My friend bought a pony for her 5 year old, and when she had the vet check, there was a history of laminitis. The vet told her, "There are two kinds of ponies: those that have foundered and those that will founder." She went ahead and bought the pony and never had a moment's problem with her. Of course, she was very careful and took good care of the pony.
I bought my daughter a large pony that I could ride when my daughter was 3. I mostly rode the pony until she was 5 and could ride on her own. My daughter was not all that interested in horses, but rode with me because it was something fun to do with Mom. My daughter is 13 now, just finished starting her own filly that we got when the filly was 4 months old. She is a beautiful rider and handles the young filly perfectly. She still isn't all that interested in horses, but she has a great time riding with her friends. Horses gave her a lot of confidence. Just because she doesn't have the passion I have did not mean that having a pony, and now a horse, did not help her quite a lot.
I would have the vet check the seriousness of the laminitis, but not rule the pony out. And, in my opinion, kids don't need to have the total passion for horses to still benefit from having one. By the way, we call our pony The World's Greatest Pony. He is marvelous.
Is your pony for sale?
I also had the world's greatest pony when I was a kid.
Glad to hear that your daughter doesn't have the passion but still enjoys horses. Neither of my kids have the horse obsession that I had as a kid (still have, really). My son is more into it now, but it's just one of his many interests, and he'll commonly skip going to the barn with me to hang out with friends, etc. However, when he does go to the barn, he loves being with all of the horses.
My daughter, honestly, prefers the barn cats.
She does like riding, but doesn't ask to ride every time. I think something more her size may be more fun. She can literally walk under our 2 geldings. She doesn't of course, but they are just so BIG to her. I do think our summer days, since I'm a teacher and will be home, will be filled with time at the barn and riding. It would be nice if she could participate.