pony history etc. We had asked if DD could take him to county show and owner said no as 1)he is too green, inexperienced with busy shows and would not cope well with the noise 2) she does not have insurance for him to go to show 3) she has not had his course of vaccinations done which would need to be completed by the show. She said DD has been doing so well with him and he is really coming on and DD could maybe get him to small local show for dressage where he may cope better.

So straight away the vaccinations raised a red flag for me. Surely they should be up to date for every pony and not just ones you are planning to sell or show??

So today DD went down to original yard mucked him out then went to new yard as they weren't allowed to ride (a glorious day as well!)

While at the new yard a school friend who has 3 ponies there asked her if she wanted to loan one of her ponies. He is 20, mega experienced been in competitions, good out hacks etc. I think he'd be much better for her & she has all the facilities and support of her friend, friends mum (mega experienced) and the new yard.

DD is keen but torn over original pony. She wants to split her week and loan both but in terms of costs and time I don't know if this will be possible and if either owner will agree to it.

I would like her to move to new yard and new loan but she is breaking her heart over the original pony and is worried he won't be looked after as well if she isn't there. X

OP posts:
Brilliantidiot · 23/04/2019 00:03

She went back to original yard and I got a bit more chat with the owner there on the original loan pony history etc. We had asked if DD could take him to county show and owner said no as 1)he is too green, inexperienced with busy shows and would not cope well with the noise 2) she does not have insurance for him to go to show 3) she has not had his course of vaccinations done which would need to be completed by the show. She said DD has been doing so well with him and he is really coming on and DD could maybe get him to small local show for dressage where he may cope better.

The smaller show makes sense for a green pony, however the insurance thing would raise flags for me. If he's not insured then nor is your DD, unless you have rider only insurance. Horse insurance goes in bands generally speaking, so if he's not insured to compete then he won't be insured at a smaller show. He may be insured as a horse at grass and hacking/schooling.
The second thing is the vaccinations. Especially since the equine flu recently, all horses traveling anywhere need to be vaccinated against flu and tetanus. And even a small venue should be checking this. It's on the horses passport which all horses must have by law. Also, by 2020 all horses must be microchipped. If you're going to buy him you'd need to ensure he had these things in place, and restarting vaccination is expensive, there are 3 a certain amount of time apart and then yearly boosters, and during the recent flu outbreak, owners were advised that if their horse was 6 months after a vaccine, to get it done again.
These are things you need to consider buying or loaning any horse. Especially insurance, it's not just if your DD gets injured, but the pony or a third party too, the bills can be astronomical.

then went to new yard as they weren't allowed to ride (a glorious day as well!)
This is going to sound harsh, I don't mean any offence at all, so please don't take any, but this comment shows your inexperience. It's April, and the weather is unusually hot, most horses still have some if not most of their winter coat and the heat has hit more like summer temps. In summer they'd have a summer coat, much thinner and therefore making it easier to cope in hot weather. Generally even then you'd ride in the morning/evening when it's cooler. The only exception would be a fully clipped horse that has had re clips over winter and even then, it'd still be better for the horse to be ridden when it's not so hot.

Overall, I'd say the new yard, and a new loan is the way to go here. I was on the fence before but your update changes it for me. If possible can she try a few ponies and choose the one most suitable?
And really, 2 horses at seperate yards is just going to be a nightmare for everyone concerned. It will be incredibly hard, and I feel for your DD, but bear in mind that this is part of horses too, especially for children, they outgrow ponies, both physically and in terms of ability, and they are returned to the owner if loaned, or sold on.

mumontherun14 · 23/04/2019 09:03

Thank you! I really do appreciate it.

I am aware of my own inexperience so no offence taken at all! At the new yard she didn't ride either as it was really hot. I am willing to find out as much as I can about it all to support her but also I look after my elderly parents at the moment and have a son in a sports team so can't fully commit hence why I feel myself the loan is better for her for the moment.

She does have rider only insurance which is at least one good thing. I got it when she started the original loan.

Thanks again more to think about


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