Teaching 5 year olds? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 13 Old 06-09-2013, 05:33 AM
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At the age of 5 - 6 I do not believe in teaching children to ride!
We have a big advantage in the UK of having a diverse selection of ponies and a small child would never be put on a horse.

All I do with small children is to walk them out and about, with me walking and leading them, rarely ever in the arena. I have them hold the reins and teach them walk on and whoa and they can use their legs on a small pony, and just let them learn the feel, find their balance and be comfortable with the pony. There is some correction but only if it is reins being held incorrectly or stirrups to far back on their foot.
I just let them get the feel, all trot - usually only a jog. is done sitting. The reason for this is because once a novice knows how to trot rise then they rarely ever do a sitting trot. A good sitting trot indicates a deeper and more balanced seat.
when the child is comfortable on the pony, balanced and capable I will pony them from a horse.
I do not have concentration problems because I do not want them concentrating or trying to force themselves into a position which causes stiffness.
As they get stronger, so then they can progress to riding on their own, they know and have learned the basics of stop and start and turning. The are confident and competent to start riding on their own in the arena on a suitable pony.

I also, when they are off the lead, like group lessons. It makes the kids try harder and towards the end of the lessons we will play games, bending, egg and spoon, relays and so on. It makes them ride without them realising it, adds fun and competition to a lesson.
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post #12 of 13 Old 06-12-2013, 03:18 PM
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At 5 years old they're very much passengers and there's nothing wrong with that. My daughter is 6 and she loves to rider BUT, she's not really riding. She can steer somewhat and she can practice her balance on the horse.

The thing to remember is make it really fun and don't expect a whole lot.
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post #13 of 13 Old 06-12-2013, 03:47 PM
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It all depends on the horse and the child. If you have a trustworthy horse and an interested child then what my son's instructor does is takes them out to catch their horse, shows them how to halter, She allows them to lead the horse back to the grooming area and shows them how to tie. She then goes through the grooming equipment and shows them what each piece is used for and shows them how to use it. She helps them groom the first couple of times. She then shows them where the tack is for that horse and explains the order to put it on helping them do so as she explains. Once the horse is tacked she helps them mount. If it is a first ride she leads them to the ring and starts them off at a walk with a more experienced rider in front. The horses follow each other and she concentrates on the riders balance and how they are holding the reins. They work on that for a few laps then she moves to a slow trot. She has them post as she feels while it is new they are more in tune with the horse and it is more natural. It builds up strength quickly. They'll go a couple of laps and then slow to a walk work on holding the reins properly again and then she moves to a few small obstacles. Lastly they do exercises while in the saddle then dismount, loosen the girth a notch, pick up the stirrups and lead the horses back to the barn to remove the tack and store it properly them rinse the horses and turn them out. If they have been there for a few lessons or they are like my child and have ridden for awhile before lessons she takes them out on the jump course and has them walk over as many obstacles as they come across. They go up and down small hills, through a pond, over a bridge, into a coffin, up and down a bank, through a log jam, over small jumps that he horse can step over. To keep it interesting they will follow the leader (the more experienced rider who is following the instructors directions) at a trot going around trees or other obstacles. I'd have never been brave enough to have my child do half of what she's done and he's ridden for years but her theory is if you expect them to do it and no one tells them they can't or suggests it is scary they just do it.
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