I'm not sure that's exactly what they're called... but does anyone have experience with buying any of the non-racing horses that come through CANTER? They're usually listed as being used to pony off of on the track. This guy really catches my eye.
I can't speak for this guy--he looks cute!!--but the pony horses we've listed at Arapahoe have been AWESOME and have stepped right into other careers with little to no retraining at all. Great work ethics and the horses I've seen have had a great "handle" on them. If a pony horse caught my eye, I wouldn't hesitate for a single moment to go look at the horse (with cash in hand! They sell pretty quick IME!)
My current guy was a pony at the track. Was sought after by the other pony riders, but I bought him from the trainer who owned him right quick. Rode him at the track, with all the hustle and bustle. Watched him working the two year olds that were climbing all over him. Brought him home and he has been the BEST trail horse ever.
Something to think about. A pony horse has to have a good head on their shoulders. They are working with horses who potentially are worth $$$$. A trainer can't risk one of his client's horses with one they can't rely on.
That little appy is a looker. I'd say give it a shot.
I love the positive replies about this!! That's definitely what I'm looking for - a horse to have FUN with! I almost brought home a craigslist horse a few weeks ago, but then realized I definitely wanted a sound horse for real riding.
I have only been casually looking, but I will put some feelers out and see if I can find a trailer & boarding this weekend. (Anyone near Philly want an awesome Appy at their barn??) If he's gone by then, well, there will be more.
Unlike race horses, pony horses make money every single time they set foot on the track, so I would want to know why they don't want to use him as a pony anymore. Nothing wrong with being a failed pony horse, lots of them get sick of it and need a break or to move on but to just put the horse up for sale for no reason worries me.
You can't get a more steady horse than a "good" lead pony. Ones from private training stables will probably be sounder, but do have him checked out...ponies often gallop 10+ miles or more a morning!!! "Bombproof" is usually a good description!!! Good luck to whoever gets him. He's cute, too!!
A good track pony is worth it's weight in gold. So I too would be questioning why they were selling him.
Ponying can be very hard on a horse. Depending how they are used, they can be go many miles, attached to a fussy racehorse that is slamming and pushing against them the whole way, 6-7 days a week. Some of them don't get sick days, they have to work no matter what. Some ponies have it easy, they might just ride back and forth to the track and that's it.
I will say that I have never ridden a track pony (except my own) who was 100% sound. They always were extremely stiff or off in some way, from years of constant wear and tear. If their owner was good to them, they would be retired before they got to that point. Some horses could be sound for other disciplines but just couldn't handle the tough ponying work anymore. Many ponies get sour as they age. Their body aches and they have less tolerance, they can start kicking at horses or acting out and then it's time to retire them. Just because they aren't fitting in as track ponies doesn't mean they are bad horses and would probably be fine in a different setting. Ponies are asked to do A LOT and it's not something many horses can handle. But I've also seen ponies who were great on the track but had a meltdown if you tried them on trails.
The first thing I would do if I bought a track pony is a)get a vet check b) give him some time off in turnout to let him heal up and recover c)get a good chiro to work on him because they are usually out of whack.
You'll need to look at how hard he was used, why he's retiring, and what you plan on doing with him. If he's been used hard, I wouldn't buy him if you expect to run barrels or jump a lot. But if you're looking for a good trail mount or a kids horse, he'd probably be a great horse for that.
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add me to the 'wonder why?' camp? could be nothing, could be something. my own pony just got fed up with being banged into, bit, climbed on, etc at the track, so he 'retired' as a lesson horse. ive known some really fabulous pony horses (and a few not-so-fabulous ones, lol), and the good ones are worth their weight in gold!!!