I agree that it all depends on that particular child and that particular horse. I am not trying to brag but due to the way that I grew up, at 8 I had more horse sense than most adults I know now. The only thing that makes me wonder is why do they have such a young horse if the kid is interested in running barrels now. It will be probably another 3 years at least before the horse is ready to start being patterned and that really isn't a job for a kid. Plus, I agree with M2G, that 95% of the time a young rider with a young horse is just a recipe for disaster and unfortunately there are way too many people in the world that think "Hey, if I buy a young horse for my kid then they can grow up together, learn together, and the bond will be incredible." Too bad that is not how it usually ends up working out.