When/how to Buy a Pony or Horse

Updated on October 14, 2009
M.B. asks from Houston, TX
12 answers

My eight year old daughter loves horses and riding. She takes lessons once a week, and I am eager to support her interest in all things equine. I was crazy about horses as a kid and my parents promised they would buy me a horse when I turned 16, then they backed out, which led to my dropping out of riding (I was at a stage where I really needed to have a horse I could ride regularly -- renting would have been fine and was well within the family's reach). So, I am overjoyed my daughter loves horses, want to support that, but am terrified of screwing this up. A horse or pony is a big expense, even if we rent, and if the rewards come to easily and she gets bored with riding, I will be mad at her and myself. She is already saving money to buy a horse, and I want to say to her "look, when the time comes, we will buy or rent you a horse," but I am afraid of making that fateful promise and I also don't want to discourage her good habit of saving up for important things. So, the two or three questions I have is -- at what age and level of seriousness/commitment does one buy one's kid a piano, a really nice violin, rent a horse, pay for a summer of soccer camp in France -- start making major investments? And, with riding, how can I describe what she must be able to DO to earn a horse of her own, and how can I set it up so she must contribute some of her own savings, enough so SHE feels it, but not so much that I price her out of the market? Any ideas? I want to propose something to my husband, but he's an engineer so I need to have all my ducks in a row before I come to him with anything! Thanks so much -- this is a great resource! M.

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

More Answers



answers from Houston on

I would not just jump into buying a horse. We have 15 or more (depending on breeding season) at a time. It is said the cheepest thing about a horse is buying one!!! (and alot of times the easiest) At 8 you need to make sure you and your husband are ready for a horse not your daughter--she is too young to be able to take care of an animal that needs that much upkeep. They need vet apt. every 6 months (if your lucky thats all you will need) shoeing apts. every month and of course feed and any suplements the horse may need. Then do you have a safe place to keep your house-hopefully at home-but if you have to rent stalls-you have to decide if your going to feed 2 times a day or pay for them to do it. And in my experience you can not trust a stable to feed the right way.
SO you decide you want a horse---make sure you look at many horses for her riding ability-dont pick the first one you look at-and get at least two back up opinions from her teacher and one other knowelegeble person. There are many ways to make a horse act a one way and then you get them home and its a completely different horse. Also dont always go by the age of the horse I have seen old horses that never should have a novice rider on them and many young horses that I would put any child on. You just have to remember that any horse can spook and change temperment.
Lastely allways have a vet do a vet check before purchasing...there can be problems not seen until a vet looks at the animal. Especially with the tendions and feet.

I hope this helps---I have just been raised with horses for all my life and like people to know what they are getting in for!! But I still wouldnt live without them!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

When I was a child I had a love of horses. I started riding at 12 and worked at a stable when I turned 13. I fell in love with a pony there and after 1 yr. of saving every penny I made at that stable I bought my first pony. I paid for the board (full board at that time was already $200/month), shoes, tack, everything on my own. This was 25 yrs. ago in NY. I think the reason I kept the love for horses and never neglected my horse was because I paid for it all and wasn't handed anything. If you help out too much financially I think a child may lose interest. I went on to own 2 more horses over the yrs. and only now don't own one because I have 3 very small children and honestly just don't have time for it. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Waco on

Hi M.
good for your daughter- riding is a great thing to know about- but you don;t buy a horse or pony until you have a place to keep it where she can feed, wash and brush daily- keeping a horse or pony in a stable for someelse tocare for is extreme and costly, unless it is something you can afford. Riding lessons are good and she should keep them up if possible. As she gets older she may want to "own" a horse - and except the responsibilities.
A piano or violin- she is probably old enough to try the piano now if her hands can reach the scales......of if she shows interest- All children I feels should be exposed to the arts and sports. A soccer camp in France- totally out of the question unless she is in high school and want's to pursue soccer as a "career" professionally..... there are too any soccer camps in the USA that she can get just as good instructions from- when she is ready- until then- if she plays- just let her play with the local teams.....believe me- her interest will continue to change and change rapidly......she will let you know when she is entertaining other outlets-
good luck and blessings

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

A BIG BIG committment is not buying the horse, it is keeping the horse. Sounds like you would be boarding unless you have land that you could keep it on and ride on. Call around to some boarding places, it is expensive...pasture board from $250 - $450 for stall board....then you have shoeing every 6 wks., their hoofs must be trimmed, so another $50-150. Shots every 6 months(about the same cost as a dog)if you don't have a trailer you will have to pay a travel expense to the vet to come out...Usually board includes feed, but any kind of supplements the horse may need, you will need to provide. Tack, saddle, nice blanket, bridle, grooming supplies....lots of fly spray and worming....lessons with a trainer.

My daughter and I did the horse thing for 10 yrs. and we loved it and still do. So I am not against it, it was just a huge financial burden. And your daughter may loose interest, but that happens...hard to predict, I have seen a lot of girls find other interests at about 13...you just sell the horse and move on...at least you helped make her dream come true...

Another very important fact is finding the right horse....please look at a lot of horses before making a purchase...there are a lot of people who will tell you anything to get rid of a dangerous or lame horse. Including drugging then before you get there....find a friend who knows horses or trainer you TRUST to help you. Some people will even give you a horse, beware. Or the he's so pretty....looks aren't everything....

Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Great to hear! I am currently a SAHM, but have a BS in Equine Science and have managed horse farms in the past, as well as given numerous lessons. I also was saved by having a horse while growing up. It is an extremely positive responsiblity, and keeps a girl out of negative things during those crucial years.

If you are hesitant, as I would be also about cost, do your research. There are alot of horse farms that provide board in pastures, or that allow you to 'self care' which cuts the cost down significantly.
Also, you can partial lease. Alot of barns will provide this with lesson horses, or even private owners that do not have enough time to get out each week will gladly share the horse, and that way the cost is split two or three ways..this can be alot of fun between friends too.

Call around, and ask the owners/trainers for advice. There are alot of jobs a kid can do at a horse farm to help work off board & lesson fees. Stalls, cleaning tack, bathing etc.

As a child, I was blessed to have an amazing horse, but I was told that if I wanted to have a horse, I was going to have to help pay for it..so I worked, and worked, and it was the single best thing that my parents ever did for me. I had my horse for 18 years.

I hope that helped a little. If you have any additional questions, let me know. I am more than happy to help!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Lease!! How long has she been riding? Lots of barns have lease programs where you can lease a lesson horse that is "yours" to ride and groom during specified hours each week. Eight is very young to be able to groom/tack/handle a horse all on her own. YOU will be doing most of that work with/for her. My daughters took lessons for four years (and I took them for three) before we got our horse. (They were 8 and 10, I was 50) They both showed him once and then started playing soccer. Although they still occasionally go "visit" him, I am his main source of care. Fortunately I am the one that REALLY wanted the horse and I love the freedom of being able to go ride whenever I have a chance. He's a nice guy to work with and very nice manners. Unfortunately he has had some issues this past year- bad back, couldn't get in touch with the "good" chiropractor, and he has been barely rideable most of the past year. That is a LOT of money to pay for a big pet. So if you buy you have to be prepared to pay for him if something comes up. (Mine had a heat stroke during the summer of 2008 and cut himself up thrashing in his stall- long recovery and threw his back out in the process.)
Expenses run a couple of hundred dollars twice a year for routine vet bills, shots. About 50. every 6 weeks for shoeing- that is for front shoes only. $35. for just trimming, no shoes or $75. for 4 shoes. (I spend more each year on my horse's shoes than I do on mine!) Mine gets joint supplements and hoof supplements that run about $30 a month. Stall rent and blanketing/fan run about $400. a month.(Which is fairly inexpensive- and includes 2 meals a day, going out in the morning, being put up at night and stall cleaning) The heat stroke cost me a couple of thousand dollars- surprise! Saddles can usually be bought used or we got a new one- English-online for about $400. (Can't remember the name but I can check if you need to know) Bridles can be about 100 plus another 25-30 for bits. Also need saddle pads, winter blanket, brushes, hoof pick, fly spray. Check out www.statelinetack.com for an idea of tack/grooming costs. I would say for me that owning a horse has been very rewarding- however it is a HUGE investment in time and money and something the whole family should enjoy. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from College Station on

Hi M.,

I grew up with horses and my mother was a horse instructor and my father is still in the business since 1973. We own a ranch, rented stalls, gave lessons the whole 9 yards. I will tell you this. Money does not come out of this unless you have a horse of value otherwise money goes in and in. Horses are like a huge dog that you can ride the only differance is the bigger the more it is to maintain and it cost. You cant just pick up this animal and take it to the vet down the road. You need to be able to have the vehicle to do that if you want to save some money otherwise vet comes to you and house calls cost a little more. What I am getting to is if you have the money to spend great, but if you dont and your on a budget forget it. You are better off going to a stables and making a deal with the owner. My mom use to let some of her students come and ride the horses for free as long as they bathed, clean stalls, fed and water them. It gave them an oppertunity for both sides. Its not easy work for an 8 year old. I know did all that stuff. I am just saying better to borrow and see how serious she really is. She is young and she can change her mind anytime. Put it to the test, but if she keeps it up and continues then you need to think about a few things. A pony she will out grow, I did when I was 13. Finding a horse to fit your daughters personality. Always have a calm horse to a hyper child and vise verse. Age of horse and how much training it has is a factor. Saddles, Bridles, Pads, the equipment you will need. Its all about money and you need it in order to have a horse. If you want to talk to someone when the time comes my father is Mark Miller ###-###-####,he trains, shoes and is a judge. Just tell him I told you to call him. He knows alot of people and he will point you in the right direction. I have to say Horses are a blessing growing up and I learned so much and it is worth every bit of hard work. It is rewarding on so many levels. So good luck and happy trails :)
Mrs. C

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Corpus Christi on

While being a brownie leader one of the badges we worked on was pets, I also had a troop of older girls and they worked on the badge of pets and they picked horses. I went to a saddle shop and got several catalogs and we looked in the paper and got a price for a horse. Then we went through the catalog and picked out the things that we would need to have this horse. Food,meds. brushes etc. they picked out the saddles etc. Then we added them all up and showed them the total. I also reminded them that the food and meds. would be every month and that having them live someplace also costs money. This made them think about the total cost to them and their parents. I know that I also wanted a horse when younger but they do cost alot of money and do live long lives is taken care of the ways they should be.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sherman on

I would check into the farm where you take your daughter for lessons. There is often someone who has a horse that they just dont really have the time for that would be willing to "LEASE" to you. If there isn't anyone like that at your farm you may always want to check a few others in the area. With this "Lease" you DO NOT BUY a horse or pay the owner any cost. You Simple pay the board, feed, & vet cost as if you did own it. This way you can see how long your daughter is going to stay interested without having to spend alot of money to buy a horse for her that you may not get your money back out of. When going to look at horses to lease I would take someone you trust, who also knows your daughters skill level, to ride the horse and let your daughter ride it as well to see if they match. Do a 2 week
"trial" to see how it goes. There are also some websites that you can go on to find horses in your area suck as www.equinehits.com and www.dreamhorse.com I'm a breeder. If you have any questions about anything feel free to send me a message. I am always willing to help. I Know what it was like to be 8 years old and completly horse crazy~!! Good luck in your search for your daughter's perfect buddy!!!



answers from Houston on

Hi M.-

How great it is that you want to help your daughter to further one of her interests!

That said, I believe 8 is really too young for most children to understand all that is involved in owning a horse. I was lucky to grow up with a very dear friend that owned horses on their land near my house. I started riding at 5 with her and then shortly after started lessons at a stable elsewhere. I continued to ride with my friend and got to learn first hand the care required with horses-many of my days (especially in the summer and on school breaks) were spent mucking stalls twice a day, feeding horses twice a day, and general care and maintenance of the horses and tack. I went on to being very blessed that my parents leased a wonderful horse for me at a stable that I took lessons at (this was while I was in 5th grade). As a lease, the owner took care of the vet visits (whether well checks w/ shots or sick visits, which luckily didn't occur on my clock) and also the farrier visits (for his shoes).

The following year, when I was in 6th grade, I was finally able to own my own horse when my parents let me choose one to buy. I still own my 22 year old beloved horse and couldn't imagine not having him, but it is a lot of work and a LOT of expenses to incur. I suggest leasing a horse for a long time until you see how just that expense factors into your finances and that will you give you the opportunity to see how long this will be an active interest of hers. Chances are, a year down the line, if she still wants to (and does!) ride 2-3 times a week or more and is good at physically taking care of the horse, owning a horse is probably something that would benefit her. And by then, her riding ability and level will progress and she may be more interested in one aspect of riding (ex: jumping or dressage or barrel racing) and that will guide you towards what kind of horse would be best for her and what kind of training that horse should have.

Good luck with what you decide and feel free to send me any comments-I love horses and love sharing about them!



answers from Houston on

My girls and I are also horse people. :) I never got a horse, they were just too expensive. We have been offered horses and although we have the land have no money for fence, shelter, vet, feed....

A friend of mine leased two horses (one died) growing up and now owns a horse of her own. She was married before she finally purchased a horse. It is a HUGE responsibility, especially since children tend to lack the maturity level needed to fully care for a horse. Leasing seemed to work out wonderfully for their family, though.

I have a friend who owned a horse for a couple of years and recently with our bad economy she had to give her horse to a shelter. If you lease, that would never be an issue.




answers from Austin on

What I'd do is ask her, what do you plan to do w/the horse & the lessons? I wouldn't ask casually, I just sit her down & just talk w/her about it. That way you can help her know that you understand she'd like to have a horse but she can understand that you accept her wants but also that you're serious about wanting to make sure to make the right decision whether to lease or buy. Ask her is she going to make a good run of it? Does she want to do competitions which may lead to other or bigger things? Is she riding western or English? If western what are her interests? Is she doing rodeo or reining? How about mounted shooting (they use blanks) which is a VERY up & coming popular event & competition. If English, what is her plans for that? What I'd do is ask her this first then wait for her to answer. If she just says "going to ride it" when you ask her what she's going to do w/the horse, ask for more in depth answer w/the above suggested questions. That should tell you if she's just 'wanting a horse' to say she has one or if she really needs a horse to further her lessons & training. If she's planning to ride for a while then you can see about leasing a horse to start. You can ask about it at the place she takes lessons. If you can lease a horse, you all can see how it will progress w/o having to buy one just yet. W/a lease, there IS a commitment but not complete ownership. W/leasing a horse, she has an agreement w/the horses owner to allow her to ride & take care of the horse on her days of the week she gets to ride it. It will give her a sense of how to take care of the horse at the same time riding it & it'd be 'her' horse for her days of the week agreed upon. You can also see if she'd like to help out w/a farm or stable taking care of the horses, helping w/chores which would also help her see how much work is involved w/taking care of horses. Another thing to consider if you go ahead & buy, are you planning to keep the horse at your place or board the horse? If boarding, that will be another expense to consider, otherwise will you be using her horse for the lessons (aka: transporting the horse back & forth to the lessons) or will she keep using a schooling horse then just practice on her own horse at home? There are a number of things to consider. I too always wanted a horse but my older sister was the only one to be allowed the priviledge. I still pine to own my own horse, even as an adult, and HAVE been looking but just can't afford all what it takes unless I board it & take lessons too. I'm mentioning that b/c even as an adult I may have to lease a horse at first due to the expense but I've also been doing my research on anything & everything on horse ownership so if & when the time does present itself that I can own my own horse, I can be more prepared. You can also do that w/your daughter, research online for anything & everything on horse ownership & take someone w/you, like her instructor, when you look at a horse. Don't take the first one you look at unless you know it is THE horse. A lot of websites have listings like www.equine.com or www.equinehits.com or www.equinenow.com or www.horseclicks.com or www.dreamhorse.com all have catagories to choose your horse including their temperment 1-10. I wouldn't get a horse w/a temperment higher than 3 for a beginner unless she's progressed in her riding enough to handle more but do keep in mind though, temperment differs in being a beginner horse or more advanced horse also b/c a horse can have a great docile temper but be a more spirited ride so you should ask a lot of questions, & CHECK the horse out, take a fresh, unopened coke can or bottle & open it up in front of the horse, slap your leg suddenly or make a sudden move, make loud noises like a sneeze or cogh, clearing the throat, etc to see it's reaction. Ask the owner if they have a dog or take a dog to see the horse's reaction to that, a lot of times a horse can be used to a dog they know but a strange dog they don't know may have a different reaction. Ask to see the horse brought out, loaded/unloaded, tied up, bathed, ground manners, lunged on the ground, tacked up/down. Ask to first see it ridden in the ring then outside the ring. Ask if the horse has been ridden down the road or on the trail. Ask WHERE on the trail? Near home each time on the same trail or different trails at different locations? This is to find out how it is in different or new locations. Is it traffic safe, ask to ride down the road w/someone along side. How is it around ATVs or other loud machines? If the horse is out & tied up when you get there, is it calm or is it snorting or pawing the ground aggressively? Is it restless? If so, I'd just explain to the owner that the horse seems to be too high spirited for your needs (if that is the case unless your daughter can handle more advance type horse) but also, a lot of times if the horse is being fed something like 'sweet feed' and/or alfalfa hay then that's like giving sugar to a young child, it does the same thing w/horses, makes them hyper so if that may be the case, it'd probably calm down by changing it's feed or just switching to grass or coastal hay only w/some feed supplement if needed. You didn't say what level of riding your daughter is so I'm just mentioning beginner level stuff just to mention what you should look for or ask. I'd also look for an older horse, around 12 or older b/c they usually have 'been around' & are more calm riding horses, more 'seasoned' in a lot of cases. I think older is better sometimes. Even 14 to start is better a lot of the times. It's old enough to possibly be more seasoned but yet young enough to possibly have a lot of riding years left. Other things to consider is has the horse been shown before? How does it behave in the show or rodeo environment? Farrier visits for either shoeing or trimming every 6 weeks, worming every couple of months, shots, teeth floated (leveled out), sheath cleaning twice a year if it's a male horse. A lot more things to consider than what a person might think. Have her ask her trainer things about taking care of horses if she hasn't already. As far as music lessons, was that just a general question that included owning a horse? If she's interested in music lessons, ask her what she wants to do, sing or play an instrument? If an instrument, there are a great many good used instruments in the paper for sale or on Ebay. I'm a musician & can help you w/the buying process if you need, just ask me, I'd be more than happy to help give advice on instrument brand names & types, etc. I hope these suggestions help you & wish you the best of luck.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions