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The Costs of Loaning a Pony

If your daughter (or son, though horse-mad boys seem to be rare outside Royal circles) is desperate to have a pony of her own, then loaning, or part-loaning, is a popular alternative to give her the feel of ownership while escaping some of the long-term commitments and initial outlay.

Typically under this arrangement you arrange to share the day to day costs of a horse and receive in return some 'rights', such as using that pony for your weekly riding lessons, riding him when he's not needed by the owner or in the riding school, etc, taking him for rides outside the school, perhaps to local shows for a chance at a coveted rosette when he scrambles his way over the last of the fences with you still hanging on

If you buy a pony for your daughter, as she grows she may need a larger pony/horse. It is easier to give up a loan and get a new one rather than having to buy/sell. Also if you loan and you find out that the pony wasn't what you expected then you can give up the loan rather than be stuck with a pony that isn't suitable. If you include a trial period then if something goes wrong you can get out of it easier.

These arrangements obviously vary according to the particular agreement you make, and it's essential to set these out beforehand. The British Horse Society strongly advocates that in all circumstances there should be a written agreement which both parties can sign. This can be drawn up by a solicitor, but is not essential and you can find a sample loan agreement here:

Agreement

Here is a rough guide I was given by a stable owner as to the costs:

· Feed and hay. This will depend on the size of pony/horse that you have. Hay costs about £3 per bale and hard feed around £5 per bag.

· Dentist - Between £25 and £40 depending on the work that needs done. Occasionally they may need sedation from a vet e.g. if a wolf tooth is removed.

· Vet - Call out fee will depend on how far the vet has to travel. We pay £31.50 plus VAT for a visit. I try to make sure that all their injections are done at the same time to minimise costs. If you are on a livery yard you can check to see if anybody else needs a vet and get a shared visit. The flu booster costs us around £20.50 plus VAT every year. The tetanus is every second year I think and costs around £12.00 plus VAT on its own. The flu and tet combined is around £25.00 plus VAT. If you are thinking of competing you need to make sure that your injections are up to date. If they have not been done in accordance with the rules then you would need to start again.

· Farrier - this will depend on where you live, what kind of shoes you have, whether you have stud holes and road nails. Some farriers charge VAT. My farrier doesn't charge VAT and a basic set of shoes costs around £45. Each road nail is £1.

· Physio - Again you may be charged travelling. It costs about £15 for an examination. If there is treatment it costs around another £10.

· Wormer - this depends on the wormer you are using but if you budget for about £9 every 7 to 10 weeks.

· Saddler - Because our horses are young the saddles are checked every 3 months. For a more mature horses every 6 months would probably do. It costs around £30 per saddle for it to be checked and the flocking adjusted.


This is the list as it was given to me, and while some of these costs - feed, farrier etc are obviously inescapable - they don't say 'eats like a horse' for nothing - eg. 3-monthly saddle checks are possibly excessive.

It's not cheap - nothing to do with horses is cheap - but it's worth considering while you decide if this is going to be a longterm interest or just as sustained as the passion for that goldfish she begged you for.


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updated 15-May-2005 7:44 PM