Opinions on what kids should ride? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 01-18-2012, 08:42 AM Thread Starter
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Opinions on what kids should ride?

My daughter is going to be 4 and she is really hot and heavy about getting her own pony. I am a little torn because half of me says that a pony would be great for her because it's the right size for her and she could likely do more of the grooming, tacking, mounting by herself - all good things. Another part of me worries that she will get used to riding a smaller animal and have a hard time moving to a horse, that she won't be able to ride the pony for very long depending on what the size was and that she might get really attached to a pony that we wouldn't be able to keep once she was ready to move to a full size horse because we can really only afford to keep 2 horses.

What are everyone's thoughts on what size horse/pony/mini a child should ride if given the choice?
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post #2 of 12 Old 01-18-2012, 08:58 AM
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My thoughts are this.

She may loose interest.
She will outgrow it.
It costs a lot.

So, why not try leasing? That way you can give the pony back at any time, its not a full responsobility for you, and if she truly is interested buy her a big pony/small horse in a few years time. She's four, after all...If you had a backgarden to keep said pony in till its last days, may help with moving on to big horse's ;)

Just something to think over. I wouldn't, but then I don't have children!
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post #3 of 12 Old 01-18-2012, 09:31 AM Thread Starter
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I guess I should add that she has been doing pony rides her whole life, so I am not so much worried that she will lose interest. She has been asking for a pony of her own for about a year. I may free lease a pony if we decided on a pony, but I am still worried about the getting attached issue.
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post #4 of 12 Old 01-18-2012, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by silverfae View Post
but I am still worried about the getting attached issue.
Pony, horse, doll, blanket, etc.

We all have attachments as kids - and as adults.

Life is about growing and changing and moving on. It's how we are taught to accept these changes that makes us who we are.
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post #5 of 12 Old 01-18-2012, 10:17 AM
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The very real problem is that nothing that suits her *now* is going to suit her in a few years if she continues to progress in her riding and/or grow.

Since you're limited to the number of animals you can keep, you have to accept this limitation going in.

Good ponies, especially a good pony that can safely be ridden by a 4 year old, are scarce as hen's teeth, if not scarcer.

I heartily second the lease option; a 1 - 2 year lease on a dead broke small pony to get her started riding independently might be the best route to go.

However, I have two other possibilities for you to consider. If you want something she can handle by herself, but she'll mostly be on a lead line or lunge line, a sweet, well handled mini might work short term.

If she's too large or wants to do more that a mini can handle (they should only be ridden *very* lightly by small children) and you are unable to find a lease pony or suitable small pony, consider a QH pony, meaning a QH that falls under the 14.2 height limit. It is much easier to find a sweet, well broke, small QH than it is to find a suitable true pony. You do have to worry about the size mismatch, she won't be able to tack up or mount without help.

Most of my lesson horse string were Quarter Horses, several were under the height limit; I found them to be the most reliable small children's mounts.

This is also a solution that will buy you a little more time, the right QH pony might suit her to the age of 10 or more.
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post #6 of 12 Old 01-18-2012, 10:32 AM
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Both of my kids have ponies (they are 4 and 2 1/2, but aren't your typical 4 and 2 1/2 yr old). They are small shetland type ponies that only stand 32 inches. This way, they get a feel for riding and can be more independent riding, without the fear of falling off a large horse (although, they do ride around on my horses. I lead, and two people walk beside). With the ponies, they are able to handle them, groom them and lead them, which I would not allow them to do with a larger pony or horse. My kids have learned a lot about horses by being able to handle their ponies more independently. I was raised this way as well. I had a small pony as a young child, then moved to a larger pony, and on to a horse.
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post #7 of 12 Old 01-18-2012, 11:24 AM
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I 100% know what you will be and are going through!
We decided a pony was the best route for our daughter, leases are slightly uncommon in my area so we always purchase. But I would look into it in your area.
We bought our daughter a 12hh pony, she's still in my horses if you want to look!
We loved Rosie dearly and mostly gave leadline rides. Our intent was that daughter would learn and then be able to ride her longer as she grew. Our daughter is only 50lbs. soaking wet at 6, so she could have ridden a smaller pony longer. She could help tack and care for Rosie, so that was a bonus, and she could almost mount her alone. Rosie was a doll and was great on the ground so I let my daughter lead her alone but I'm pretty protective and was always by their side.
Another thing to think about is we have much larger bossy horses that would have been dangerous to pasture with a smaller pony. Of course many horses/ponies can be mixed, just not with ours. Rosie went blind in one eye after a year of having her and didn't take it well. So we had to find her a new home. We rehomed her to a family who couldn't pasture their pony with the larger horses and was depressed. Worked out great thank heavens! My daughter was devastated! But we found her a 14 hh. quarter pony that she now loves and she has all but forgotten about Rosie.
As for what would be better size wise, there are pros and cons. It really just depends on the horse/pony. I had a 16.2hh giant of a QH that my kid could handle on her own at 4, he was used as her horse until he died at age 28, hence the pony. I've seen ponies that I wouldn't ride!! So it all depends on the horse. At 4 I hardly think she could handle a spook so you could be looking at years of leadline rides before you turn her loose. But it depends on your daughters abilities and strength. My daughter is 6 and still needing leadline because she lacks the strength to correctly cue a horse. At that age I could handle almost ANY horse!! Sometimes I wished we could have gotten a mini, but I don't regret it now. Cowboy, her new horse is perfect, and we can also use him as a backup horse, our friends can ride him, it's working out really well.
I don't think your daughter will have a hard time moving up to a larger horse, actually when it's time it'll be harder on YOU! She will probably be begging for a larger horse to keep up with you and friends, lessons, etc...
So just some feed for thought! If I were you I would just go shopping. You may find the perfect pony, or a smaller horse that would work. Good Luck! What a lucky little girl and what an awesome mamma you are!

You can get a lot further with a ladder than you can with crutches!!
What do you mean what do I mean?

Last edited by FlyGap; 01-18-2012 at 11:29 AM.
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post #8 of 12 Old 01-18-2012, 11:36 AM
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All kids are different. I have a daughter who was riding on her own at five, and one who barely will at 12!
You just have to find the quietest animal you can at that age, and they really should be on a lunge or lead.
The most important cue a kid's horse needs is WHOA. And when the child is solid and can stop the horse you can turn them loose. I like to have my kids WHOA and then take a step or two back. This really gets kids and horse thinking down when they WHOA and they stop good, on their butts. Good Luck!

Horses are proof that God love's us and wants us to be happy!
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post #9 of 12 Old 01-19-2012, 07:53 AM
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Leasing is a very good option. I'd be hesitant to buy a horse for a child that age - not only are they going to grow a lot in height, but also in skill, and the horse may not be so suitable.

On the other hand, in my experience it is near impossible to lease out a "good" horse. People keep them, or sell them, but leases, in my experience, tend to be pretty dodgy. For safety reasons, I'd be much more likely to buy a horse.

Although, if you contact your local pony club, there might be the sort of old pony that "does the rounds" teaching loads of beginners how to ride. You could lease it out for a while, and when ready move on. See if your daughter still wants to ride and care for her horse everyday after six months - and then you can buy another horse later on, or even lease out a pony for the next stage up.
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post #10 of 12 Old 01-19-2012, 08:45 AM
Green Broke
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Get her a pony they are the best for teaching kids to ride and having loads of fun, I still love riding ponies and I'm 45, but moving up to horses is never an issue if they get the riding bug.
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