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Training Tips: How to Buy the Right Pony For Your Child

DSC_0770With hundreds of children at Pony Club Camp all over the UK this summer and lots of young riders looking to upsize to their next mount now is a good time to consider some good advice on how to find the right pony. Use these tips from our expert trainer (and mother of a keen 10 year old) to help maintain focus on the most important elements:

DO’S:

  • Have a clear idea of what the pony needs to do and be realistic about what your child will enjoy and what they are capable of 
  • We all think our children are amazingly talented but be realistic. Do not over-horse them and spoil their enthusiasm
  • Ask a lot of questions about a pony, not only about his performance but how he handles and behaves to ensure he will be safe
  • Look at his conformation and paces, and consider his age. Remember ponies can go on for a lot longer than horses and they are a lot hardier
  • If you want a safe pony club pony reliability and temperament must come before talent. A serious competition pony will usually have a different attitude to a first ridden or safe all-rounder. It’s unlikely a competitive 12.2hh jumping pony will be suitable for gymkhana games!
  • Do take the child to try the pony. What you think might be suitable might not work when you actually get your child on board

DON’TS: 

  • Don’t buy a pony you can’t find any record for it, or you don’t trust the owner
  • Don’t buy a pony that is too young or inexperienced. Even the most confident little rider will be incapable of producing a pony due to lack of experience and feel/sensitivity. It isn’t fair to put pressure on a child to produce a pony as they need to be able to make mistakes
  • Don’t go shopping for ponies alone if you are inexperienced. Take a riding instructor or an experienced friend with you. Some ponies might look angelic and then turn into unmanageable little devils when you take them home! Try the discipline or activity the pony will be expected to do before agreeing to any sale

VERY IMPORTANT TIP TO REMEMBER: Generally a good pony is for sale because it’s current rider has outgrown it, this means the pony will go from being ridden by an older, stronger and confident child to your child, who will be smaller. Make sure the pony won’t take advantage of this by either trying it more than once, having it on trial (if possible) but most importantly finding a good instructor that will help your child and the new pony to form a partnership. Good luck!

Follow ReadySupp on social media and via our newsletters for useful (and interesting) articles on nutrition, training, events and equestrian news from our experts. ReadySupp Co-Founder Didi Verdina is our ‘training’ expert, she continues to teach in her spare time, competes, and she is qualified to BHSI level (Italian equivalent). Visit our homepage to subscribe.

If you have any questions on equine supplements, and want to improve your horse’s health, performance, or attitude give our friendly team a call 01672 541 157 for advice. We won’t try and hard sell you anything – we promise.

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Posted in Equine events, Pony Club, Riding Tips, Showjumping
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