Shetland ponies in the garden?

MrsCentaur

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This would be daft, wouldn't it?

Garden is about 150ft so not huge, and would need some work in order to make it safe for ponies (fairly sure the present hedges are not safe for equine consumption!). We would want two, to be shared amongst the five children at home whom are all about the right age to be thrown onto a small pony. Would keep them fit with the school run (a few miles/day) and then long walks/picnics/beach runs at the weekends, which is basically what we do at the moment, albeit on foot. Quite fancy learning to drive them as well - there are a few driven shetlands at 'my' yard, and it looks like great fun!

But it would be bonkers, wouldn't it? And not enough space?
 

Enfys

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I kept my minis in a third of an acre year round, how wide is your yard? As long as they have room to have a bit of a zoom about at liberty they will be fine, and the sort of exercise you mention will keep them ticking along.
Ponies like that do fine on a dry lot on hay year round, is yours going to turn into a mud pit in winter? You might need to consider your soil type and drainage, also removal of manure.
What about zoning, do you live in town, or a rural area? Does your township allow livestock in your yard?
Although in the UK I don't remember ponies being classed as livestock so if you have neighbours your biggest issue may be them.
 

MrsCentaur

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@Enfys thank you for your reply! It's wide enough for a zoom, but not WIDE-wide - two-thirds grass, with a big patio area leading to the garage (which we could probably turn into a stable easily enough - or the summer house...). Residential area in a town that is surrounded by equestrian properties, albeit not within a 10 minute drive of the house. Plenty of people keep chickens though! :) Manure removal might be an issue... and neighbours... but it would certainly make me popular with the children and I'm fairly sure that the cost of keeping two ponies at home is significantly less than the cost of riding lessons x 4!

That said, I expect that this is merely a fun daydream. I'd love to hear stories from people who are making it work though!
 

Winters100

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My OH had the same idea after seeing a shetland pony for the first time. I agree that it is an absolutely lovely dream, just as long as it stays a dream! My main objections were:

We have about 2000 sq m spare which could be used as a paddock, but it is wet in winter, so it will be a swamp in no time
I don't fancy having the responsibility for them, and I KNOW that it will end up being mine whatever anyone else promises
Our neighbors would hate us
Shetlands are, so far as I can tell, a bit like very mischievous children. Wonderful and amusing as long as you are not the one dealing with and paying for their escapades.
I will have to have a tractor drive through the rest of my nice lawn to deliver hay / remove manure. I will also have to organise this.
The rest of the family will love them on a sunny summer afternoon, but will have no clue that they will need to be cared for when the weather is foul
They are shetlands, so whatever fencing we put there, even if we base it upon that in Jurassic Park, they will get through it and ruin something.
The something that they will ruin in the point above will probably be something very expensive and difficult to replace.

Other than that I would LOVE it!
 

Not_so_brave_anymore

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I'm always daydreaming of the kids riding to school! But what do you do with the ponies while you walk the kids to the classroom door? I don't know why I've put quite so much thought into this, because a) we'd have to walk 100m down a very busy road which would be a total non starter during morning rush hour, and b) I have twice as many kids as ponies, and there's no chance I could manage two kids on ponies and also two kids running loose on the road 🤦‍♀️
 

MrsCentaur

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@Winters100 your post made me laugh. I hadn't considered the mental load of managing ponies, mostly because if we don't get ponies we'll have to get dogs or rabbits or SOMETHING to appease the children, all of whom are clamouring for a pet. And likewise I hadn't thought about hay delivery/manure removal - what a faff! Or the possibility of them breaking into the neighbours' garden!

@Not_so_brave_anymore I have twice as many kids as (hypothetical) ponies too (plus a very naughty toddler), but I bet they could be trained only to walk whilst touching the pony. Not sure about breaching the gap between the school gate and the classroom door though! Hmm.
 

honetpot

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I have kept ponies in the back garden and converted the garage into a winter stable.
If you are in England equines are classed as domestic animals, and as long as you comply with local by -laws, arrangement for disposal of muck, do not cause a nuisance to the neighbours, its not a difficult as it sounds.
I lived on the edge of the village, down a cul-de-sac, and one of my neighbours used a converted garden shed for her pony until she could afford to have stable. One thing you have to watch with fatties is if its sown grass its often fast growing rye, so in spring I used to mow it as well.
I would have other grazing which I could use later in the year, we were on the edge of the flood plain, but it was really useful when the children were small, and I could pop down the garden before they got up.
My currant garden, is old orchard so when we have a really lush spring I have to put sheep on it, and the ponies.
 

Abby-Lou

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I have seen this done before you could smell horse pee as you walked passed the house, neighbours lived very close at either side, the ponies did not last long in that set up
 

Gloi

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Many years ago a friend's pony was injured and needed a long box rest and regular dressing changes and they made their garage into a stable so they could give him 24hour care. They lived in a semi on a housing estate. The council wanted all manure bagged up (and they sold it) and they needed to make sure no waste went into drains but once this was being done he lived in the garage until he recovered and went back to the livery stables.
 

Pinkvboots

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Someone I know has 3 in her garden but she has stables for them, the bit they are turned out on is not massive but it's fenced off so they do have a part that is just a garden, she only has one neighbour on one side and she has a horse on livery down the road so she takes her muck there to empty on there muck heap.

In summer it would be fine but in winter it would be a mud pit and I think you would get fed up with it, they will probably need hay in winter as the ground will be void of grass so you will need storage and how would you get it there?, neighbours have to be factored in if you are in close proximity to them.
 

Polos Mum

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My 7 hh mini came from a terraced house garden where he'd been on his own for many years. The only way out of the property was through the French windows and through the house then out the front door. He thought he was one of the dogs and would paw at the window with them.

Not a great way to really properly keep an equine for lots of practical reasons listed above.

But he was spoiled in his older years by being let into the garden in the summer - he loved a nice BBQ
 

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Rosietaz

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There’s a lady around the corner from me who keeps two shetlands in her garden. She has a stable/shed, and I think they must be there for at least 6 months of the year. They keep happy and well looked after! I think she moves them elsewhere for winter though
 

Lindylouanne

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While I don’t think it is a very good idea now I can’t help but think back to London when carriage horses were kept in small spaces all year round and the Met Police and the Household Calvary who still keep theirs in the city for most of the year. It was an argument I used as a child but it didn’t work, my parents wouldn’t let me have a pony in the garden either 😂
 

paddi22

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we let our shetlands graze our garden all the time. we have stables here but when they are full we pop the shetlands into the garden and they use a small shed for shelter. it works fine and realistically we could keep them there and they would have a good quality of life as they have enough space to play and are on restricted grazing anyway. but the downside is that you would lose total use of your garden, they will poo everywhere, some parts will turn patchy and rough. its will get muddy in winters you would probably need to make a hardstanding area, especially around water and hay area. you will spend your life poopicking and weeding. you'll end up feeding hay all year round, so thats unsightly. you will need storage for hay, and some way of removing manure.
 

P.forpony

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I had mine in the garden...
They had a 30x30ish (well fenced!) bark pen with a corner shelter and came out for zoomies/managed grazing, on the other 1/2 acre shared with pigs and chickens.
They had plenty of exercise, were fit happy and healthy.
Poo was picked into bags and sold or given to the neighbours no bedding to get rid of so minimal muck and of the type gardeners like. Biggest job was scraping out the pen and replacing new bark in the spring which went to the friendly local farmer but we had plan b of hiring a skip if necessary.
 

cauda equina

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When I kept a Sec A in what was effectively a large garden I had composting worms in the muckheap
They dealt very quickly and efficiently with her droppings - the heap was only normal compost heap size and never needed removing, and the compost was the best stuff ever
 

Tarragon

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I used to ride my donkey, and then pony, bareback down to the bus stop to catch the school bus, with my mother then leading the donkey or pony back home again - until the teachers objected to the inevitable hairs on my skirts!
 

rascal

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My friend had a sec a in her garden, but she was on the very edge of her village with no neighbours next to her.
The council might object to having ponies in your garden, and your neighbours might complain about the smell/flies.
 

cobgoblin

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A friend of mine kept two minis in their garden. They made a paddock of about a quarter of an acre with a field shelter. In the summer there was too much grass and they had to mow it off. I don't remember ever seeing much mud despite being on clay. The dung heap was tiny.
 
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