How to teach kids to ride without ruining my horse?
Next spring, we will be having guests who are expecting to get to ride our horses. We have 2 horses that are 30 and 31 years old and in the past, they have been the "company" horses. However, they're getting too old and the kids are getting too big....So, I think it's time for my trail horses to step up to the plate. I'm already worried about this because these horses are our "once in a lifetime" horses and we have spent a lot of time and money in training and getting them where we want them to be.
They are gaited, pretty well-broke but these are beginner riders. We'll be riding in an arena so there won't be any danger of runaways. These horses, being gaited, really move out with a long stride and a lot of energy. We ride them in mild short-shanked bits but both are familiar with D-ring snaffles. Both have very sensitive mouths and are responsive to the bit; they don't reliably neck rein well yet. My mare is really responsive to seat and leg aids, but my DH's gelding is not so much.
I am really feeling a dilemma here, because I have spent a lot of time with my mare to get her to be soft and responsive, and I really don't want anyone to hurt her mouth or teach her any bad habits. So, how do I go about setting this up for success? I know that the easiest thing is just to say that no one rides the gaited horses, but our guests will just think we're being selfish.
I'm needing advice as to how to make this turn out well. I realized in thinking about what I will be telling the kids, that I honestly don't know how to communicate to the kids what to do with their seat, legs and hands to that they can actually do a good job of riding. I've read lots of posts here on coaching adult riders, but didn't find any about kids!
Appreciate any advice!