Your child has been nagging you for ages to get a pony, and you’ve cracked. It’ll be good for her to learn responsibility, to have something to take care of – of course it will, but are YOU prepared? Here are 11 things you need to know before you take possession of that perfect first pony….
1. This is the conversation you’ll have with your child before the pony arrives: “Having your own pony is a big responsibility, Daisy. You need to understand that I won’t be doing anything to help! No, you’ll be doing all the mucking out and grooming yourself.” You already know this is a lie, right? Just checking.
2. With that in mind, get used to your colleagues sniffing and saying ‘what’s that SMELL?’ because Daisy overslept so you had to nip down to the yard and do a quick muck- and turn-out before heading off to work.
3. Ponies are expensive. If you’ve already got a horse, you’ll be familiar with the concept of living off cheese on toast for weeks on end in order to pay an eye-watering vet’s bill. If you haven’t – well, you may be in for a bit of a shock. You may think you’re prepared and have factored in everything you’re going to spend, from shoes to insurance to livery, but get yourself a credit card for emergencies, just in case. Trust us on this.
4. Get used to being a taxi service. Your life – particularly during the competition and hunting seasons, which is pretty much all the seasons – will revolve round dropping off and picking up your child from the yard, travelling to and from various shows, with quite a lot of sitting round in between. Invest in a good Thermos flask and a Kindle.
5. Talking of which, if you don’t have a horsebox, Daisy will insist that you need one. How else is she going to get to shows? You will look into the price of hiring a box as and when you need one, and then realise it’s cheaper in the long run just to buy one yourself. See point two: ponies are expensive….
Things were looking up for Kate on her hunt for the perfect pony — until she had the hopeful pony
6. You’ll become acquainted with the unique breed that is the Pony Club mum. Perhaps you’ll even become one yourself. Whether it’s cheering from the sidelines, arguing over lost points with the judge, or embarrassing your child by crying for joy when they come third in the egg-and-spoon race, your life will revolve round, well, Pony Club. And you’ll secretly love it.
7. Daisy will, at some point, fall off. Probably a lot of times. And you will have to be cool about it. If you want to keep your child wrapped up in cotton wool, don’t buy them a pony.
8. Your house will be infested with horse stuff. Bridles on the coat rack, muddy boots in the kitchen, horse hair-encrusted jodhpurs and smelly riding socks all over the bathroom. If you have a cream carpet, take action and swap it for wood flooring now, while there’s still time.
9. When she turns 14, Daisy’s posters of Valegro will be replaced overnight with photos of Harry out of 1D, and she’ll go all moody and hormonal. She may seem less interested in her pony than that spotty youth with the skateboard that lives down the road. Don’t panic. We all go through this stage, and the pony always wins in the end. Just hang in there.
10. You’ve started something you can’t stop now. You thought it was just the one 11.2hh Welsh Section A you’d be buying for Daisy, didn’t you? But she grew out of Snowy, so you had to get her a bigger one, and now she’s on about becoming an eventer and needing a £20K German-produced KPWN. Whatever one of those is. Maybe you should have just stuck to getting her the complete set of My Little Ponies instead.
11. You are at high risk of catching the horse bug yourself. Have you checked out the ads at the back of H&H recently? There’s a lovely bay hunter in there that would be just perfect for you…