Pony or Donkey for kids? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 17 Old 08-11-2012, 09:15 AM Thread Starter
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Pony or Donkey for kids?

Title covers my chief concern! What type or breed. The kids (grandchildren) are presently 1-4. However they are aging rapidly!
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post #2 of 17 Old 08-11-2012, 03:43 PM
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I'd say a pony. Unless extremely well trained, Donkeys can be difficult. I presume you want something for the children to ride/learn to ride on? If so, find a good, solid pony. Well trained ponies are often difficult to find, since they are snatched up quickly. But they are out there.

I do not suggest buying a Mini. They are really not riding horses and kids outgrow them too quickly.

Lizzie
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post #3 of 17 Old 08-11-2012, 03:45 PM
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What are you wanting the pony or donkey for - are you wanting something for them to ride, to just interact with, etc?
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post #4 of 17 Old 08-11-2012, 03:48 PM
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I actually suggest a small horse, in the 14 hand range that is a bit fine boned so it doesn't appear bigger than it is, thus doesn't intimidate the children wanting to ride :) I find small well trained horses are a little easier to find than the classic pony type.
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post #5 of 17 Old 08-11-2012, 03:50 PM
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I say pony as well. Donkeys are considered "stubborn" but are really just much smarter then most give them credit for. They want to know why you want is in their best intrest. Kids will out grow a mini too fast, unless your just looking for something for them to interact with

Cowgirl up!
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post #6 of 17 Old 08-11-2012, 03:57 PM
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Something else to consider. If you are not extremely knowledgeable when it comes to horses, find someone who is, to guide you when seeing possible purchases. Horses + children can be an accident waiting to happen. Have someone guide you when purchasing tack. Until both children have had some pro riding lessons, do not allow them to ride without a responsible adult present. This is also the quickest way to ruin a good pony. You may know all this, but I just thought I should mention it.

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post #7 of 17 Old 08-11-2012, 04:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tianimalz View Post
I actually suggest a small horse, in the 14 hand range that is a bit fine boned so it doesn't appear bigger than it is, thus doesn't intimidate the children wanting to ride :) I find small well trained horses are a little easier to find than the classic pony type.
I second the small horse idea - both for the reason already suggested (sometimes they're easier to find) but also, if they start developing some behavioral issues they're not too small that a knowledgeable adult can't hop on and give them some lessons. Since most children don't know how to properly discipline a pony for doing something bad, they can pick up bad habits and even start bucking or biting. (I should know... we had a nasty little Shetland when I was a kid that was hell-on-hooves!) Since he was so small, my parents couldn't ride him and train out some of the problems. They ended up selling him and buying me a small horse - it worked much better for us. And also when I started getting taller I didn't outgrow her right away!
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post #8 of 17 Old 08-11-2012, 05:20 PM
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Truthfully, I don't understand why folks have such an aversion to getting a full sized horse for their children. I started on a miniature donkey (who was, by the way, the first critter to ever buck me off and first to ever kick me) but graduated up to a 16hh quarter horse who was a perfect gentleman 100% of the time. Standard sized horses are more plentiful so they are easier to find, they have a better chance of having been trained by an adult who knew what they were doing, and they are just as suitable (if not moreso) for children because they, in general, have a better and more willing attitude than most ponies.

The way I see it, if the kid has a full sized horse, there is no chance they will outgrow it in 2 or 5 or even 10 years. Plus, if the horse begins to have some minor issues from being ridden by children, pretty much any knowledgeable adult (regardless of their body size) can just hop on and work on the issues to keep the horse tuned up the way it should be.

Not so with ponies where the person to tune them up would need to be pretty darn small.
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post #9 of 17 Old 08-11-2012, 06:13 PM
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Truthfully, I don't understand why folks have such an aversion to getting a full sized horse for their children.
I was put on a 16.3H horse at 14, then went to anther barn where most of the horses were around 14.2H - 15H. I found it so much better – I hadn't realized before how much riding a too big horse was affecting my riding. Not to mention it was a long way to fall!

There are plenty of well-behaved ponies out there. Any school barn will sell one of theirs for the right price.
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post #10 of 17 Old 08-11-2012, 07:12 PM
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I'm not talking about some monster of a horse that's going to scrape your head on the rafters if you ride him in the barn, just something in the 14.2-15.2 hand range. Small enough to not be very scary, but big enough that it's not going to be outgrown and big enough so that mom or dad or trainer can ride it too if they need/want to.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/
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