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How To Buy Your First Pony

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It’s a recognised fact that buying a child’s pony can be yet another of life’s most stressful experiences. Here are a few ‘tips’ that can lessen the problems of buying a suitable mount, because there are several important factors to be taken into account, and most hinge on whether you can afford the time and money to keep a pony fit and healthy.
What you'll need: 
Well-fitting riding
Rider's hard hat
1: 
Beware of anyone who is keen to make a quick sale – a genuinely outgrown pony’s owners will be very fussy about where it’s going, and will ask a lot of questions. Spend some time going around local Pony Club events and talk to people about ponies being moved on.
2: 
Try to buy the pony’s saddle whenever possible, because if the owner is desperate to hang on to it, it probably means they intend buying another pony the same size, and if so, why?
3: 
If you haven’t got a clue about horses, take a knowledgeable person with you to try the pony – and don’t choose a pony by appearance, or because your child sulks.
4: 
Weather conditions in this country don’t provide a healthy environment for equine feet, which are not designed to withstand hours submerged in wet mud. Although a field-shelter can provide adequate cover from normal wind and rain, a draught-proof stable should be available for times of severe weather as we experienced last winter.
5: 
Alternatively, a local livery yard can provide: full livery covers the full care of your horse, i.e. stabling, feed, grooming, grass grazing, exercise and cleaning of tack; part livery is similar to full livery but does not include exercising and cleaning of tack; DIY livery means you pay for the use of the stable and possibly grazing – but everything else you do yourself on a daily basis.
6: 
Usually you just get what you pay for and it’s advisable to have a good look at several establishments before making up your mind. The yard should be tidy with a sense of order, and able to provide a service well within your budget.
7: 
It’s important to assess what the yard has to offer and be fully conversant with exactly what the service is that you’re paying for – so beware of hidden extras as these can soon amount up. If in doubt, take a more knowledgeable friend with you to discuss prices.
8: 
Two other costs should also be taken into consideration before agreeing to buy, and those are regular visits by the farrier - and the annual insurance premium. Equine insurance companies have reported a record leap in the average veterinary claims over the past few years, which have affected the costs
Conclusion: 
Ultimately, there’s always the inevitable upset not far in the future of deciding the fate of the animal once the rider has outgrown it. Children grow very quickly and unless there are younger siblings waiting to take up the reins, the options are either selling the animal on (with all the attendant tears and tantrums) … or keeping it as a stable-companion for the bigger pony. In which case, your costs will double because a retired pony needs just as much expenditure as the new one if both are to remain fit and healthy.
Tips: 
Make sure you have adequate stabling available before you buy a pony
Warnings: 
Don’t buy from a dealer.

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