New "Owner" of Welsh Ponies Needs Advice - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 57 Old 10-10-2019, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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New "Owner" of Welsh Ponies Needs Advice

History: My very stubborn father has purchased two small (previous owner said Welsh) ponies about 2-3 weeks ago. They are currently in a portable pen in our front yard that we move every few days after they've grazed it off. My dad is building a shelter and preparing a better area--space isn't really an issue, because he has about 300 acres around us. He feels my kids need them, plus he felt very sorry for the ponies (they were in a pretty rough place). They are half sisters, 5 and 10. The 10-yr. old is either fat or pregnant. The 5-yr. old is blind in one eye, has an oversized eye on the other side, and is shy. I begged him not to buy them, knowing they would wind up my responsibility. While I love animals, I have no horse experience, and I'm already busy with his last forgotten project (32 chickens). He only wants to feed the ponies treats and curry them. From watching videos online, I'm thinking he's going to make grouchy little boogers out of them. He bought saddles for them, plopped them on them (?!) without knowing their training, and wants to put my kids (3 and 5) on them. He decided they were "broken" when they didn't buck with the saddles--no amount of me telling him there had to be more to it than that made any difference. I am against this--the ponies are skittish and a little pushy in my estimation, as he continues to feed them up. (He insists they haven't gained a pound; he's blind.) I don't know much about this, but they don't respect my personal space as much as I imagine a horse should, and I have to (sorry if this offends anyone or it's the wrong idea) tap the sides of their faces with the side of my hand to keep them from crowding me and stepping on my feet. I estimate them to be 400 lbs. I'm at a loss of where to start to know how much they're trained, what to expect of them, etc. The previous owner had them less than a year, had not worked with them, and didn't know their training. If we keep them, my goal for them would be to make sure they're quiet and gentle enough to lead on a hike with a kid on their back, but I don't know how to get to that point.

Should I:

1. Throw a fit and try to get Dad to sell them? With this one, how can I be sure they'll go to a good place?

2. Ignore the situation completely? This option is kind of a "Who cares if Dad has 2 fat ponies literally in my front yard." (Keeping the kids safely away from them is an issue with this one. Plus, I'm scared Dad will put my kids on them when my back is turned.)

3. Try to learn something about horses to figure out what they know? If so, where to start? (I'm a homeschooling mom with limited time, and three kids to keep safely out from under the horses feet.)

I'm open to any suggestions! This problem is a little overwhelming, and this problem also whinnies at me every time I step out my front door.
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post #2 of 57 Old 10-10-2019, 01:31 PM
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My thoughts.

1. Who would buy them? I mean, besides someone like your dad. They don't sound like a good deal at any price. I wouldn't expect to be able to get them to a good home, although maybe you could find a rescue to take them?

2. Ignoring it could lead pretty quickly to these ponies getting sick, if, as it sounds like, your dad has no experience with them. If the older one is really fat and he's just feeding her treats, that sounds like a founder case in the making. And if that were to happen, you could be looking at a choice between expensive and difficult rehab, and putting her to sleep. And no, you do NOT want you dad putting your little kids on them, OMG.

3. Is there any way you could get a trainer or even a friend with more experience to come look at them? You'd get an experienced eye looking for any additional health issues, plus someone who could tell if they really were rideable. You don't have to spring for a whole lot of training, just see if someone can come in once and tell you what they think.

I have a book that was recommended to me that I really like for training horses (with horses like this your best bet would be to assume they are completely untrained, introduce everything to them like it was new, and patch up any holes in their training that you find). The book is "The Modern Horseman's Countdown to Broke: Real Do-It-Yourself Horse Training in 33 Comprehensive Steps" If you don't have a lot of horse experience, then some or a lot of what is in that book may be beyond your capabilities, but at the least it's a nice step-by-step introduction to training, so you can see how things should go. FWIW I'd say the first 60% of the book is just generally useful, while the rest of it is more specific to Western riders.

Once you learn about founder and laminitis, you need to share this information with your dad so that he stops feeding them treats and starts feeding them appropriately (fat ponies might do better on no grass with only hay to eat than on fresh grass every day).
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post #3 of 57 Old 10-10-2019, 01:53 PM
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If the one pony is blind in one eye and the other is bulging, she probably has eye disease in that eye too and may need that eye removed. Very expensive but it will be that or putting her down.

Your dad will kill those ponies with his misguided kindness if you let him. Founder is an excruciatingly painful disease.

Do NOT let him put your kids on them. Or even get near them.

Short horse lover
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post #4 of 57 Old 10-10-2019, 02:12 PM
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Oh goodness - I'm sorry you're caught in the middle of it - while I'm sure your father meant well and this all came from good intentions, this sounds like a recipe for disaster. I applaud you searching for help.

Here are a series of suggestions, in no particular order:

- IF your kids are ever out interacting with the ponies AT ALL, absolutely insist that they wear helmets at all times. Any horse can spook, but I'm especially weary of untrained ponies. Make your father understand that under no circumstances are they to be around the ponies without helmets. Your kids should stay on the opposite side of the fence from the ponies until a trainer is confident your kids and the ponies know enough to be safe. Without trained help, the kids shouldn't be on the same side of the fence as the ponies.

- Please look up Founder and Laminitis. Ponies are especially prone to these diseases, which are caused by overfeeding. Both are preventable, but be aware they can be life threatening if not managed; it's awfully painful for the pony to have, and an awful way to go.

- As you're aware: just cause the ponies can wear a saddle doesn't mean they're broke to ride or if they have been ridden in the past, that they're safe. Maybe strike up a deal with your father that your kids can learn to ride with the help of a local professional. Many coaches/teachers will travel to you. Heck, maybe a neighbour has a teenager that is a good rider that could come assess the ponies?

- Riders should learn to ride on trusty been-there, done-that mounts so they can learn how to balance and ride well themselves before tackling a horse with minimal or unknown training. A 5 year old horse is extremely rarely a good match for a beginner.

- As the poster above me mentioned, the pony's eyes are worrisome at best, and it sounds like there is something seriously wrong especially for the pony with the bulging eye. They both need vet care. You need a vet out to do a health exam on both to let you know what you're dealing with from a starting point.

Now, to answer your questions....

Here's what I would do in your situation:
If your father wants to keep the ponies, you (as a family) hire someone to teach you proper horse skills from basic management to riding. Your kids stay on the opposite side of the fence from the ponies until the trainer is confident your kids and the ponies know enough to be safe. Without trained help, the kids shouldn't be on the same side of the fence as the ponies.

Your kids should learn to ride on well trained horses/ponies. Not ponies with unknown/questionable training. Again, you need professional assessment. I doubt either pony is well broke, especially the younger one.

If he can't enforce that or refuses then the ponies have to go. My priority would be the kids' safety over the ponies, sorry. Unfortunately with selling there are no guarantees.You could find a lovely buyer who will take good care of them till the day they die, or the buyer could sell them on and they could end up in a bad situation, or you could unknowingly sell them into a bad situation yourself. However, the situation you describe they're in right now isn't ideal, either... The market for untrained, aged ponies is very limited, at best. But I don't think it's a good idea for you to tackle this situation alone, without knowledgeable help.

I'm sorry to put it bluntly, but you will not learn what you need to learn about working with horses from a book or video, unless you have hours upon hours to dedicate to studying things like equine body language, for starters. You don't have that kind of time, so you need to hire someone to teach you, or get out of the situation entirely. I've been riding competitively for about 30 years and would not want to be dealing with the situation you're in.
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Last edited by JustDressageIt; 10-10-2019 at 02:22 PM.
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post #5 of 57 Old 10-10-2019, 02:53 PM
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You really need to get both ponies checked over by a vet, if the one is pregnant you need to have some idea when she’s likely to give birth. The other one needs those eyes checked urgently.
Both ponies need deworming and if you’re in the US they need at least to be legal for rabies shots and Coggins test plus they should have tetanus shots

Keeping them on the restricted grazing is a good thing, welsh ponies are very prone to getting laminitis.
If you decide to keep them you need to learn as much as possible about it.

They’re also very smart, they’ve got a lot of Arabian blood in them from years back when it was introduced to refine them. That has the upside of making them very trainable but the downside of them picking up bad habits too as they will see being allowed to do wrong things as OK and become little monsters.

Never assume they’re broke and child safe without a trainer working with them to confirm that.

I think that selling them won’t be easy in their current state. If you don’t want to keep them maybe a rescue would take them in.
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Just winging it is not a plan
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post #6 of 57 Old 10-10-2019, 02:55 PM
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Those ponies are just gonna end up laminitic, in pain and dead if you don't intervene.

- They need their teeth looked after so they can chew properly and if ridden with a bit - to keep them comfortable. My horse gets done twice a year but once a year routine is normal.
- What about vaccines?
- What about worming treatment?
- What about farrier and feet care (every 4-6 weeks, this isn't the wild their feet wont self trim enough and diet plays a factor too)
- What about lamintis/founder aka "horse diabetes". Ponies very prone to it. VERY. Your dads new ponies will get it 100% based off the info you provided. It's just as dangerous in ponies as it is humans except.. no hoof no horse right?
- what about dealing with mites and thrush of the hoof/white line disease... quite common where its wet etc and even then not just only
- what about pasture and manure management?

Common issues that arise for an experienced person can be life threatening for the horse in the hands of the ignorant. Not to say they aren't robust. But if your dad wants ridden ponies and wants to "backyard" it that's fine but he needs someone experienced involved to help guide for all of the above. This isn't something you wing - I mean anyone can, but it's the ponies that suffer.

So if your dad can't be convinced to help treat existing health issues and the above... then I'd say its kinda to PTS or try find a rescue and give them up. Even getting a healthy horse can be a huge effort to get to a point you can ride etc. I'd definitely be wary about letting the kids on and around them without someone to keep their behaviour in check. They aint chickens. They can do a lot of damage.

Sorry if my post comes off strong. You are in a difficult situation.
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post #7 of 57 Old 10-10-2019, 03:12 PM
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I think you should have your dad read these posts.

Short horse lover
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post #8 of 57 Old 10-10-2019, 03:13 PM Thread Starter
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ACinATX, I will definitely ask a neighbor down the road with horses to come look at them and assess them. That seems simple now that it's in print, but I hadn't thought if it till you mentioned it.
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post #9 of 57 Old 10-10-2019, 03:17 PM Thread Starter
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"I'd say its kinda to PTS or try find a rescue and give them up."

I'm not sure what this abbreviation meant.
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post #10 of 57 Old 10-10-2019, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
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Jaydee: I know Dad has a farrier set up to check their hooves. (To my untrained eye, their hooves look rough.) I've asked Dad to get the eye issue checked out also. I'd hate her to be in pain from her buggy eye.
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