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Giving Horses/Ponies as Gifts

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December 24, 2018

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Amy Myers: Today we're talking about giving horses or ponies as gifts. Hello, I'm Amy Myers and welcome to Farm and Family. Today we're speaking with Dr. Clay Cavinder, Mississippi State University Extension Equine Specialist. So Clay, we all know horses and ponies are a lot of fun to own. Let's start with the basics of giving one as a gift. Where exactly do we go to find this kind of animal?

Clay Cavinder: You know Amy, it's really easy today with all the resources we have with social media and Facebook. People network so easily that it's easy to not only to find good horses or ponies but to follow up with them. A lot of people have posted videos or pictures. The most sound advice I can give anybody looking for one is to find someone either that they know or that they can trust in that deals in that avenue. So if it's a horse trainer or someone maybe that shows horses who knows horse trainers, it's a really good resource to help them find the right horse, too. That's the important part. Not just a, maybe an inexpensive horse or a horse, but the horse that's right for them.

Amy Myers: What information is needed? Does the seller need to provide ownership papers first before they sell it or what about veterinary records? Also, what questions should we ask ourselves before committing to this gift?

Clay Cavinder: That's a good question, too, about papers. It just depends on what the goal of the owner, potential owner, is. If you want to show a horse, in a certain breed association, you have to have breed registry papers for that breed association. So if it's a quarter horse, you've got to have quarter horse papers. If it's going to be a horse that's just fun and maybe they're going to trail ride with their dad or just spend some recreational time with, papers aren't that important or not important. But you should, probably just like any other animal, you're going to expect to pay maybe a little bit more for a horse that has papers.

Clay Cavinder: Veterinary records, any type of record that the potential buyer can get from the potential seller is definitely a key. If they've got a track record of lameness issues and need a special type of farrier work or shoeing or any of that kind of stuff, that needs to be known because that's going to be an added expense that the potential buyer has to deal with. We also use the term "easy keeper." That is something that horsemen know about and that's just the sheer fact that some horses, mainly ponies, they can kind of stay very well-fit and look well and have enough fat covering to make them look healthy with very little feed intake.

Clay Cavinder: Some horses are not easy keepers, so those are all types of questions. Maybe, how much input am I going to have to put into the horse? How much time is going to be spent having to deal with the horse, whether it's with an illness or just general upkeep. Those are all good questions for a potential buyer.

Amy Myers: Maybe ask them why they're selling the animal?

Clay Cavinder: You bet. Most states are buyer-beware states. You must ask the right questions as a buyer. So if I ask the right questions, is there a problem with the horse, the seller is obligated legally to give me that answer. If I don't ask, the seller is not legally obligated to provide that answer.

Amy Myers: What should we ask ourselves?

Clay Cavinder:  Why are we getting the horse is the biggest reason and if it's for a child or grandchild or something, you have to ask yourself, is that person going to be able to take care of it themselves. So a lot of times, we buy kids ponies or horses and that kid's probably not responsible enough or old enough to take care of the horse and it becomes a burden, for lack of a better term, a burden for the mom or grandpa, or maybe mom and dad weren't even involved. They just got the horse gifted to their kid and now they're having to be not only financially obligated, but also labor-intense obligated.

Amy Myers: Also, what about size? Should we remember what size pony or horse to get? Because children grow up really fast and they may not always be able to ride that horse. If you get too big for the horse to be ridden, I mean there is a size limit, and the right breed?

Clay Cavinder: For sure. A lot of times you'll see small children, even having a miniature that they're riding, you know, 36 inches, I believe. But a small kid might do well with that, but you start to get into an eight, nine, ten year old kid, a miniature is not going to be the right type of horse. They're a small, small pony. So ponies, if the kid is maybe a young girl, a pony might be perfect for her. However, a 13, 14 year old boy, a 50 inch pony may be not the right thing for him or the horse. They might need to think about a horse instead of a pony.

Clay Cavinder: Along with the disposition of the horse, breeds do have some crossover with disposition, so some horses are a little hotter or more energetic. Some horses are more laid back and easygoing.

Amy Myers: To learn more about how to take care of horses and such, we can learn about the Hands-on Horses Program, right?

Clay Cavinder: That's a new program we're doing that's going to give horse owners and horse potential owners some information about management.

Amy Myers: And that is at Go to agriculture and then livestock and equine. Today we've been speaking with Dr. Clay Cavinder, Equine Specialist. I'm Amy Myers and this has been Farm and Family. Have a great day.

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

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