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Mummy, I want a pony!

April 14, 2016

Mummy, I Want A Pony, A Dog, A Terrapin, A Lovely Little Lizard….

It might surprise you to learn that in a country of 64.5 million people, the most recent estimate of the UK’s population, there also live an estimated 58 million pets. Although, for many readers, that won’t be a surprise at all as many of their homes may be shared with one or more said pets of some description.


There are approximately 26.5 million individual households in the United Kingdom and 46% of these are home to one or more animals (yes, many of you are nodding, we know). Given that many of us parents of pony-mad kids are also part time zoo-keepers, I thought that you might be interested to see a list of the most common pets owned in the UK;


Indoor fish - the most common pet and often a “starter” in many homes (Goldfish were in our house). According to the Pet Food Manufacturers Association (the PFMA), there are a staggering 19.9 million indoor fish of some description living and swimming in 9% of UK homes.


Outdoor fish, their hardier cousins come in a close second  - there are 17.1 million of them swimming around in the gardens of 5% of homes and all the while I’m sure, attracting and tempting a large number of herons as well.


Next in terms of numbers come Dogs - 8.5 million of them live in the UK, but canines are the real winners in the popularity stakes because almost one in four UK households owns one of these four legged critters.


Next in the list come Cats. There are just under 7.5 million cats in this United Kingdom and 17% of all our nation’s households are home to a feline.


After the big pet categories numbers drop, which seems strange when talking about rabbits who are next in the list; there are approximately 1 million rabbits kept as pets (who knows the number for their undomesticated cousins…).  Those 1 million rabbits are followed by 700,000 domestic fowl, half a million indoor birds, 400,000 hamsters and 300,000 lizards.


Why do horses and ponies not appear in the list above? Because the PFMA is an association for smaller and dare I say, easier to manage pets but in a new report recently published by the World Horse Welfare Group and Eurogroup for Animals we can see that there are 796,000 horses in the UK (although other reports place the numbers as high as one million). Donkeys? 10,000 is the answer.


Horse riding is still a popular sport and pastime but it’s not quite as popular as it has been in recent years.


The most recent British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) National Equestrian Survey (2015) indicated that;

  • There has been a decline in regular riders, from 1.6 million in 2011 to 1.3 million in 2015.
  • There remains a strong gender bias, with females representing 74% of the riding population.
  • In 2015, there are an estimated 962,000 female regular riders compared with 348,000 males.

Why the decline in riders? 18% of ex-riders said that cost was the reason they gave up. Another important reason given was loss of access to a horse.


Mummy, I Want A Pony!

That oft repeated phrase, I’m sure that you’ve heard it too and perhaps the brilliant, rose tinted maths breakdown from the young pony-mad child that sometimes accompanies the request showing just how reasonable owning a lovely little pony could be….I was never good at maths.


You may have seen our new hoody – ‘Great News Dad’ proving very popular!

If you own a horse or a pony then you will already know all about the cost of ownership but if you are contemplating moving into the ownership stakes then the latest survey from BETA, the British Equestrian Trade Association states the annual average amount spent on a horse is £3,600, a cost that excludes buying the beloved animal itself.


The British Horse Society has a really useful website and a page for anyone contemplating buying a horse or pony - you can see it here. We also published a useful article in Pony Gift Guide last year on this subject.


Now this next fact might surprise you. The overall cost of owning a dog over its lifetime can be between £16,000 and £31,000 depending on the size of the dog and the amount it eats. The lifetime cost of owning a cat is estimated to be around £17,000 but most surprisingly perhaps are rabbits which according to the PDSA (People’s Dispensary Sick Animals) who supplied these lifetime ownership figures, can cost £9,000 over the course of their lifetime.


These are not insignificant sums and they are based on adding together the costs of food, worming, flea treatments, pet insurance, litter, toys, travel boxes



Interestingly, although there has been a decline in regular riders  - growth in young riders between 16 and 24 has risen from 368,000 in 2011 to 403,000 in 2015. I think that is great news! Equestrian love helps keep kids young and fit and off the sofa and in the saddle!


Many of you have asked for more ‘boy’ friendly pony gifts and products but, when I tell you that there are 962,000 female riders compared to 348,000 males you’ll understand my struggle in finding ‘boy friendly’ things to offer you.


Pony Club, a national youth charity, has over 345 branches and 600 centres in the UK. 18,000 volunteers helping 28,000 people take part in riding, carriage driving, vaulting and showjumping activities each year. It really is a national treasure!


Of course, if you really aren’t very pet minded you could always do what my parents did and start with an indoor goldfish. Word of warning though, it probably will be a slippery slope!


New Products from Luvponies


I am thoroughly delighted to announce the arrival of our new personalised bridle tags. I couldn’t find any I liked so I did what I always do and designed and had some made myself.


These are really good quality and made of stainless steel and enamel, so they won’t rust and will last the test of time. No longer will you have to search through bundles of bridles. Pop one of these on and yours will be there for all to see.


I’ve had them made in pink, purple and navy blue. You can have anything engraved on the back (up to approx. 36 characters) and they come in a smart presentation box with the matching bow and a small gift card too.


A really useful and pretty gift, to yourself or the pony loving person in your life. Even if they don’t own their own pony, if they have a favourite at the yard that they like to ride, have one engraved with the name of their beloved pony and they can pop their tag onto the bridle every time they ride. You will be very popular, that’s for sure!


Engraved Bridle Tag priced at £14.99

Available with a pink, lilac or blue bow, to match your tag.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this week’s issue on the statistics of pet owning and the cost hasn’t put you off too much. At one stage we had two dogs, two cats, two cockatiels, two rabbits, two hamsters and an abundance of fish. I think I’d better hide this week’s issue from my husband, as it will go some way in explaining why he drives a Mini and not a Porsche!!


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