Question: I can't buy my child a pony, but how can I keep them learning about and enjoying horses and ponies?
There are lots of ways to keep your child riding and learning about ponies and horses without having to buy one. If the time or the expense of buying a horse or pony is too taxing, there are other ways your child can learn to care for, ride and even compete with a horse or pony.
LessonsAlthough many children attend lessons once a week, there is no reason why they can't attend more often.
This may be enough to satisfy your child's 'horse bug'. Not only will they be learning to ride well, they’ll be spending time with a pony or horse. Often, lesson kids can help with barn chores like mucking out stalls or cleaning tack. So they get more horse time, than the actual lesson time.
Part BoardingSome stables part-board horses and ponies. You'll have access to the pony for a pre-determine number of hours per month, or at specific times. You may be expected to contribute for extras like farrier or veterinariancosts and care-like mucking out stalls. You'll want to have the specifics of your part-boarding agreement clearly written out in a contract. This is a good way to ‘try before you buy’, whether you’re trying to get to know a specific pony, or just testing the waters of pony ownership.
LeasingWith a lease the pony will be yours to use any time and the cost of feed and other maintenance is your responsibility. Just like a part-boarding agreement, you'll want to have the specifics in a contract.
Leasing can be expensive, depending on the pony. Leasing may not be the way to go if the expense of owning a horse or pony is the main reason for not owning one.
LoansOccasionally you might find a pony that another child has outgrown, but does not want to sell. If you are lucky enough to be offered a pony on loan, you'll want to have all of your responsibilities outlined in a contract. You'll need to have an appropriate place to keep the pony, either at your home or at a boarding stable. The initial cost of a horse or pony is only the beginning. So all the costs of upkeep will be the same as they would if you actually owned the animal.
CampsCamps usually run through the summer months, Christmas or March Breaks. They're a great way for children to learn and be immersed in a 'horsey' environment. You'll find day camps, residential camps, camps where horses are the only focus and camps that offer many different sports and activities. Horse magazines issued in the spring months are a good place to start researching horse camps.
Clubs like Pony Club are a great learning opportunity. Often you don't have to own a pony to be a member and involved. Team activities often provide non-horse owning kids with some hands-on experiences.
Back to Buying Your Child's First Pony FAQ Index