Child's First Pony
Hi, I am looking for my child's first pony and was wanting to get some advice on buying one. My kids are 3 and 4. I am looking for a pony for them to learn on. At the same time I don't want a pony that they will grow out of in a couple years. I have been considering getting them a Halflinger, I have heard that they are usually pretty calm and level headed. Could everybody please give me some advice on what breed I should lean to? I am not looking for a show pony, just a safe and reliable pony to lead around and eventually to teach my kids to ride. Thanks everybody!
Is this your first horse/pony as well as theirs? Are you planning to board it or keep it on your property? I ask this because at their ages it's impossible to tell if they'll even be into horses long enough for you to get a chance to teach them to ride. Do you know how to ride...and more importantly how to teach someone else to ride? In my opinion (and take it for what it's worth)...I would get involved with a good beginner lesson barn. The older one MIGHT be old enough to begin learning something towards riding if they are an older acting four year old. The younger one may be able to get a couple of pony rides out of the place. I'm saying this because my dad bought me a horse when I was young. He'd had horses before, but had never been taught how to ride... just cut loose with horses...and so that's what he did with me. If you're serious about your kids learning to ride well I wouldn't do this. My riding today suffers because of habits I got into during the years I rode before I started learning how to ride.
I would definetly find a barn that has some good beginner ponies. That way the kids get to learn with other kids and if they loose interest then you don't have a pony just sitting in a field.
If you want your kids to learn to ride properly it's not good to get a pony that's too big either, which a Haflinger just might be at their ages. Get them some lessons and wait until you know for sure that they want a pony.
No it's not my first horse, I already own 5 of my own. The thing is that the horses we have now are not suitable for them. We have a 2 year old gelding, a 5 year old moody mare, 12 year old draft cross gelding, a 9 year old arabian that is very high strung and a 10 year old stallion. I have been riding since I was 6 (41 now) and I taught my oldest child to ride.
I would get an "old" horse. NOT a pony. Children at that age aren't ready for the responsiblity of controlling their own horse.
I was in the same place as you a month ago. I had to put my old mare down and the neices have all been on lead line lessons with Soda (spicy young QH gelding). I bought a 13.2 welsh mare that is currently too much for them to handle, but I've also worked with their parents and they will be enrolled in lessons beyond the usual lead line with the gelding. By the time they are ready for the pony she'll be ready for them.
You basically have two "safe" options. 1. Buy an old safe horse they can ride for the next 3-5 yrs, it may be to big for them but it'll be safer. 2. Buy an old small pony. Your 4 yo will grow out of it in 2 yrs but you'll get more time out of the younger child.
Best option is lessons along with an older horse they can "ride" out with the family.
Haflingers might be too big and strong for a 3 and 4 year old. They are draft ponies -- ie. bred for pulling, though lots of people have them for riding and even jumping.
The American Shetland I think is not as headstrong as the UK Shetland and much smaller than the Haffie, of course.
The Welsh pony is a bigger than the American Shetland and more horse like in temperment.
My girls' first pony was a shetland. My oldest daughter was only two and the youngest was still in diapers when we bought "Kobosh." I could put the girls on her back and she would follow us around like a puppy - we couldn't have asked for a better babysitter. As the girls got older, Kobosh challenged them more and more - but they could always handle her. It's just that sometimes she made them work at it. They rode her on trails and playdayed on her - and loved her a lot. By the time the girls finally outgrew her (she was a bit tall to be pure shetland - and with her beautiful, almost arab looking head, she might have had some welsh in her), Kobosh had gone from a pretty red and white pinto pony to a pure white pony. She was easily twenty-five when we sold her, and the people we sold her to had two very young kids that rode her for another six years before she finally had to be retired.
We have a 13.3 POA pony gelding and he is the best pony ever, acts more like a horse but part of that is because he is big enough that we can ride him also to keep him tuned up. Sometimes a small horse is better than a pony with pony-tude :) All the POAs I've known have been more like horses and great for kids.
Goodluck in your search.
I completely agree with thats been said about and older horse far better idea. Halflingers tend to be stubborn and too smart for their own good. In alot of cases they will take advantage of you if they can. Which is not a good thing concerning children at that age.
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