Would you buy an older pony?

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A friend has told about a lovely ‘been there and done it’ school master for sale. The pony sounds lovely but the catch is the pony is 20.

My initial thought is this is too old, we don’t have our own land so will be paying livery (and then retirement livery), plus insurance will be tricky/costly. We will be the pony’s last home too, realistically. On the plus side this is a pony with a wealth of experience who could teach my daughter a lot

Is this a bad idea? I’d really appreciate people’s thoughts. Thank you
 

milliepops

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*cough* 30 *cough* years ago my first pony was a 15 yo schoolmistress
at that time people thought she was "well old"
but she was absolutely ideal for me, did all activities and I benefited hugely from her experience and generosity. When I outgrew her she went on to another family to pass on her wisdom to the next generation.
These days 15 is a horse in its prime, and a well preserved 20 yo pony is likely to be well up to the job. So it will depend on the pony, if it's generally in good health it could well be a good bet.
 

teddypops

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Depends on the pony! I had one on loan when she was 15. I bought her aged 19 and she is now 30 and still going strong with no issues at all. Insurance wise you will be limited due to age but I use Petplan veteran insurance which cost me £9 per month. It gives £1000 vet cover for accident, injury and lameness. It also covers death and disposal. It doesn’t cover illness, but I don’t know if any company will, you would have to check.
 
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My next door yard neighbour purchased a 19 yr old ex teams event pony for her then 15 yr old daughter in July last year. The pony was able to scale back a bit, the daughter has increased her skills immensely.
Mum wasn't keen to start with due to his age and management, but appreciated they were likely his final home and is very pragmatic about his future, he'll carry on for as long as he is able.

To add, OP you could just as easily purchase a 9 or 10 year old that could suffer an injury putting it out of use for a long time......
 
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My next door yard neighbour purchased a 19 yr old ex teams event pony for her then 15 yr old daughter in July last year. The pony was able to scale back a bit, the daughter has increased her skills immensely.
Mum wasn't keen to start with due to his age and management, but appreciated they were likely his final home and is very pragmatic about his future, he'll carry on for as long as he is able.

To add, OP you could just as easily purchase a 9 or 10 year old that could suffer an injury putting it out of use for a long time......
Thank you, that’s a lovely story. Sounds like older horses/ponies have a lot to give
Very true, I’ve got one of those horses myself
 
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Depends on the pony! I had one on loan when she was 15. I bought her aged 19 and she is now 30 and still going strong with no issues at all. Insurance wise you will be limited due to age but I use Petplan veteran insurance which cost me £9 per month. It gives £1000 vet cover for accident, injury and lameness. It also covers death and disposal. It doesn’t cover illness, but I don’t know if any company will, you would have to check.
Thank you, that’s good to know re insurance. That’s lovely to hear- Are you still able to ride yours?
 
Joined
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*cough* 30 *cough* years ago my first pony was a 15 yo schoolmistress
at that time people thought she was "well old"
but she was absolutely ideal for me, did all activities and I benefited hugely from her experience and generosity. When I outgrew her she went on to another family to pass on her wisdom to the next generation.
These days 15 is a horse in its prime, and a well preserved 20 yo pony is likely to be well up to the job. So it will depend on the pony, if it's generally in good health it could well be a good bet.
Thank you. Sounds like it’s worth a look. Would you get a vetting on a pony this age? I imagine many will fail on something as they get older
 

Winters100

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My old school friend got in touch about 5 years ago to ask advice about buying an 18 year old for her oldest daughter. My advice was that a schoolmaster would be wonderful, and that as long as she could accept the prospect of being the last home it was a great idea. Pony has been a superstar, giving confidence to both of her children. Aged 23 pony is outgrown, but she had several PC Mums asking to be told when she was ready to sell, and has now sent pony on loan, not because she could not sell, but because she would like to be in control and have him in hands when he eventually retires. Pony is going strong doing a bit of everything.

Being realistic you may or may not be the last home, so it has to be feasible for you to retire the pony if necessary, but if you can afford this luxury then it may well be the pony that looks after and teaches your child, setting them up for success.
 

SO1

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No. My pony is 19 and he is starting to get some niggles related to his age. I have been lucky enough to have had him for 14 years though and I won't outgrow him as I am an adult. He is injured at the moment after tripping out hacking, if he was younger he would probably have been fine but vet said his tendon injury was part trauma and part age related degeneration. Vet hopeful he will return to work but I expect will be light hack and light schooling avoiding circles and maybe do the odd veteran classes. I will miss zooming around on him but having had 14 years of fun with him now is the time to slow things down a bit.

If I had my own land though I would say yes as easier to retire or change management if need be and costs are less than at livery.

What does your daughter want to do and how hard will she be working the pony. If the pony needs to slow down and do less work will she be disappointed if this coincided with her gaining confidence and skills and wanting to do more. Can you afford to buy a second pony and retire the first if need be? Retiring ponies can be tricky as they can be prone to weight gain and lots of retirement liveries although reasonable price often have lush grass. How big is the pony small ones tend to go on longer without issues.

As a comparison my insurance is now almost £100 a month for my pony. I have not put him on the cheaper veteran insurance as now he is older he is more likely to have age related problems and the insurance is more important than ever.

Another thing to consider is if this is a 1st pony for your daughter there might be the risk of her losing interest and then harder to rehome pony if older.
 

PictusSweetDreams

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An old friend of mine bought a 20 year old for her sister who was a complete novice. He was the best purchase she ever made, she lost him this year due to old age. He made it to 32 and brought them so many happy years and taught many to ride. As long as you’re aware of potential health issues and willing to accept you will be the last home I say go for it! You could easily get 10 years out of the pony
 

Birker2020

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I bought a 14 year old ex showjumper, he was a Grade B that used to do the speed classes and the Derbys abroad, he was very cheap at the time and I had two plus years of fun on him, he never ran out or refused a fence and the confidence I got off him at home was amazing.

I wouldn't think about doing it, but when I initially raised the question about possibly buying an older horse with my friend who is a vet physio she said that there was a lot to be said for buying an older horse who has been in consistent work and has managed to stay sound. So if you the pony you are wanting to buy has stayed sound despite lots of riding and whizzing around and jumping then I'd suggest it would be a good buy.

But whether I would have the nerve is something else.
 

Miss_Millie

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I used to share an old girl, she was in her mid 20s when I started riding her. She was extremely well looked after by her owner so had no health problems. Despite her age, she was very sprightly and on fun rides you would think she was half her age! If the pony is well looked after and in good health then it could be a great move to purchase :)
 

MissTyc

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A girl on my yard just spent £4000 on a 24 year old schoolmaster! He seems to be in fantastic condition and health. In three months, he has rebuilt a shattered confidence and this morning she was grinning flying over 2ft grids. This will be his last home and he is treated like an absolute king. I've never seen her ride to well.
 

splashgirl45

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my friend bought a 16 year old horse which we found out laterwas really 18, she did lots of hacking and pleasure rides and decided to stop riding her when she was 28 as she had gone lame and vet thought she would only be field sound, she retired her but she'd had so much fun and learnt so much it was worth buying an older horse and she had 2 years retired before PTS...
 

Birker2020

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I'm considering an 11 year old at the moment but I know that's not really old in the scheme of things.

But I certainly wouldn't want to risk anything older.
 

splashgirl45

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a 20 year old pony is vastly different to a 20 year old big horse.. i had a pony like 15 hand mare who was still happily hacking out at 31, retired at 32 and PTS at 35. my 16.1 gelding i lost at 22, my 16h mare lost at 24, my 15.2 warmblood cross mare i lost at 25..they all had a similar level of work and were all managed the same way...many smaller ponies stay sound and are able to work till late 20's....as do many smaller horses...
 
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