So all my life I've wanted to be able to keep our horse(s) on our own property. It looks like that's going to be a possibility in the next 8-12 months and I'm very excited, but now that we have a one year old and plans for at least one more, I'm hesitant. I've never worried about young children around my horses and vice versa; I've been thinking that getting a mini or two might be a better alternative but I'm afraid I might miss riding (although I think learning cart driving could be great). Does anyone else that has young children keep their horses on their property? How do you find the time to handle all the chores and more importantly, what safety issues do you address? My husband likes horses but doesn't ride. I'd like for my children to grow up with animals at home, learn the responsibility of caring for them properly and how to safely handle them. Any info, opinions is appreciated.
If you set your barn/pastures up the right way and make sure you have good fences and secure gates, it really should not be an issue. My horse chores take about 20 minutes a day, plus down time while they eat before turn out. I would suggest investing in woven wire or field fence so that you have a solid barrier between exploratory toddlers and easily startled prey animals. With the kind of watchfulness that I am sure you use just being a good mom, you should be able to introduce your children safely to the horses without having to downsize. :)
Good Luck! I LOVE having my ponies right out the back door.
Second woven wire fencing! And electric, LOL!
I only have one child and I've always had my horses at home. The first thing would be to really fortify, accidents and misplacing a child CAN happen. Just ask my DH...
As for balancing chores and children... Load them up in a wagon and haul them with you! I had to. I also LOVED nap time (get a good monitor!). I always called my husband and let him know what I was doing so if he didn't hear from me after I got done he was home asap. I forgot to check back a couple times, whoops.
Keeping them in the wagon, outside of the fence, taught my daughter to stay put until I got done. Crayons, bubbles, and puppies work really well!
I also let her play on/in the round bales. Sometimes when I am particularly busy I throw her on top of a big one so she's safe, she was 4 when I started doing that!
Now she's 7 and my right hand girl. I keep a constant eye on her living out in the boonies but she knows and understands that horses are dangerous and can squish her in a second. Just start early with the warnings and start by handling the horses in front of them. Kids get to come in ONLY when you are done with a chore. The little sponges absorb your behavior and learn from your actions. Of course leadline rides, I started my girl when she was just shy of two on my old dead broke then 22 year old gelding. She also likes to braid the manes and scrub their backs on hot summer days when the horses get baths. Just struggle through it and keep a hand on them. Get them safety geared up too, they look soo cute! My girl has her own horse now and she's learning to ride and be my trail pardner. I am beyond excited! Chores completed equals riding/horse time. Perfect way to teach responsibility. What a blessing to get to raise children around animals!
Of course most of the time I wait until my husband is home to ride or really work with a horse. Safety first. I leave my kid with him and get some ME time! You'll figure that out! After dealing with a kid all day, an hour outside, alone during a sunset surrounded by my horses brings back my sanity!
I can't suggest what kind of horse to get, I lean towards OLD horses for young children. Whatever you choose just make sure it's as safe and sane as possible and remember that even the safest horse can seriously injure a child. There is no such thing as a kid's horse. They all weigh hundreds/thousands of pounds, have rock hard hooves, sharp teeth, and spook. Just be careful and ENJOY!
Thought I'd share a couple photos of my girl with our horses! Hope you don't mind!
It can be done safely. I like the idea of getting a REALLY sweet mini for them to learn on and about horses. Never had one for my girl but I wish I had.
My dearly departed gelding she learned to ride on. Ohhhh, I wish I had a thousand of him!
Her pony Rosie.
And her horse now, a Cowboy (his name) for a little Cowgirl!