would you buy older/fat/out of work pony?
Looked at a 19 year old large pony yesterday. She had a good disposition but she hasn't been worked very much in the last 2 years (only ridden a handful of times). She is also overweight and has a cresty neck. Her feet didn't look bad although they were a bit flat. I know that the weight and the neck are possible signs of metabolic issues but the owner says in the 2 1/2 years they have owned her she hasn't been lame. Would you consider buying this horse to be used for 4-h and riding 3 to 5 times a week?
I would have her fully vetted to address those specific concerns (as well as assuring other health statuses) before I made any decision. I would not automatically discount the pony based solely on what you have posted here, but I would go into any potential purchase with those concerns forefront on my mind.
I also would vet check for laminitis issues, then consider it a diamond in the rough.
Also I don't think 19 is that old for a pony.
As others have said, I think you need a vet check. How competent of a rider is your child? Would they be able to bring back a pony that's been out of work - or if not, is the pony big enough that an adult could put some riding time in?
Many laminitis cases go unchecked. If this pony is over weight, the chance of it having foundered in the past are good, and the chance that it will founder again is a good possibility. If she hasn't foundered, it's only a matter of time. There could be some unseen damage to the hoof that no one is aware of.
Would it matter if she doesn't get her hooves picked out regularly? While we were examining the pony the little girl commented that the pony didn't like the farrier that much and when the girl went to pick out her feet it was clear she didn't really know how to do it (i.e. she was holding the foot backward). So while the mother was very competent, I got the feeling that the pony hadn't had its feet cleaned that often and I wonder if that might cause them to miss changes in the hooves?
I don't think in itself its a big problem.
Although it can take a fair amount of time to bring a horse back into work, especially when they're older. Also, you'll have a lot of difficulty reselling this pony if it doesn't work out.
But if its perfect in every other way...
Do you know what to look for in over grown hooves, contracted heels, thrush, and other problems that go with neglected feet? You bet that foundering would go unnoticed if they don't care enough to get the farrier out.
I'd say that if you're not well versed enough to really know the difference between a healthy hoof and an unhealthy hoof, you should pass on this pony. You could be getting in over your head.
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