Guidelines for selecting a horse or pony

It is not necessary for a child to own a horse or pony, but he or she must have access to one when required. If you are considering purchasing a horse for your child, regardless of whether you plan to join Pony Club, please read this first as safety is Pony Club’s primary concern.

As a general guideline when determining whether a new horse will be suitable for your child, the combined age of the horse and rider should equal at least 25. For example, a 10 year old rider should be paired with a pony that is at least 15 years old. This is because a young, less experienced rider should be paired with an experienced mount (horse or pony) that understands what is expected. This allows the rider to focus on developing his/her riding skills rather than trying to train the mount. Pairing an inexperienced rider with an inexperienced mount is unsafe and it quickly turns riding into a negative experience for the young rider.

Contrary to some of the myths (“growing up together”, “learning together”, etc.), it is unlikely that your 8-year old child will be riding the same horse at age 28. A pony that was suitable for a less experienced 8-year old will not have the skills, height, or youth to compete when his rider is a 28-year old eventer. Conversely, a horse suitable for a 28-year old will not be a safe choice for an 8-year old. So as your child’s riding skills progress, you should anticipate that you may need to be looking for another horse. This does not mean that you need to spend a fortune. There are many experienced horses and ponies that have been through the Pony Club program, have been outgrown by their riders, and are now looking for a new young rider to work with. Feed leases, trades, as well as the Sandia Creek Pony Club Riding Center are all great options that you should consider before you buy.