New pony, threw daughter - do I keep him?

misst

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I'm guessing you didn't pay a 'paragon of virtue' Pony Saint price...

So much depends on the age and size and type of pony, same for child, your experience, its former life and company. Everyone is cribbing the poor pony and I am thinking the OP sounds a bit naïve with her expectations. Redmone springs to mind and Keira888. Both disaster potential and both happy ever afters.

My kids never had schoolmasters and most people were horrified at my first choice for them (well-known madam of a thing) but I know about ponies and she was their best friend for 9 years. She took them from 'no up-downs' to hunting via Pony Club, XC and SJ, up the beach, round the roads and on holiday to the Welsh Mountains. Taught several kids to ride (and some a few manners) She pulled awful faces at her girth being (even ever so gently) done up but was never grumpy other than that.

What's more they learned to actually ride.
The pulling faces wouldn't bother me - I think it is just a bit of a pony thing. I remember a dressage judge in our first year writing "not in arena for this movement" (she napped over the white boards and then back in!) and "what a good job you have a sticky bum" - she threw a buck. She finished with "lots to like - this pony will really teach you to ride. Keep up the good work". I still laugh about it now. Pony was 12 daughter was 10 :) They won a lot together over the years.
 

TillyF

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Thanks for your thoughts. Yes possibly not the right pony, but he was quite expensive and was sold as a first pony. So I did expect a kinder nature.
Am speaking to the dealer to see what we can do.
 

Honey08

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I’m glad you’ve had a good chat with your daughter and come to the same conclusion. This is your hobby and it’s meant to be fun. Confidence is fragile and this pony sounds like he will chip away at it for your daughter. Sometimes a riding school pony is completely different in a private ownership environment. My first pony was an ex riding school pony and he terrified me too. My parents made me stick it out and that pony taught me half what I know today. I think my parents were wrong with hindsight though!

One thing I will say though is that it sounds like you’re giving food treats to the pony at the gate? This is possibly one of the causes of the face pulling you’re getting. Treats often cause lots of problems.
 

brighteyes

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In my opinion, a true first pony should be the closest you can get to bombproof, adaptable and not easily upset by change in home, routine etc.

After all, you dont take a pony to a show and expect to spend a few days or weeks there for it to settle and perform.

I may be old fashioned in my views but that's what I consider a true first pony. Yes, they may be slightly nervous or out of sorts but never dangerous, which bucking is for small children.

Our first pony for my daughter was a dream on the ground but not consistent under saddle. One day he would take you through anything, the next he had a scary shadow following him.

I can't stress enough how quickly he destroyed my daughter confidence and how long it's taken to build that up again, still 2 years later she's nowhere near where she was when we got her first pony, despite having the perfect first pony now.

We tried everything with her first pony but she wasn't capable enough, he was more of a second pony and it was just the way he was wired.

Very much the same as humans, you cannot change who they really are. You can dumb down some aspects but they either have what it takes to be a first pony, or they don't.

The problem with small ponies is, they're rarely broken and brought on by children these days. More often than not its small capable adults who do this, which results in ponies not wanting little riders bouncing on them, being unbalanced, which most small kids are, and not being given correct aids.

This is the very reason why true children's first ponies are so hard to find and cost a small fortune.

You can't put a price on safety.
You can't guarantee safety unless it's a rocking horse!

Jeez, the ridiculous expectations thrown about are completely unfair to ponies, who live by their wits and shouldn't be expected to slot into a new life any sooner than any other equine. Seriously!

I will put good money on the kid being a bit windy, not very experienced and the parent turning the pony loose in a new environment, kid gets scared, scares pony and falls off. Pony gets the blame.
 

TillyF

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Thanks Honey8, not using treats at the gate, but do need them to catch him, or he pulls a face and puts his rear towards me and runs off if sees the halter.

I understand what you are saying Brighteyes which is why I came to this forum for some advice. I didnt want to make to quick a decision ie wanted to give us time to get used to each other and him to settled. I was looking for others opinions as to whether what we have seen from this pony is normal or a bit too much for a first pony.
 

be positive

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You can't guarantee safety unless it's a rocking horse!

Jeez, the ridiculous expectations thrown about are completely unfair to ponies, who live by their wits and shouldn't be expected to slot into a new life any sooner than any other equine. Seriously!

I will put good money on the kid being a bit windy, not very experienced and the parent turning the pony loose in a new environment, kid gets scared, scares pony and falls off. Pony gets the blame.
Yes seriously I do expect a proven first pony to pretty much slot into a new home, if the child gets windy it should slow down not speed up and dash past a person on the ground, it should have stood to be tacked up without needing a net at the viewing, I have had plenty of new ponies arrive at my yard over the years and the majority settled in straight away, the true first ponies didn't change from the pony that was viewed, none were rocking horses and all had their moments but they tended to be further down the line once they were doing more, the OP may have expected too much but the child needs a nice natured pony they can spend time with and this pony does not sound very nice, it ended up with a dealer for a reason, the reason may have been genuine but it is likely it was not going to be bought by another PC mum who was waiting for it to be outgrown so it was sent in p ex or similar to the local RS as the easy way out.
 

TillyF

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Be positive - do you know any first ponies like that avaliable at the moment?! I might be needing one! 😂
 

misst

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TillyF I think you have to decide what suits you and your daughter. I sympathise so much. I was taken by surprise at how steep the learning curve was for us at the time. I didn't pay a lot for our pony but if you paid top money for a "first pony" you may have bought something "not as sold". I would look carefully at feed/grass (it's growing again) and workload. Then I would be consistent.
Ponies are funny things. When ours went on loan to a family who already had horses but wanted a PC competition pony for their competent daughter they struggled. I had to go and show them how to put back boots on her as she would raise a hind leg and wave it at them when they tried!! She'd never done that before. I turned up and she immediately tried it with me. I growled and slapped her leg and she put it down. She never kicked or bit but she pulled a lot of faces and had a bit of an attitude. She wasn't for everyone but I was never ever sorry that we didn't give up.
But I had a confident competent daughter who had ridden for other people and had had the naughtiest sh1tland ever on loan prior to buying this one so maybe it was different for us.
It was also 25 years ago and people have different expectations now.
 

Ambers Echo

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Yes seriously I do expect a proven first pony to pretty much slot into a new home, if the child gets windy it should slow down not speed up and dash past a person on the ground, it should have stood to be tacked up without needing a net at the viewing, I have had plenty of new ponies arrive at my yard over the years and the majority settled in straight away, the true first ponies didn't change from the pony that was viewed, none were rocking horses and all had their moments but they tended to be further down the line once they were doing more, the OP may have expected too much but the child needs a nice natured pony they can spend time with and this pony does not sound very nice, it ended up with a dealer for a reason, the reason may have been genuine but it is likely it was not going to be bought by another PC mum who was waiting for it to be outgrown so it was sent in p ex or similar to the local RS as the easy way out.
Some ponies are just kind and genuinely look after little people. Jenny was a whizzy pocket rocket but when my friends 7 year old tried her she popped a course of cross poles out of trot. She cantered a stride or 2 before and after then came straight back to trot without even being asked to. When Izzy lost balance after a fence she had jumped out of a speedy canter she stopped immediately so Izzy didn't fall off. She would not dream of bucking. Ever.
These paragons are out there but I would never have sold a pony as sweet as Jenny via a dealer. Maybe your local pony club can help. Or ask an instructor to source you one. Dolly has a new potential homes lined up already because RIs who know her have families in mind for her when she's out grown. But they will be waiting a while....
 

Apizz2019

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You can't guarantee safety unless it's a rocking horse!

Jeez, the ridiculous expectations thrown about are completely unfair to ponies, who live by their wits and shouldn't be expected to slot into a new life any sooner than any other equine. Seriously!

I will put good money on the kid being a bit windy, not very experienced and the parent turning the pony loose in a new environment, kid gets scared, scares pony and falls off. Pony gets the blame.
No, you can't but I wouldn't expect this behaviour of a true first ridden.

Maybe it is the child's ability, maybe not.

I have what is a rocking horse s**t pony, they do exist.

And there are no unfair expectations on him to show, jump, pc etc. Nothing more is expected than a great bond with my daughter and vice versa.

What I've tried to say is that nothing is bombproof. To expect any pony to be 100% safe, is frankly ridiculous, but I stand by my point in that a true first ridden pony knows its job.

There can be no ifs or buts when children's safety is at stake.
 

be positive

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Be positive - do you know any first ponies like that avaliable at the moment?! I might be needing one! 😂
I know of one that a friend has just brought home from loan, loaners acted very badly, but due to what went on it is not going anywhere now which is a shame because she sounds super, I have not really had that size around for ages so no real contacts and have sold yard so no more coming in, the one I have here is not a first pony although he has done the job I could not let him go as he can be sharp at times so he retired when I moved and will see out his days being a pet.

If you give a rough idea of area someone may be able to point you in the right direction, or who to avoid.
 

Winters100

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I also think that this pony ended up at a dealers for a reason. When my friend paid a very good price for an 16 year old first pony 4 years ago she asked me if she was mad because she thought that, due to age, she would never be able to sell it once outgrown. She has just sent it on loan aged 20, only did not sell because she says he is a saint and wants to keep control so he will have a nice retirement when he is ready, and has had several pony club Mum's asking her for a year or more to let her know if she wants to sell.
 

Lady2021

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I don’t want to be mean but you don’t sound experience enough to make that decision. You need to talk to riding instructor and your daughter needs lessons on this pony. Every horse spooks bucks and bolts. Do you feel overwhelmed with horse ownership it sounds there is more to this story than meets the eye.
 

Ambers Echo

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I don’t want to be mean but you don’t sound experience enough to make that decision. You need to talk to riding instructor and your daughter needs lessons on this pony. Every horse spooks bucks and bolts. Do you feel overwhelmed with horse ownership it sounds there is more to this story than meets the eye.
Every horse spooks but a spook can be a spin/run or just a brief easily managed reaction and the degree of trigger for spooking can be very high with a well socialised, calm pony. Not every pony bucks. And I'd never ever keep a bolter.

The story sounds pretty straightforward to me.
 

be positive

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I don’t want to be mean but you don’t sound experience enough to make that decision. You need to talk to riding instructor and your daughter needs lessons on this pony. Every horse spooks bucks and bolts. Do you feel overwhelmed with horse ownership it sounds there is more to this story than meets the eye.
Every horse does not spook or buck, I have known many that have not really done either except when playing in the field, and in all the years I have owned, trained and produced horses and ponies I have never had one properly bolt, a few fairly serious run aways do not count as bolts to me and they have been rare, so your theory is totally off the mark, a first pony may have the odd look/ spook but should not overreact by then tanking off which this one has done.
I have had numerous that will take a look at something scary and then wait rather than run away even with small nervous children on board, having said that I have also known plenty of not so nice ones that took advantage, one that got down and rolled, one that decided to stop and kick a child that had fallen off when it spooked and bucked, they are not all saints it is deciding which quirks you can either live with or sort out that can be tricky so when one is proving tricky from the start it is usually best to send it back while you still can and find one that has a nicer nature, it may still not be perfect but if it is friendly that is a good starting point.
 

Winters100

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You can't guarantee safety unless it's a rocking horse!

Jeez, the ridiculous expectations thrown about are completely unfair to ponies, who live by their wits and shouldn't be expected to slot into a new life any sooner than any other equine. Seriously!

I will put good money on the kid being a bit windy, not very experienced and the parent turning the pony loose in a new environment, kid gets scared, scares pony and falls off. Pony gets the blame.
I don't think anyone is blaming the pony, just saying that it doesn't sound like the right pony for that particular child. It might be the perfect pony for a child who is a bit further along the road.

Maybe OP was a bit on the optimistic side and make a bit of a mistake, but I am pretty sure that there is not one of us who has not made plenty of mistakes with our horses, and i would expect a good first pony to grind to a halt and wait for the authorities in the event of problems, not buck the child off and run away.

Edited to add that I agree with be positive. My schoolmistress has not spooked once in 2.5 years of ownership. Of course I would never rule out that it could occur, but in this instance I would not expect it to end with her running away. If she were smaller she would be a perfect pony for any child, because she has plenty of fizz when someone more experienced rides her, but adjusts to the level of the rider.
 
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Ambers Echo

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All situations are different but i made the mistake of keeping my daughters' first pony despite early warning signs that he was less reliable than we had thought. Also from a dealer. Similar situation - novice kids, pony good at viewing and on paper and assumptions that it was a rider problem not a pony problem. Ended with her in hospital with a badly broken arm within 8 months. Accidents can happen on any horse but this was entirely predictable with hindsight. The pony was just not reliable.
 
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Pearlsasinger

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I don’t want to be mean but you don’t sound experience enough to make that decision. You need to talk to riding instructor and your daughter needs lessons on this pony. Every horse spooks bucks and bolts. Do you feel overwhelmed with horse ownership it sounds there is more to this story than meets the eye.
Every horse does not spook, bolt and buck! I have owned horses for almost 50 yrs and during that tie I've had plenty of horses that did none of those things, even when startled (rarely) they would 'jump on the spot' with their feet barely leaving the ground if at all.


ETA, posted without reading Widgeon's post.
 

Winters100

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How are you doing with this TillyF? I do hope that the dealer will accommodate you if you decide to return the pony.

Reminds me of when I was a child and had my ponies at livery with a very well known producer. Every year we would be allocated ponies to school for selling, and she was marvellous at fitting ponies to children. She kept a lovely schoolmaster who would always be the first ride of any child who came to the yard to buy, and on many occasions she would tell the parents that the pony that they had come to see would not be a fit. On the odd occasions that someone purchased and it did not work out she would just take the pony back, sometimes exchanging it for another, sometimes just taking it as a return. They were all quality well-schooled ponies at normal market prices, so she always said that she did not mind taking them back and finding the right home. She is now in her 80s and runs the yard only as DIY, but still rides out every day.
 

TillyF

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Hi winters100,
Thanks for asking - I have been trying to speak to the dealer the last few days. I will call again tomorrow. She said by text we could sort something out, hope so.
I had a good ride on the pony today, but it was with others, so he was not nervous. At the end I took him a different way to test him out, and he refused 3 times in a 10 minute walk. I got him moving again each time, but did have to be very firm. So still dont feel he is right as a first pony.
 

Winters100

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Definitely sounds like the right decision, and I wish you good luck in finding the right pony. It takes a level head and a lot of courage to face the fact that the one you have is not a good fit, but better to deal with it now than further down the line. Well done you.
 
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