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First small hunter pony...safe and a good mover?

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  • First small hunter pony...safe and a good mover?

    Our daughter is 4 and just beginning Walk Trot. We have been looking for her first pony. Our first priority for the pony is safety. After that, the pony should be a good mover, given that the flat is where she will be for a while.

    Here is the thing: It has been a tremendous challenge to find small hunters that are both safe and good movers! Now, we are not seasoned horse people that have been doing this for a long time, but we are beginning to think that the two criteria (safety and good mover) are, perhaps by necessity and design, mutually exclusive.

    If that is true, that is not a problem in and of itself, but it does mean that we will be in the market for the second "move up" pony rather quickly.

    I am interested in comments from Forum members to see what experiences they have had in the "first pony" realm. Thanks.

  • #2
    She is 4. Find her a SAFE horse and when she can ride and is older worry about the ribbons. Let her learn instead of buying her a horse that can be in the ribbons without her help.

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm not really a fan of tiny beginners on small ponies. The reason being that smalls can tend to be quick - tiny legs=more steps to get around. And that can be intimidating to someone who is just learning.

      My recommendation would be to look for an older medium or large who has been around the block and needs an easier/non-jumping job. It's possible to find a nice mover that way - although it may require some maintainence.

      However these ponies are worth their weight in gold and can be hard to find since people tend to hang on to them. You should ask around and put the word out that you are looking.

      I also agree with the poster who said worry about safety first! Pretty is as pretty does, but your daughter's safety should be the #1 priority.

      Comment


      • #4
        Could you lease an appropriate small horse or pony?

        Also consider that a larger mount, with a slower, larger step may actually be easier for her to refine her trotting skills on as long as it is safe. And it will be easier to find an appropriately sized experienced rider for the occasional "tune up".

        Comment


        • #5
          For a first horse, there's only one criteria-- safe. Okay, one and a half-- safe and ALIVE. Don't worry about movement.

          At least in my area, ll the tiny kiddie beginner types classes are "equitation" and not hunters anyway. Plus, at that level, all the kids make tons of mistakes so it rarely truly comes down to which pony moves the best.
          ~Veronica
          "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
          http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

          Comment


          • #6
            Don't worry about how the pony moves for your 4 year old. Find a nice, steady, older nanny pony until your daughter is ready for more pony. You might even luck out and find one that you can lease or borrow for a year or two. Those ponies are worth their weight in gold and a lot of owners have no desire to sell, just lease to kids that need a good partner to learn on. Then, once your daughter is ready to move off of her nanny pony, you can find a second pony that is a nicer mover. But for now, keeping her safe and not scared should be priorities 1-10 on your list.

            Good first ponies are often found via word of mouth so ask everyone you know, your vet, your farrier, people at the tack store, etc. If you have a trainer, have her/him ask around too. You never know where the right saintly pony will turn up.

            I also agree with the above poster about not limiting yourself to a small. Our sainted ponies at the barn are all mediums. The little bitty kids are small on them but those ponies wouldn't hurt a fly and have gaits that are easier to deal with than a small stride.

            Comment


            • #7
              At that age, movement really means nothing in the show ring. Safe,honest and unflappable mean everything. Find something that is the same whether it's at home or away......find something that is used to the show ring.....and the loud speakers...and the dogs.....and the umbrellas people are holding etc etc. Word of mouth is probably your best bet- the pony you're looking for has already packed around a decade, if not more, of youngsters and is looking for the next one to start on their horsey path. I agree that you don't need to limit yourself to a small...those tiny ones are slippery ;-)
              Kerri

              Comment


              • #8
                At your daughter's age, SAFE is the key criteria. Our first pony for our then 3yo daughter was 30 years old with past founder issues but completely sound with little maintenance. Both daughters learned to walk, trot and canter on him on and off lunge and in and out of the arena. He was old enough where he preferred to stop rather than run off. He was an absolute babysitter and the BEST $500 I ever spent.

                There will be plenty of time for good moving ponies/horses in your childrens' future. Buy safe now.
                "I always remember you as quite the desk chair contrarian." - APirateLooksAtForty

                Comment


                • #9
                  Safety is the ONLY consideration at that age. Well, aside from soundness. You may find an older, medium pony will be the best babysitter. And - big plus - many a small trainer or experienced teen can school a medium to keep it going safely. With a small, you're lucky if the pro can get on at all. You may have to keep the pony going comfortably with injections. And with a medium, you're likely to get more years out of the ride before outgrowing it.
                  Many of the fancy small ponies are best suited to kids who are already experienced and showing.
                  Born under a rock and owned by beasts!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    don't focus on a small... look to mediums or even larges, tend to be safer and again their legs don't have to go quite so fast which may help her develop her secure seat. And they safe and small (& fancy) can be mutually exclusive
                    Last edited by Mayaty02; Dec. 10, 2012, 11:56 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Baby Sitter

                      We started our daughter at 3 on a baby-sitter of a large pony for several years of lead line, then walk/trot not to jump. Moved on to a small after that , then a medium. I know it seems rather backwards, but this plan worked out beautifully for us. Best of luck - it is such a wonderful time in their lives!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I would pay money to see a walk/trot class where all the riders are so equal that the judge has to judge off of the pony's movement alone. Usually diagonals knock out half the riders anyway.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I will say they are out there but you are going to pay big bucks usually for them. I know a few and they are not cheap at all. I don't know what your price range is or where your at and that usually makes a difference. Unless she is one of those kids that is just natural and going to be a 5 year old doing A shows I wouldn't worry about the movement. I'd go with the safest thing around and worry later about movement. You have to remember also that they grow fast and she will out grow this pony pretty quick and then maybe you can look for the fancier mount once she is more experienced.
                          Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Echo the sentiment that SAFE is the only criteria, and the advantages of expanding your search to older safe mediums/larges and maybe she can come back down to smalls later when she grows into a competent pilot. A light-built medium or large can be easier for her to "leg" than a wide small, and the movement improves with that little added height. (It seems to me any class where pony movement is a factor would be one dominated by pony jocks.) If you skimp at this stage, you will never get to the full-sized horse stage before they lose interest.

                            Everyone can think of exactly the pony from their own experience your child needs, but so hard to find one actually presently available. They are truly jewels.
                            At all times, we are either training or untraining.
                            Flying Haflinger blog: http://flyinghaflinger.blogspot.com/ Flying Irish Draught blog: http://flyingirishredhead.blogspot.com/

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Good advice from everyone! My daughter is three and happy as a clam riding a saintly large pony Nice slow trot and NEVER puts a foot wrong We have decided to hold off on buying anything until she needs to move on. Those little buggers are too quick lol! Also, I second looking at mediums. As a smaller adult, I want something I can hop on to keep it going without having to recruit a mini pro
                              scr.ew them hunters

                              ~barka.lounger

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I agree with everyone here...that SAFE is the only requirement for a first (or even second) pony. Also, having been down this road recently with my son, I can tell you what we did.

                                My son is 11 years old (small for his age) and currently shows regular small ponies; however, he did not start out on the smalls, nor anything fancy. In fact, SAFE is still our primary requirement when looking for his ponies, even though he's no longer a rank beginner. I would gladly trade fancy for safe and fun at this stage. Anyway, here is how it went for us:

                                His FIRST pony was a borrowed VERY aged medium that was basically just a walk/trot old gal which he only rode here at the farm. No showing at that point yet.

                                His second pony was a leased aged medium who could no longer do the regular division but was a champ at short stirrup and children's (cute but not super fancy). She took him from the walk/trot/crossrails at local shows to doing the children's hunter ponies at big AA shows. Not always the winner, but always safe and fun.

                                His third pony was also borrowed....finally a small, but still not a division pony (at least not anymore....he was back in the day). He was an older gelding that did the children's ponies also.

                                Now, four years later, he is FINALLY on to the regular smalls, but there's no way he could've ridden one when he started (at least not on our budget). They aren't as easy to ride as they look, and the fancier they are the harder they seem to be. Of course, I'm sure there are a few amazing fancy little smalls out there that are saintly and appropriate for the littlest ones, but they are hard to find and likely very expensive, even just to lease (as they should be I suppose)!

                                Since your daughter is so young, I say find a safe OLD pony of any size and just let her kick around a have fun for a year or two. Then worry about fancy and ribbons down the road.

                                HAve fun yourself! Ponies and kids are the best!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Sorry to be redundant but I agree with the crowd.

                                  LMEqT got Nanny when she was five, Nanny, 15 or so. She was safe to walk around the farm on. Safe trot on. Safe to canter on. Safe to pop over xrails on. Huh. Safe to trail ride, safe to haul around and ride at friends houses. Safe to lay on and watch the clouds. Safe to tack and blanket herself, to turn in and out herself.

                                  Four years later...Last week she was cantering figure eights in the field, knocking out the changes. LMEqT is now 9, Nanny is looking at 20. Pony is fit, sound, beautiful ( and yes, a good mover but I would not trade all her other qualities for that, if she moved like a sewing machine that would be ok) and the love of my daughters life. I NEVER worry about her on that pony. I can send them off into the woods with a big dog walking along and do something else.

                                  I think, this spring, we will head to a horse show. See if LMEqT is interested. We have a large prospect and plenty of larges to borrow... She will stay on this pony as long as possible.

                                  Invest in your childs SAFETY and build a love of horses and the sport of riding for the sake of riding. You will not regret spending your money. A quality pony is a true joy, for everyone. You cant get back these years and if ÿour child is overfaced or frustrated you cannot undo it. Enjoy!
                                  "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                                  ---
                                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Sent you a PM
                                    My adventures as a working rider

                                    theworkingrider.blogspot.com

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by EqTrainer View Post
                                      Sorry to be redundant but I agree with the crowd.

                                      LMEqT got Nanny when she was five, Nanny, 15 or so. She was safe to walk around the farm on. Safe trot on. Safe to canter on. Safe to pop over xrails on. Huh. Safe to trail ride, safe to haul around and ride at friends houses. Safe to lay on and watch the clouds. Safe to tack and blanket herself, to turn in and out herself.

                                      Four years later...Last week she was cantering figure eights in the field, knocking out the changes. LMEqT is now 9, Nanny is looking at 20. Pony is fit, sound, beautiful ( and yes, a good mover but I would not trade all her other qualities for that, if she moved like a sewing machine that would be ok) and the love of my daughters life. I NEVER worry about her on that pony. I can send them off into the woods with a big dog walking along and do something else.

                                      I think, this spring, we will head to a horse show. See if LMEqT is interested. We have a large prospect and plenty of larges to borrow... She will stay on this pony as long as possible.

                                      Invest in your childs SAFETY and build a love of horses and the sport of riding for the sake of riding. You will not regret spending your money. A quality pony is a true joy, for everyone. You cant get back these years and if ÿour child is overfaced or frustrated you cannot undo it. Enjoy!

                                      That is some good advice there! My daughter is just turned 10 but alot of her friends are between 8 and 12 and the best and most confident riders I know all started on saintly medium or large ponies. My daughter actually was riding a small when she was competently trotting but she could not learn to canter on it. It woudl bolt with her every time... so we had to move to a saintly (big) medium. Loved him but moved onto a fancy small sale pony that belonged to our trainer at age 8. Have to say he did make her a better rider in alot of ways and she loved him, however she still has confidence issues from the experience. She is now at a level where she can competently ride around a course at division height, but she definitely has issues that are holdovers from her days on less than saintly ponies. I would have LOVED to have had a non-fancy, saintly large for her in stead of the super cute fancy small, as I'd have a much more confident rider right now.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I think there are better ways to build confidence and skills than overfacing them. One of the best ways IMO is for them to ride out over natural terrain and jump natural obstacles. They learn to deal with pace issues and balance issues indirectly. They learn to sit up and ride LOL. Most of our kids, mine included, will hopefully be happy adult amateurs someday, not professional jumper riders. Anytime I start getting carried away I try to remember where this is all heading.. Hopefully to a lifetime of competenty enjoying this sport on reasonably well behaved horses.
                                        "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                                        ---
                                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

                                        Comment

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