I say if you can afford a WELL TRAINED pony go for it! Like asked before how old/big is your child? I did have the perfect babysitter 16.2 hh QH gelding I planned on using for my daughter but he passed when she was 4, he was PERFECT for her so I wouldn't count out a dead broke older horse. I shopped for a long time and found my kid a larger Shetland/appy/paint pony and they were great together. Now she's 7 and is riding a 14.2 hh 15 year old gentle gelding and they are doing ok, still leadlining and in the round because she doesnt quite have the umph for him. If I had to do it all over again I would have gotten her another pony.
Ponies are good IF you can find a good one. Well broke, good mannered ponies are far and few between and when you can find them, they are worth their weight in gold.
We skipped the ponies (I'm so picky, I'd have never found the right one) and my daughter rides the horses. She is 6 and doesn't quite weigh 50 lbs. The 3 she rides the most are my 25 yr old retired reining mare that's just a hair under 15 hands, my 23 yr old retired WP mare that's 15.2 (she shows her in small fry pleasure) and then at the other end of the spectrum (and her favorite to ride) is my 20 year old 16.3 Hanoverian mare.
I wouldn't count out a horse because of size, with kiddos, having a gentle disposition and being dead broke are the most important qualities. Good luck on your search!
I would say base it on your daughters feelings... personally.
If she is on the timid side and scared of big horses and falling go for the pony size but make sure they are good like everyone says.
However if your daughter is like me when I was in the single and early tween stages I was fearless and always felt better on the bigger horses. The option of falling never came in my mind and the fact I was on a bigger horse for some reason made me feel like a million bucks whether I was riding them alone or being lead. I felt there was no limit to how much I could do. But that is me since I never had the chance to have a pony :/
Again just try and figure your daughter out lol... which of course I believe is an easy task for a mom ;p if she is confident go for a smaller horse if she is timid look for a pony her size. You will know when you found the right one or atleast that's what my mom always tells me...when you see them and meet them you will figure out quickly which one you think will suit you best.
The only warning that comes into play is don't fall for the first one you see check out multiple different ponies and horses before deciding. :)
Sorry everyone! I tried responding last night, but the forum was down for me.
My daughter is 4 years old going on 30. She is very used to being around horses, as I have taken her to the stable with me since she was 2. She has been recently riding my partner's 6 year old mare who also rides his 2 year old son around. She is absolutely bomb proof and is sooo gentle with the kids.
However, Misty recently has had some lameness issues that we are still puzzled about, and so she has been retired until it has been fully diagnosed and treated. She will be fully retired if the vet does not feel she's sound for riding of any level, and will be kept for the rest of her life as a companion horse. (My partner raised her from a foal, and would NEVER sell her).
Here are some pictures of my daughter in the saddle to give you an idea of her size. I'm leaning toward a pony to help build her confidence, but also do not want the pony to be outgrown too quickly.
My daughter would be learning the basics on this horse/pony and possibly getting involved in some playdays if she's interested once she has more lessons and confidence under her belt.
The person at the barn I used to board got a really big qh for her little 8 yo as 1st horse. He was about 10 yo and gentle as it comes. They trail rode and eventually started to show together. The only problem was she couldn't put saddle on his back (too high). But the biggest advantage was the lady could use that horse for herself and guests when needed.
I was 9 when I got a large pony, which worked out well, because If I let her get away with things, an adult could still tune her up. I think that's a big thing, having a adult also be able to ride. Now size doesn't matter as much as if the horse/pony will listen to the leg cues being up so high and so light of pressure always. I vote for a large horse or small pony. My large pony was 13.2 hands tall.
Oh my gosh what a cutie she is!!! She has the look of a fearless young lady who will conquer the world no doubt :)
I would be scared to give her a pony or a horse :p she will be a daredevil look at those eyes telling you "just try me" attitude lol
good luck with your search for a good match I bet you will find a great partner for her to learn on :)
I do like the idea of being able to tune up a larger pony or a horse. And I like the idea of the horse being able to be ridden by adults as well.
I have never owned a pony and have always heard horror stories as to their stubborn and sometimes aggressive nature, but I definitely won't discredit all ponies just because some people have not had the best results, especially when I see so many children with awesome ponies that are patient enough to put up with the kiddos.
And thank you! She's a smart girl and she has definitely inherited my love of horses. We just need to work on building her confidence now.