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Buying The Perfect Pony
 By Winniefield Park   •   8th Sep 2018   •   721 views   •   0 comments


Pity the poor parent, not already in the horse world, that wants to buy their child a pony. A good number will just go buy the first pony they come across, perhaps one thatís been languishing in someoneís cow pasture for several years, and turn their kids loose with it. Sometimes this is a successful strategy, and sometimes not. Ideally, the pony-buying parent would be under the wing of a knowledgeable coach who already knows the child and their capabilities. And, such a coach probably has a line on a few suitable ponies whose riders are about to move on to bigger mounts. The parent only has to send the money transfer, and the child has a safe, suitable pony.

But if you donít have someone to rely on, what do you do? If your child isnít already in a riding program, itís probably best they start one long before you agree to pony ownership. I know of one situation where the child dreamed of riding off into the sunset on a white unicorn and wanted a pony sooooo badly. Once faced with the reality of a real smelly, farting, cagey school horse and discovering riding actually required effort, they quickly became disenchanted after about half a dozen lessons. Little kids may be captivated by the romance of riding, but they also need to accept, hopefully with enthusiasm, the less romantic bits, like manure, flies, dust and hard work.

Once in a riding program, youíll have the ear of someone who can coach you in your quest too. Donít expect this advice for free, however. If your kidís coach is going to put in the time to check out ponies with you, they canít be expected to donate it. But, this is going to save you money in the long run along with finding the safest mount for your kid.

There is a chance that someone at the riding stable, or the coach already knows of a great pony, and your search will start and end there. But, you might find yourself looking at several ponies. Be aware that if you look at however many ponies, your child will probably want all of them. And, itís hard to be objective when a starry eyed little boy or girl keeps pleading Ďpleeeeeease, pleeeeeeaseí. So you might want to leave the little rider at home while you get a first look.



Youíll want to see the pony ridden and assess what your child's skills are like compared to the current rider and you will want to seen the pony handled in the stable. Is it pushy, or obedient? Does it seem skittish, or docile? Can a child do things like groom, saddle it up, lead it, clean its hooves and mount up without trouble? Does it appear to be in good health? Is it reasonably sound? If there are any problems, are they reasonably manageable?

After youíve narrowed down a few prospects, it's time for your child to meet the ponies. They should be able to try out everything they would be doing with the pony including leading, grooming, tacking up, mounting and riding. Some small children or ones just getting started will need some help, but for the most part, they should be able to do for themselves.

You might have to be prepared to make a few compromises when it comes to finding the ideal pony. Although the best advice is to find one in perfect health and soundness, you may have to consider a pony that is a little unsound due to founder, or breathy with heaves. If these things are manageable and the pony isnít actually suffering, it may not be a big worry. If the choice is a healthy but flighty, poorly trained pony against one that is obedient, but requires some management to control heaves, your child might be better off with the later. Here again, an expert opinion of a good coach, or even a veterinarian will help you out.

Hopefully, youíve been shopping for ponies in a price range you can afford. There are $1000 ponies and $10,000. Just because ponies are small doesnít mean they come with a small price tag. The more money you can afford to spend, the more choices of ponies you will have. Donít worry, there are some good ponies at the lower end of the price spectrum, but they may be older, or have other issues. Make a reasonable offer. Sellers almost expect buyers to offer a little lower than the asking price. They are unlikely to take half of the price and arenít going to drop the selling price substantially because you have a list of other expenses. The initial cost of pony is only the beginning of the money you are going to spend, and a seller isnít going to feel confident about sending the pony to a home that might not be able to pay for its care easily.
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