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This might sound like a dumb question...but does it cost any less to maintain a pony than a horse?

When the purchase of my new house *finally* goes through, I hope to move my horse out of boarding and there with me. I am considering the most economical solution for a companion for him. I don't need another riding horse so I'm thinking maybe a small/medium pony or a mini might be less expensive to maintain. Of course you have the same vaccines, the same farrier/vet/dental care, etc. But I am assuming your feed expenses, which are my biggest expense, are much less for a smaller animal. I have a good handle on my costs for sizable horses, having previously kept two at home, but I've never owned a "little" horse so I'm not really sure if it's cheaper? If there's no difference in maintenance cost, I might as well get a larger horse I can ride...or a goat.

Anyone have minis or small/medium ponies and can weigh in from experience? Are they cheaper to maintain? If so - how much cheaper? I understand costs will vary with location, etc but just looking for thoughts.
 

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I would say in terms of feed, probably yes, less cost there. Not only because they are smaller, but if I am not mistaken, generally ponies are easy keepers and are more likely to have overweight issues than the opposite.

Also tack for ponies is less expensive. Regretfully I cannot provide the ibbity details, more experienced members will have to fill you in on that. ;)
 

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I've never had a pony personally, but I would imagine the only differnence would be the cost in food (IF they are an easy keeper.) Farrier, vet, teeth I would assume would all be the same. A hoof is a hoof, afterall. Tack might be a little cheaper? If you plan to ride, of course. Pony bridals, polos, blankets, things of that sort might run a little cheaper. I think I would just spring for a "small horse" instead of a pony, and have another option for riding, if you are too tall for a pony.

Just my opinion. :)
 

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Yes, minis, shetlands, and donkeys tend to cost a lot less feed-wise! However, I usually discourage people from buying miniatures as companions for their full sized horses because even the mellowest horse can become grumpy, aim a kick that would normally hit a shoulder or butt, and kill the mini.

What about a small/medium pony? A large Shetland (44" or so? maybe bigger?) or mix-breed stands a better chance with a big horse than a mini, but honestly doesn't cost much more to feed. They're typically air ferns. My mini was costing me only about $20 a month in grain (a ration balancer) and ate a flake and a half of hay (about 7 lbs) daily and she was actually rather fat at times. LOL. A pony shouldn't eat much more than that. Maybe two flakes of hay.

Make sure you have the means to care for a mini though. You'll need small-horse fencing (an extra strand at the bottom or electric works well) and either the ability to put a grazing muzzle on it most of the day, or a dry lot to keep both of your horses in during the day.
 

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Small ponies are cheaper, only with grain. Our little pony still eats 2 flakes of hay a day, gets her feet trimmed for the same cost, same vaccines and teeth floating costs. Except the guy did her teeth for free, most people won't get that deal. Really she could live without grain but we give her a little bit each feeding so she feels like she gets something, she's on daily wormer to.
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The biggest issue with having a pony vs a horse in with a normal sized horse is feeding. Keeping the horse fed enough while keeping the pony from over eating like crazy can be an interesting problem.

I haven't noticed a difference in pricing for horse vs pony tack, although ponies can be hard to fit for an adult sized saddle.
 

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I have a Welsh pony(12.2 hh) and a coming 2 year old Paint. The pony eats half of what my boy does, but that's a ration balancer so it's cheap. Bubba eats a little less hay than Henny does, but Henny is a growing boy and an absolute pig lol. Overall, I think my pony is just slightly cheaper to take care of than my boy. Minus Henny's extra vet bills and supplements, of course. Henny is A LOT more expensive to care for if you factor those in haha
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Another thing with the miniatures is the potential to overeat. We have very lush pastures that keep my big guys more than fed in the summer, but they were detrimental for miniatures (and probably ponies) when it came to weight and eventually hoof issues. If you went that route and do have good pasture, it could be a problem without the use of a grazing muzzle or limited turnout time.
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A pony will require less hay than a horse (if you're sticking to a percentage rule like 2% of their body weight) but a super easy keeper pony may be harder to manage with a horse. As others have pointed out you may need to muzzle the pony if they're on pasture, or put them both in a dry lot. The savings in hay may not be worth the extra hassle.

You might want to consider a full size easy keeper. For example, my horse is ~15hh, 1000 lbs and his main "grain" is 1 lb of a ration balancer daily, which costs $0.60. (And honestly, if his main role were to be a pasture puff/companion horse I bet he'd be just fine getting no hard feed at all)
 
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Like others have said you really have to limit pasture for a mini or pony either one so while my minis and riding pony (RIP) had to be kept on dry lots and fed hay year round, my full size horses only eat hay 3 or 4 months out of the year.

Another thing is the full sized can handle 1st cutting hay which is usually cheaper and the minis need the more tender second cutting.

The minis do go longer between farrier visits because they don't need it but every other visit. The 13 hand riding pony needed the same farrier schedule as the horses.

All in all I'd go with another horse for a companion. Endiku mentioned about it not being a good idea to turn minis out with larger horses because of the potential for injury and she is so right about that. Minis don't seem to realize they are undersized and have no qualms whatsoever about picking fights with horses 5X their size.
 

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Minis don't seem to realize they are undersized and have no qualms whatsoever about picking fights with horses 5X their size.
I know this all too well. :rofl: My 36 inch mini gelding I had liked to duke it out with my Friesian Draft cross 16+hh. And my TWH came from a pasture run by a little mini horse named Napoleon- named because of his N-complex. Minis do hold their own or at least learn to stay out of harms way...
 

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Get a mustang. :wink:

Mine are "air ferns" who get about 14 lbs of hay and .5 lb of soaked beet pulp (used to mix in their vitamins) per day. This is taking into consideration the fact that they are ridden 4-5 times per week. They don't need shoes, and they're generally very savvy about the herd hierarchy.
 

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Eolith, trade?! xD My 'big' girl (not even horse sized but growing) was packing away 20+ lbs of high quality grass hay (when it was cold though she'd eat as much as 26 lbs), 7 lbs of alfalfa pellets, a pound and a half of rice bran, 2.5 lbs of Nutrena grains, and ShoGlo, and she was STILL thin. ._. remind me to get a mustang when I finally decide to own again.

As for minis and second cutting hay, I actually never experienced that myself, even though I worked at a mini farm and owned one. We fed what we could get because summers are brutal and hay is scarce, and the minis stayed as fat as pigs. Some too fat. No grass, very little grain (some broodies got a pound or two of feed), just hay. They did fine. We actually sought out first cutting (less nutritious) hay for some of the minis because they became total blimps on the nice second cutting. Same with the donkeys- they actually did great on the hay that you might not always feed a big guy because it was stalkier.
 
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Others have mentioned getting a full-sized easy keeper, and I've got to say that my Haflinger has been really cheap over the past five years. He could practically live on air, and he has not required any vet visits other than regular maintenance.
 

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I will say, one farrier I know actually charges more for Shetlands (more common than Minis over here), as they are atrocious for his back (he's going in for an op on a slipped disc in a week or so). He charges a little less for shoes as he makes his own, but over all they are about £10 more expensive for a trim than a horse.

Most people don't care about that though, as he is the best farrier in the area :lol:
 

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I would say in terms of feed, probably yes, less cost there. Not only because they are smaller, but if I am not mistaken, generally ponies are easy keepers and are more likely to have overweight issues than the opposite.

Also tack for ponies is less expensive. Regretfully I cannot provide the ibbity details, more experienced members will have to fill you in on that. ;)
not always, lol. :p I have a stocky 13.2h Welara, she fits my WB size mare's tack for most things (saddle included). The only thing pony about her is her height.

& while my pony does get fat off air, she has a very special diet (due to a few things I won't go into detail about), she's the definition of healthy and sturdy pony, but she does require extra feed/different types/takes longer to make 4x per day than just tossing hay or leaving her in the pasture. My other mare does get grain in winter, but doesn't take anywhere near as much prep. Basically toss her a crap load of hay or leave her in the pasture overnight (if summer) and she's good to go.

just my own experience with owning a pon. =)
 

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Generally a pony will cost you a lot less to feed than a comparative horse - so I'm comparing a small healthy easy keeper with a large healthy easy keeper and an unridden pony will do fine on hay and just a small low starch low sugar feed to cover his vitamin and mineral needs
If its not being ridden a pony isn't going to cost you anything in riding tack but all the other care costs like farrier etc will be the same
You would need to make provisions for restricting grazing for laminitis prevention - but that's something you'd have to do for any non ridden horse because so many breeds are prone to it
Unless your horse is a bully size shouldn't be a real problem - we've had 11.2 ponies that were the alpha in the field
 

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That's interesting. ^ I assumed it was so because at my local tack shop I will occasionally find something and think, oh what a good price! ... oh, it's pony size not regular (for blankets, saddle packages, pads and such).

But then I guess it depends on how "fat" one's pony is. ;)
That's true, yes. "Pony" size tack generally is a whole lot cheaper in my experience ...sadly I've never been able to first hand experience the purchase prices:lol:

the lesson here is not to buy a "pony" for it's height ...doesn't always end up being pony size everywhere else lol.
 
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Ditto what everyone says about ponies being ornery little ******s. My pony is the smallest out of any horse at my barn at 12.2 hh and will duke it out with the biggest horses. He thinks he's 20 feet tall sometimes :lol: And he usually does end up being alpha. He's fair, though. I've seen him back up so many times to warn off the others, but have never seen him actually kick. But that of course varies horse to horse.
 
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