Ponies and Children.
In a perfect world, a child often might learn to ride with a trusty pony who has just enough spunk to make the kid work but enough kindness to keep him safe. Because these types of ponies are worth their weight in gold, when the child outgrows such a pony, it makes sense he might go on to a new, good home where another child learns to love equines because of him. These kids learn to be confident because of that priceless pony. Yet, should he be too old to help another child, he is lucky enough to retire on the farm where he has served his last family so well.
Sadly, a perfect world isn’t what we have at all.
Worse, it is rarely planned for by parents.
The last thing a steadfast pony that is too aged to continue being a safe partner for children deserves is a trip to Mexico or the fear of an auction or to be sent off to the first trailer who pulls into pay a small fee for him from a craigslist ad.
Planning should be at the forefront of the minds of parents seeking a safe first equine (pony or horse) for their family. Chances are, the safest mount will be an aged pony or horse, and you may very well need to be the last home he ever knows.
If you are so blessed as to find such a gift, understand what a treasure you have, and if the time comes, retire the pony if you’re able. If you’re not, consider whether he should have to serve anyone else. . .is he even able?
Are his joints able to work anymore? Has his mouth been through enough in his 3 decades of service? Can his back really take another 12 year old who might have out- grown him the year before? Can he risk someone not taking care of his teeth twice a year or someone not caring he has developed cushings?
Be honest. Be Fair. If the answers are no or not likely, before you pass your pony on if you cannot afford to retire him, let the last rider he knew be your child and give him a dignified end with your family.
Here is to wonderful ponies that keep our kids safe. Let us keep them safe always.
(Pictured is my son one his pony, Acorn, the first year he had him and 9 years later. Acorn is 30 now, and he is lucky enough to have landed those 9 years ago in his last home and forever home).
As a parting note, consider investing in training the pony to drive earlier in his life, which will help give him more options should he ever need a new home, as well!