Advice please...buy a pony or continue with lessons?

Trakky14

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Hi there I'm in a bit stuck about what to do. Our 7yr Old daughter has been having lessons very regularly for about 2 years, she rides once or twice a week and absolutely loves it. We have the funds and potentially a yard to keep a pony on full or part livery, I used to have horses myself so get the commitment! She also does stable management bits every few weeks and is whizzing through pony club badges and tests...she is totally obsessed!

I feel it would be great to take the next step because she's keen to compete now and have her own to play with and ride...and I'm sure she'd progress more than in her lessons (we'd keep the lessons going obviously too but on her own once a week) BUT in the winter months we'd probably only go up at weekends or the occasional evening after school. Summer would be different as she has long summer holidays and we could go most days. I guess I feel she'd progress more with her own and be able to go out and do more with her own than riding school ponies.

I'm just not sure I can justify the expense! Would love some opinions 😊
 

milliepops

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Get the pony.
She'll presumably have several weeks over Christmas and Easter plus half term breaks too and during the week it's light enough to ride after school for eight months of the year, should you be inclined to take her that often mid week.
if you can afford it, then totally agree, get the pony.
are there other children at the yard you have in mind? I was fortunate to spend most of my childhood playing with ponies with friends - theirs initially and then my own, and i have lots of happy memories of that time.
 

honetpot

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Find out if there is someone you can share with. My children both rode, but we didn't really ride from October half term until the nights started getting lighter in March, and we have very cheap, less than £600, but good for novice rider ponies. The cost of the right pony is so huge now, and finding that pony is more difficult, and there is nothing worse than trying to sell a first pony that turns out not to be that first pony.
We share our ponies with slightly older children, in return for then doing PC, and the odd show, they also rode in the week, they were an extra pair of hands and my children looked up to them. It wasn't just mum getting on to them.
Having your own pony can be isolating, if there is a problem, the onus is on a small child to try and sort it, it was a lot easier when they were on bigger ponies because if needed I could hop on. Small children just do not have the co-ordination or the body mass to be really effective. Yards can be not the most friendly place for young children, so it's not just finding a pony but the most suitable environment for the pony and your daughter. I kept mine at home, and I literally accosted a stranger on the road who had a child on a pony to ask if we could have pony play dates.
If I was doing all again, I would look for a share to start, even if it's not perfect or extra lessons
 

jkitten

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I would get the pony if you can afford the expense and the time, she will get far more out of it than even the best riding school. I say that as someone who rode and volunteered at a great riding school for most of my childhood and teens. I loved it and learned a lot, but not half as much as I would have done with a pony of my own.
 

Trakky14

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Thank you all, you've definitely helped with my decision 😁 we have hopefully got somewhere for her and yes there are kids there (it's a very small riding school with liveries) we can work around the lesson times for the school as it's not a busy yard... plus hacking is great...so hopefully it will work out ok. The added bonus is she can have lessons on her pony there and then staff all know her and are fab. So I think we'll probably go for it 😁
 

windand rain

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Buy the pony but a privately owned and brought up one will be very different to a school pony so be prepared for settling in and tears when it doesn't already know the rules of the school pony. Are you ready to sell or loan it out once outgrown etc A share would be a good start too.
 

Trakky14

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Buy the pony but a privately owned and brought up one will be very different to a school pony so be prepared for settling in and tears when it doesn't already know the rules of the school pony. Are you ready to sell or loan it out once outgrown etc A share would be a good start too.
Yes absolutely, I'm sure there would niggles! We've looked into sharing or loaning but nothing has come up that would fit us..its not going to be used for lessons there, but yes I get your point. She is aware that anything she gets now would not be a forever pony and she'd have to sell on one day when it was outgrown x
 

fetlock

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Yes absolutely, I'm sure there would niggles! We've looked into sharing or loaning but nothing has come up that would fit us..its not going to be used for lessons there, but yes I get your point. She is aware that anything she gets now would not be a forever pony and she'd have to sell on one day when it was outgrown x
Guessing there's nothing suitable at the riding school that the riding school might be willing to sell to you, or you'd have mentioned it already.

My first pony (and when I was also 7/8) was the pony I rode most at the riding school. He was a sour faced plodder and came with the usual riding school pony traits but was known to us and totally safe. He did slowly blossom over time too, once he got used to being a little girl's pony rather than traipsing daily in a line and with anybody.

Whatever you choose pony wise, I'm glad it won't be used for Riding school lessons there. We had that arrangement in the first few months - ie the pony was used for one hack first thing in the morning on Saturdays and Sundays. I hated it.Really hated it, he didn't feel fully mine and I felt sorry for him still having to do the riding school thing too. With a non horsey mum, it was a good move keeping him at the riding school at the time though, though I did get a bit of bullying initially from the older kids without ponies.
 

Trakky14

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Guessing there's nothing suitable at the riding school that the riding school might be willing to sell to you, or you'd have mentioned it already.

My first pony (and when I was also 7/8) was the pony I rode most at the riding school. He was a sour faced plodder and came with the usual riding school pony traits but was known to us and totally safe. He did slowly blossom over time too, once he got used to being a little girl's pony rather than traipsing daily in a line and with anybody.

Whatever you choose pony wise, I'm glad it won't be used for Riding school lessons there. We had that arrangement in the first few months - ie the pony was used for one hack first thing in the morning on Saturdays and Sundays. I hated it.Really hated it, he didn't feel fully mine and I felt sorry for him still having to do the riding school thing too. With a non horsey mum, it was a good move keeping him at the riding school at the time though, though I did get a bit of bullying initially from the older kids without ponies.
No it's tiny, they have 6 riding school ponies and they are hanging on to them. We did consider working livery at another place but I'm not keen for the reasons you mentioned x
 

Widgeon

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To be honest, how do any of us justify the expense? I could have five lessons or trekking centre hacks a week and still be financially quids in over owning my own, but that's not the point is it. If you can afford it, and think she will love and value the pony, then go for it. You sound like a lovely home.
 

Gloi

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Get her into the local branch of the pony club. You might find a pony that way but she will learn lots anyway and meet non riding school ponies.
 

Waxwing

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I had my first pony at thirteen and this year bought my thirteen, now fourteen year old daughter a horse to share. My daughter attended Pony Club earlier in the year on a loan pony and is looking forward to taking ours next year. I am still very close friends with the people I rode with as a teenager and wanted my daughter to have a similar experience. The loan pony she had prior to us buying one was a lovely pony, but she was starting to outgrow her and the there were no other children on the yard she was kept on, and the yard owner, who also owned the pony, was an interesting character to say the least, so we decided to get our own. My husband isn't into horses but is supportive of our new equine family member; he was fortunate to get a bonus this month and wryly commented well that's most of next year's livery bill covered!
 

millikins

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I too think you should buy, your daughter is as committed as anyone could expect of a small child. My only caveat, and I might have missed it, is there any plan to exercise the pony between lessons in the winter? Will the yard do ride and lead or do they have staff small enough to exercise the pony? Otherwise I can see your daughter's lessons having an exciting component to them.
 
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