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When You Outgrow Your Horse

Updated on February 27, 2013

Horses for Kids

Our daughter's Shetland Pony pausing for a closeup.
Our daughter's Shetland Pony pausing for a closeup. | Source

Buying a Horse

I remember how much fun I had with our pets growing up; we had a cat and two dogs. For me these were the two types of pets I felt the most comfortable with and enjoyed the most. I wasn’t into rodents, snakes, etc. but I did relish the companionship these pets gave me.

My family has adopted some similarities to my childhood with the ownership of a cat and two dogs. We weren’t content with only these three four legged friends living with us.

After we moved to our place in the country we started looking for ways to add more animals to our one acre property. First it was chickens, then a few equines and finally some small goats.

The final equine addition to our “herd” was a Shetland pony for our small daughter. Our daughter is very petite and takes after the small women blood from my wife’s side of the family. She and Apache Dancer (Dancer for short) were a match made in heaven. Our daughter looked perfect on her and they established a strong bond with each other.

The only negative to this new relationship was that, one day, we knew our daughter would need to graduate to a bigger horse because she was going to outgrow Dancer. That time has come.

Size of a Horse

For the majority of us we never had to deal with outgrowing a pet when we were younger. Cats, dogs, or birds don’t create compatibility problems as we get bigger; even our chickens or goats would be immune to this problem.

Unfortunately animals that you ride on have a whole set of unique issues that need to be dealt with.

Shetland ponies can safely hold more weight than many people think but the height of their rider can create some complications.

We started to see some of these issues about a year ago and started to have conversations with our daughter about her needing to get a bigger horse. Naturally she immediately resisted and didn’t want to hear anything that we had to say.

Recently our daughter has started to say that she is noticing her height is making it difficult to ride Dancer the way that she wants to.

Horse and Pony Club

Our son has played baseball for many years but our daughter hasn’t had an interest in playing any sports. We have encouraged her to find some kind of activity to enjoy and she unsurprisingly she elected to do something with Dancer, her furry companion. She joined a Pony Club about an hour away from our house. They get together a couple of times a month and do a bunch of stuff that an uneducated horse person like me has no comprehension of.

My wife and I believe joining this club, where all of the other girls have horses, might of helped her realize she was getting a bit big for Dancer. Who knows if we are right or not but less than six months later we are engaging in real conversation about getting a bigger horse.

It is tough because the bond shared between animal and owner is incredibly strong between our daughter and Dancer, as displayed in the video my wife shot below. It really says something about their relationship when Dancer follows her around the yard.

Equestrian Girl

White Mule

Our daughter has taken a very mature role in this process, the first being what to do with the rescue mule we were supposed to have for only a few weeks; it has been many years now that Charlotte has called our yard home.

With already having four large animals here we don’t want to add another one so Charlotte is going to have to go somewhere; research is taking place to see if she can be sold or what our options are.

The next step is buying a horse and they are not cheap. To help raise some money for this purchase our daughter has decided that she will save some of her allowance and go through the tack room to see if there is anything extra in there that isn’t used so she can try to sell it. She also asked if she could take the money that we were going to spend for her fourteenth birthday party and apply it to the horse fund. I appreciate her willingness to sacrifice this party but I’m not sure if we will honor her request yet, I have to talk to the wife on that one.

Maturity Level

I am very proud of our daughter’s comprehension on what the steps will be for her to get a new horse. She has always been a huge animal lover and I know it will be hard for her to see Charlotte go but she understands it is necessary to bring in a new horse for her.

We also know how hard it is for her to come to the understanding that her days riding Dancer around the yard are counting down. Dancer has been a wonderful pony for her and will faithfully follow her around the yard; it is something to see a small young woman verbally commanding this four-hundred pound plus animal so effortlessly.

Parents hope that their kids grow up to be positive contributors to society when they get older and that they will do the best they can in tough spots. Our daughter has always been a sweet and caring person, even when she was very little. To see her making these difficult decisions and willing to make tough sacrifices has made us incredibly proud of her.


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    • ArtByLinda profile image

      Linda Hoxie 3 years ago from Idaho

      What a wonderful story and you are a good father. I am sure a lot of people go through this that start with ponies. I got my first horse at 13 after getting my first after school job. I eventually passed him on to my little sister when I married and moved away. Leaving him with someone that loved him as much as I did made things easier for me. Perhaps she can do the same. Or if she keeps him, she could always pony her pony along on her rides with her horse, that way he would still get attention and exercise.

    • adjkp25 profile image

      David 5 years ago from Northern California

      torrilynn - It has been incredibly tough on our daughter because of the bond the two have. I know she will enjoy having a larger horse but her and Dancer have been a great pair for so many years it is hard for her to move on. Thanks for taking the time to read about it.

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 5 years ago


      thanks for the read and this story of having the

      ability to let go of your horse. i imagine that it

      would take alot of strength because of it being an animal

      that you care so much about.thanks.

      voted up.

    • adjkp25 profile image

      David 5 years ago from Northern California

      Nettlemere - I'm not sure what our daughter has in mind for Dancer. We have two young nephews who enjoy sitting on her so maybe they can use her to ride? We shall see what comes of it, thanks for the comment.

    • Nettlemere profile image

      Nettlemere 5 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Being too big to ride a shetland pony I cared for at work propelled me to buy my first horse. However we also trained up the Shetland pony to pull a small pony cart and I had a lot of fun driving her even though I was too big to ride her. Perhaps you could look into driving your shetland.