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The tack room

Buy pony or not?

46 replies

MrPickles73 · 09/04/2022 23:23

Unfortunately several riding schools around us closed during lockdown and now the one we are at is selling off its ponies and turning into a livery stable.
Our children have had a fantastic time there and it's bad news for us all round.
The stables are selling off the ponies. DD2 is 9 and particularly fond of a pony who is for sale for £6k. 6 yrs old. Welsh. DD2 is small for their age but should grow at some stage. This pony is 12HH and the other one she rides is 10HH.
The benefit of buying it from the riding stable is that we've seen its temperament etc. It's quite go-ey but DD2 likes that and I think they could have alot of fun together.
So we could buy the pony and keep it as livery at the stables.
Other than the livery cost (some £200 permonth). What other costs should I factor in? Small bales of hay are £3 here.
How long might the 12HH pony last her? She's currently 130cm so quite dinky. 3 years?
How much should I allow annually for insurance, teeth, shoes etc?
Is £6k a fair price for a 12HH 6 yr old pony?

OP posts:
Lastqueenofscotland · 10/04/2022 08:26

£6k seems a bit steep
Personally I am VERY wary of ex RS ponies. They are worked very hard, in a strict routine and get ridden often by good little riders and can quickly turn into absolute horrors without this.

A few things to consider - is your DD good enough to ride without an instructor? Cause if not whack on a weekly lesson on top of that livery. Do you have enough knowledge to look after the pony? Youll be doing everything! If not you need full livery really so add on whatever that is.

Re costs
Budget and then treble it!
Shoes - £80ish every 6 weeks
Food in winter
Bedding in a stable shavings area £6/7 odd each allow for 1/2 a week
Tack!! As randomly your saddle will stop fitting as that is how the world works
Rugs
The fucking vet Angry

Vegansausageroll · 10/04/2022 09:01

Prices have gone silly in the last couple of years so although £6k sounds a lot it is probably not far from expected especially if pony is very safe.
I would get a full vetting though as riding school ponies can have a lot of mileage on them. 6 is quite young too.
I would be surprised if a Welsh pony needs shoes, most ponies have good hard feet and shouldn’t need shoeing so a rasp from the farrier every 6-8 weeks is about £20.
We never had shoes/ rugs/ hard feed for our ponies growing up and they were super healthy. I think the closest to ‘natural’ you can keep them the healthier they are. Lots of turn out with other horses. If they turn out to be grass affected / laminitic prone, which many ponies do, then you ideally need to need to be looking at a track system with hay for ideal health.
Don’t get sucked into a yard with no turn out over winter as you will end up with a real handful and it’s really not fair on the pony either.
Good luck!

AwkwardPaws27 · 10/04/2022 09:08

The benefit of buying it from the riding stable is that we've seen its temperament etc. It's quite go-ey but DD2 likes that and I think they could have alot of fun together

I'd be a little cautious of this - if its a bit zoomy when in very regular work, it could be considerably more so if only ridden a few nights a week after school and at the weekend...

MrPickles73 · 10/04/2022 12:47

Apologies I wasn't clear. The pony is owned by the stables but they bought it admire of a project than a RS pony if that makes sense. So it has only been ridden by DD2 and a small teenager who was training it. So it hasn't been worked loads and in fact barely ridden at all the past month.
I'm guessing a pony should be ridden atleast twice a week to prevent it going too feral?
Regarding feet, quite right it has no shoes. So hopefully just rasping required.
The ponies live out all year round but they are rugged in the winter.
I believe in winter they get hay and a small amount of feed.

OP posts:
MrPickles73 · 10/04/2022 12:48

Admire of = as..

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Floralnomad · 10/04/2022 13:58

6k is a lot for something that is a project and if it’s not suitable for general use I would be quite concerned about resale if that’s what your plan would be in the longer term .

WildFlowerBees · 10/04/2022 14:04

I think you need to do some more homework on owning a pony. We have a round bale of hay £35 lasts us 5 weeks, farrier £40 every 6 weeks but she's barefoot shoes will be more. Bedding we use pellets in the winter around £6.80 a bag I use 2 bags every 10 days.

Rugs, turnout different weights will your pony be turned out 24/7 all year? Will they have enough grass or just be mooching in a boggy wet field? How much space will your pony have?

FleurDeLizz · 10/04/2022 14:05

Can the small teenager keep riding it for you as well to keep it on track? How experienced is your DD?

Lolabalola · 10/04/2022 14:10

Prices are crazy but £6k for a project that hasn’t really done anything and is only 12h is daft. Especially as if it’s a bit goey, you might find one that size hard to sell on when it’s out grown, which will be quite soon, if it’s not especially good at some discipline.
Peak prices last year I bought a 13.2 Welsh 4 yr old, nicely schooled , been out to clear round and dressage a few times. £4.5k. Have seen similar recently and would be a better size for you.

Lolabalola · 10/04/2022 14:12

You would be a lot better off with an older, slightly bigger pony. Possibly also loaning or sharing so you could have some help learning the ropes

MrPickles73 · 10/04/2022 15:11

lolabalola I've made enquiries about loaning but it seems they are very hard to come by at the moment. My first choice was to find something to loan..

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CountryCob · 10/04/2022 15:14

I bought a 5 year old really pretty mini cob for £4k and spent £650 on a saddle recently. Insurance if you want to mitigate potential vet bills and at least third party though pony club/ BHS for public liability around £60 a year. Horse dentist for me is £55 twice a year. Workers/ worm counts about £50 a horse or pony a year but I am working on taking the yard worm count down. Lots of work and management for you. I would want to know what the pony is like off the riding school routine also. You would be better ideally buying from someone who has them as an individual ride. Even then as a mum of a 6 year old rider I know they are unlikely to ride as much as older kid but at least it is less than the riding school. But risky but then buying horses and ponies always a risk…..

CountryCob · 10/04/2022 15:15

I would also say that with the market as it is unlikely to find a loan…

elastamum · 10/04/2022 15:26

It's less risky buying a pony you know, but make sure you have it vetted. I think that the most important thing is to make sure you are up for the commitment. You don't get any days off from horse ownership. Good ponies are expensive right now. I paid £7.5k for a five year old horse recently and she had only done a month's schooling. Hay is £4 a bale, 2-3 a week, feet trim £25 every six weeks, feed has gone through the roof recently. However, if you get the right pony it is a life changing experience for your DD.

maxelly · 10/04/2022 19:19

There are lots of pros and cons to owning your own pony, the pros are kind of obvious but the bond and enjoyment a child gets from their own pony is second to none and it brings on their riding no end as well. The cons unfortunately are extensive too though, the cost is a big one, £200 pcm for livery sounds incredibly cheap (I pay more than 3 times that!), I assume that's for DIY? That does mean a lot of work and it will almost certainly mean you doing a lot yourself (as your DDs are way too young to be much help) and the amount of time horses absorb is the biggest con to ownership IMO, time spent riding is the least of it (and 2 times a week is probably not enough for most ponies, especially if s/he has to be stabled overnight in winter so if that's what you can realistically manage you probably need to look for a sharer to fill in the other days). It's easier in summer when hopefully the pony can live out but even then it'll be 2 x visits per day (unless you can team up to share jobs with someone else on the yard) to ensure they have water and haven't killed themselves, in winter it really is a hard slog, mud everywhere, cold, wet and lots of carting hay and water around and mucking out is my experience (around here on pretty much every yard the horses have to be in overnight through winter), even a very keen child loses enthusiasm for going to the yard after school in those conditions and has to be jollied along bribed to help out... people say this about getting a dog but I think it's a helpful exercise for a horse too, don't get stuck in your imagination on the lovely sunny days when the kids will be having fun cuddling a lovely pony, imagine the very worst day when you/the kids have colds, bad day at work, there's homework to be done and the house is a tip, it's pissing it down and pitch black by 4pm but you have to get up to the yard to feed and muck out, still up for it then? If so then you are probably ready Smile.

Also as others have said I'm not sure the pony you mention is the right match right now, we have a saying in the horsey world 'green on green makes black and blue' ie a novice owner and an inexperienced pony is not the best combination, clearly your DD is a good rider but are you horsey yourself? Knowledgeable and confident enough to tutor her through the inevitable ups and downs of bringing on a green pony? Has your DD ever ridden on her own outside lessons, without the teacher telling her what to do? What about your younger DD, can she ride this pony too and if not does that just mean she can't ride at all? I get that pull towards a pony you already know but I would incline to look for an older, been there done it type, I think 12.2hh is about right, you could go a little bigger but I'd rather have confident and happy in the here and now than overhorse them with too much of an eye on the future, a sturdy 12.2 could well do her for 4 or 5 years yet provided she doesn't get too tall too quickly. OR, and this is probably a better idea still, I'd keep up the hunt for a share pony/part loan. This is honestly so much easier in terms of commitment both time and financial, gets them used to riding without supervision and much more flexible if they grow quickly or the pony doesn't suit as you just give notice and look for something else rather than the whole hassle and heartache of having to sell. I bet if there are new liveries coming in some of them would be up for having 2-3 days a week of work taken off their hands and/or a financial contribution, esp if your elder DD is known as a competent, confident light weight rider... maybe ask about putting an advert card somewhere on the yard?

maxelly · 10/04/2022 19:23

Sorry I don't know where I got the idea you had a younger DD from! Ignore that part!

XelaM · 10/04/2022 21:08

Go for it! It sounds cheap to me by the current crazy prices. We spent nearly £8K on a cob mare by she was 14.2hh. The livery price of £200 is incredibly cheap. Is this for DIY livery?

The joy your daughter will get from owning her own pony is second to none. Plus, she already knows and gets on with this pony. I would go for it.

MrPickles73 · 10/04/2022 22:43

I've found a similar pony online for sale for £2750 so potentially there is some space for haggling. But I feel atleast we would know the pony and go into it with our eyes open.. I'm going to try our local Facebook pages in case there are any loan opportunities out there..
My daughter said someone else bought a pony from the same people originally advertised at £11k and haggled them down to £8k so perhaps there is wriggle room?

OP posts:
Pleasedontdothat · 10/04/2022 23:18

The price for any horse or pony isn’t fixed - sellers will ask for as much as they think they can get away with. When we were looking for an eventer for my daughter, the asking price would drop by a third or so in the space of a five minute conversation Hmm

Prices are still bonkers at the moment, however £6k for a 12hh 6 year old project seems excessively steep to me. If your daughter’s heart is set on this particular pony then it would be worth negotiating.

However I agree with PPs that you’d be better off looking for a share ideally but if you’re determined to get your own then something bigger and a bit older would be a better bet. Whatever route you go down make sure you get as many lessons as you possibly can in the first few months of the partnership. It’s much easier to get things right from the start rather than let things get out of control and have to fix a problem.

CheshireDing · 11/04/2022 07:31

The price is expensive for the size and age I think, how will your children feel when you need to sell the outgrown pony too?

We bought a pony last year, £2,500 and she costs me around £200 per month for stable, hay, straw, daily turnout.

The regular extras are feet rasping £25, insurance (£45 per month), buying hard feed (but she only eats a tiny amount so it last for ages)

The non regular extras are replacing her tack (about £1,000), dentist and annual vaccinations. I knew she needed new tack though when we got her.

Our pony is 13hh and 16 years old, my DC are 10 and 8 so height wise she will last them a good while then either retire or just potter about if there was a small child on the yard who wanted to borrow her for a little hack etc.

I wanted an older pony who already knew her job and one that DC could grow into and that we wouldn’t need to sell on.

I think your pony sounds a bit small for longer use and a bit expensive BUT I appreciate it’s worth a lot if you already know the pony !

MrPickles73 · 12/04/2022 23:16

CheshireDing your pony sounds a good deal I have to say.

I haven't done any more about the £6k pony. I'm holding fire for now and seeing what else we can find.

I'm making enquiries about a 12.2HH 13 YO pony which is for sale at £2,400. Its been in a field for the last year so needs some work before DD can use it but hopefully not insurmountable. I have an experienced pony chum who has a supply of able jockeys so she may also be able to help.

I haven't found anything for loan as yet..

I've estimated the cost of keeping a pony is £300-£400 per month including year round grass keep, vet insurance, worming, teeth, feet etc and £1000 for 'incidentals'. This is assuming a native pony type who lives out without shoes.

OP posts:
MrPickles73 · 12/04/2022 23:18

Has anyone tried sharing a pony with another family / child. i.e. a 50/50 use and cost share? Any joy or sheer horror? I'm just wondering if that could be an option for our 13 year old child (halve the work and financial commitment).

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longcoffeebreak · 12/04/2022 23:23

I think sharing is a total pain I have done it before.

Lastqueenofscotland · 13/04/2022 07:54

50/50 is a nightmare but a more traditional share/part loan is much easier

Also I hate to piss on your chips but 3/400 a month is while doable if nothing ever goes wrong, quite optimistic.

I’d also not buy anything that’s been out of work for a year unless you know the sellers. I think it’s a way of masking something that goes lame when in any sort of work with an “oh well sold as seen from field” excuse.

MrPickles73 · 13/04/2022 09:00

longcoffeebreak Lastqueenofscotland thanks for your honesty, that helps.
DD1 is after a certain pony but another child likes it too and I thought it might be an opportunity but could just turn into a wrangling match so perhaps best avoided!
For costs I've come up with:
livery £100-200 per month (£100 DIY grass, £200 to stay with an acquaintance who would do it all for us and has her own horses, menage etc)
Hay £10/wk during the winter
Food £10-20/mth
Vaccinations £70/yr
Vet Insurance £800/yr (does everyone get vet insurance or some opt for 'pay as you go')
Farrier £20 every 6 wks (no shoes)
Teeth £50/yr
Worming £10-20/yr
Lessons £60/mth
Incidentals £1000/yr
This gives me £360-480/mth which is about £4300-£6000 per year per pony (scary!)
We are rural and not in the South East for cost for hay, livery, lessons is a bit lower than South East.

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