Buying the ideal… native pony

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More advice on buying horses and ponies

1. When looking for a child’s pony a native is often a good choice. They generally require no special treatment, can live out for most, if not all, of the year and have excellent temperaments.

2. Look at breed characteristics carefully – temperament does vary between the breeds and small is not always sweet.

3. Native ponies are usually easier to manage than a “blood” pony and are a good choice for an amateur to produce. Although native showing classes have grown in popularity over recent years, a well-produced pony from a family yard still stands as much of a chance as one from a professional outfit.

4. Go for a reputable breeder with a good name for producing reliable, safe, well-conformed ponies. Look back through show results and you will see certain stud prefixes appearing time and time again.

5. Many native breeds have strength far beyond their size so do seek expert advice on whether your preferred breed is suitable for your requirements.

6. Do not be tempted to buy a young pony for a small, inexperienced child. Even native ponies can be strong-willed and will need forming by an experienced rider as they begin their ridden career.

7. Shetlands are amazingly strong and often need an adult to take part in their training and schooling. They are capable of carrying an adult’s weight.

8. Most native ponies are strong characters, so be prepared for this. Welsh section A and Welsh Section B ponies make good child’s ponies and are ideal lead rein and first ridden candidates.

9. Gather together as much information as you can about the breed, before starting to look for your ideal native. There are many excellent books available and the breed society website is likely to have lots of useful information.

10. Enlist the help of a breed expert. Many highly regarded judges are happy to help advise newcomers. A mixed mountain and moorland judge is likely to have less preference for a specific breed than a breeder will. The National Pony Society (tel: 01420 88333) should be able to help find someone suitable.

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Originally published on horseandhound.co.uk