Dad, Grandma, Grandpa…I want a Pony!
with Kasha Ford
is My Child Ready for a Pony?
With the gift-giving
season upon us many parents will ask themselves this question
and wonder when it’s appropriate to buy a pony.
Maybe it’s a moment you’ve been expectantly waiting
for, maybe it’s a moment you’ve been dreading.
But, there are no two ways about it, at some point your
child is going to ask you to buy him/her a pony.
wanting your child to be truly ready for this type of
responsibility, it’s important to first ask yourself are YOU
ready for your child to have a pony. Realistically much of the responsibility and work will fall
upon you, unless you’re dealing with an older child with some
being said, and with your willingness to support your child’s
passion for ponies, there are a number of factors to consider
before you go out and buy your child’s first mount.
how experienced are you with horse/pony care and be honest with
the level of commitment you are willing to give?
Will you be keeping the pony at home or a stable?
Is your child currently taking lessons with a qualified
trainer? What is
your monthly budget for expenses, care, etc…often it’s not
the cost of the pony it’s the upkeep that becomes an issue.
you have to determine what your goals are: leading a small child
around and gradually introducing them to riding, letting your
child ride independently, shows and competing, trail rides,
jumping, 4-H, Pony Club, etc.
you’ve established your level of experience/commitment,
monthly budget and your goals, you can begin the process of
looking for the perfect pony. Ideally, if your experience is minimal, your child should be
taking lessons and the pony should be boarded at a reputable
times, the best person to find a pony for your child is the very
person who is giving them lessons.
Most trainers who specialize in children’s mounts have
an arsenal of critters they own, or are familiar with, which
could be appropriate for your child. Trust your trainer’s judgment,
not every pony will be appropriate for every child no matter how
pretty, talented, or cheap it is.
order for your child to really maximize the experience of having
their own pony, they should be able to ride independently and be
able to take on some of the responsibilities of ownership---like
grooming and saddling. If
parents are non-horsey types, then ideally the child should be
able to stop, steer and maybe trot/jog on their own. If parents are horsey-types, the child should be able to sit
confidently, un-aided on the pony and should know and be able to
execute basic commands like go & whoa while being led
most important thing to remember, is to trust your basic
parenting skills and judgment.
If your child is serious about riding, responsible or
takes on responsibilities well, then they are likely to be a
good candidate for pony owner-ship.
If your child quickly tires of activities, toys and other
pets, your better off waiting until your child is mature enough
to demonstrate that they are able to take on such a large
a pony as a member of your family can be a wonderful and
rewarding experience. Children
learn an invaluable host of life-skills by having and being
around horses: character, responsibility, sportsmanship, team
work, empathy…and the list goes on, not to mention the bond
and affection they develop for their pony.
Be honest about your expectations before you go out and
buy a pony for your child and you’ll be able maximize the
enjoyment you both will have when you do finally get one.