Pony clubs are a great way of introducing kids to horses. Over 500 clubs exist across America with over 10,000 members and their ponies participating every weekend. Their aim is to teach children all about horse care and riding, and hopefully foster a lifelong love of horses. Along the way kids also develop confidence, responsibility and leadership. And let’s not forget they are a great way to meet new people, and most importantly to have heaps of fun! Who wouldn’t want their child to get involved?
First step in joining this great ride is to get a pony. So how do you go about selecting the right pony club horse for your child?
Size does Matter
Yes, it really does matter. It is important that you select the right size of a pony. As a general rule, the pony should fit the child now. Too large and a child can find it difficult to control and instruct the pony. On the other hand, children grow so quickly, and you don’t want a pony club horse that will be too small in a year’s time! The best compromise here is a pony that will suit your child for the next 2 to 3 years. But above all they must be big enough to handle the pony now. A qualified breeder can assist you in the perfect selection.
Age is no barrier
Older ponies tend to be more experienced, used to being ridden by children, and better trained. All this adds up to being safer for your little one as they learn to ride. If it is your child’s first pony look for one over 5 or 6 years old. If you intend to sell the pony in years to come to upgrade to something larger for a growing child, then you are probably best to look in the 6 to 12 years old bracket. If you are happy to look after it into retirement then, a pony over 12 years old should provide a mature, safe and enjoyable riding companion well into its late teens.
Temperament is such an important factor in deciding the relationship your child and their pony will have. It is also a factor that will probably most determine whether your child’s interest in horses grows into a lifelong passion, or falls by the wayside. A child’s first pony should, above all, be gentle. Avoid ponies that have excessive biting, kicking or any other aggressive behaviour. When considering a prospective pony allow the child some time to bond with the animal. If they seem to like each other then you have found the one.
Invest in a Healthy Horse
No one wants a sick horse! Never purchase a pony without having a vet examine it first for illness or injury. You should also look for signs of general good health: good coat, healthy teeth, good diet and energy.
Of course, once you get your pony home it is just as important to continue to look after its health and wellbeing. Proper diet, exercise, and stabling will go a long way to ensuring your child’s pony has a healthy, happy life. Gastric ulcers are a common health problem for all horses, with estimates suggesting that up to 60% of horses and ponies are affected at some point. Signs of ulcers include poor appetite, girthy under saddle, sudden change in behaviour, poor body condition and weight loss. If your pony suffers from gastric ulcers, Abprazole (also known as blue pop rocks) are an affordable, hassle free treatment with results noticeable in 3-4days.
Fulfilling a child’s dream of their first Pony
All kids dream of getting a pony. By following this guide, you will ensure that you can help your child select the best pony for them, one that provides many years of friendship and learning. In the fast pace of today Pony Clubs are a great way to connect your child with the outdoors and encourage them to foster and care for their horse. Before you know it, they will be confident and be off riding with their newly found four legged friend.