Switching From Riding School Ponies To Your Own Pony
I think that my experience of this transition is a really good lesson to learn, so I've written this blog post. I'm an eleven year old rider who has ridden and competed for six years.
The ponies at a riding school are already tacked up when you get there and they are all ready to ride. The things that people who ride riding school ponies don’t see is how much effort it takes to keep a pony. You have to learn to tack up, you have to learn to poo pick in and outdoors, you have to feed them, and you have the overall responsibility for a horse or pony. There are so many tasks to do with having your own horse compared to a riding pony where you show up and they are prepared for the lesson and everything has been done for you.
Keeping your own pony is difficult and can be very challenging. When I finally changed from riding school pony to my own pony, I was so happy, but my first horse, Squirrel, just wasn’t right for me. He wanted to test me all the time and just didn’t seem to want me on his back. He wasn’t as experienced as riding ponies and I wasn't an experienced owner. You have to be careful when you buy horses and ponies as people who are eager to sell will tell you what you want to hear. We were told Squirrel was an ideal first pony, but once they got to know him, everyone at my yard said he definitely wasn't a first pony. After ten months of really trying hard, getting thrown off many times and losing my confidence we sold him. I went back to riding school ponies to grow my confidence back and it worked. I belong to a brilliant Riding School who have their own Pony Club too. With my riding instructor's help I have progressed onto the horses that are less typically 'school' ponies and more like a first pony of my own. This has helped my anxiety so much and I'm nearly ready to try again with getting my own pony.
It is so important to know what you are getting yourself into by changing from a trained riding pony to what could be a pony who is not for you. Make sure you have a really good riding instructor, who will tell you when you are ready and help you find the perfect first pony.