25 written tips for wannabee pony owners…

With the summer holidays looming in the northern hemisphere a number of children (mainly little girls) will be winding parents up to get them a pony. For the benefit of uninitiated parents, I wrote this advice to help you understand what you might be letting yourself in for.

written tips about owning a pony

It will not be a good guard animal – ponies are wimps.

Much as your child’s first pony might look like a fluffy German Shepherd Dog or a very large cat, be warned…

Before you buy or borrow a pony, read the following:

  1. A pony looks like a small horse, has a leg at each corner, but has priorities that are very different from those of a GSD, or other breed of dog for that matter.
  2. The front end can bite and the back end can kick, and, er, smell.
  3. You’ll never housetrain it.
  4. It will not use a litter tray.
  5. You can’t give it a bed in the kitchen by the Aga.
  6. You can’t make it sleep in a doggy crate, although it will agree to a loose box many times the size of that.
  7. If you love being surrounded by your pets, it might sleep on your bed – but you will need to seek accommodation elsewhere.
  8. It will not keep the grass short on your lawn, but will probably eat your bedding plants if it can reach them over the fence.
  9. It will not be a good guard animal – ponies are wimps.
  10. It can run (gallop) much faster than a dog.
  11. It’s as strong as an ox and can break out of almost anywhere.
  12. It will cost you several times what a dog does – in fact probably several times what your child does.
  13. 25 written rules for new pony owners

    Ponies can be very rude, as depicted by the wonderful and sadly late cartoonist Norman Thelwell

    It cannot travel in the back of a Volvo Estate, even with all the seats folded down.

  14. It will not catch mice, rats, squirrels and other vermin, but those species will find your pony’s accommodation very attractive as they just love its feed stuffs.
  15. It does not require more than very basic electricity in order to operate efficiently.
  16. It does not have to be transported to school on a twice-daily basis, although it will need some schooling of its own.
  17. It is a much safer companion for your child/teenager than school friends who have an interest in booze, cigarettes and drugs, because it doesn’t use any of those.
  18. It is probably not a safer companion for your child/teenager than school friends assuming they don’t gallop at 30 m.p.h., buck, rear, and try to drop your child head first on the ground.
  19. It does not come ready-fitted with seat belts or safety harnesses.
  20. As its top speed is unlikely to exceed 30 m.p.h. it won’t involve your teenager in defending a driver friend who has been speeding.
  21. It requires quite a lot of expense to live at your home or chosen yard, but does not moan about its need to finance travel to Reading, Glastonbury, Ibiza, Malia or other cool places.
  22. Unlike teenagers who go to music festivals in the UK, a pony doesn’t whinge about living in a muddy field for three days or more.
  23. And similarly unlike a teenager who goes to muddy, rain-sodden music festivals, it won’t come home with a load of filthy laundry.
  24. Ponies’ shoes are expensive, but not quite as expensive as the £150 trainers your child demands. However bear in mind that your child’s expensive trainers may last a bit longer than the 4-6 weeks a pony’s shoes do.
  25. Be prepared to spend a lot of money. Quote from “The Horse Lover’s Joke Book…how to do you make a small fortune out of horses? Start with a large fortune.  Sadly this wasn’t a joke; it’s true. And ponies cost almost as much.

pony humour by Suzan St MaurExcerpted from The Pony Lover’s Joke Book by yours truly.

On sale on Amazon and in good equestrian bookshops.

With many thanks for the loan of the rude pony cartoon, to The Thelwell Estate.