Where Do We Start?? - Page 2

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Where Do We Start??

This is a discussion on Where Do We Start?? within the Horse Trainers forums, part of the Training Horses category

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    11-17-2013, 05:49 PM
The younger kids are my favorite to teach. Always start them on the ground...handling and grooming, let them get comfortable first. No matter how small the pony (or big the horse!), the first time mounted up can be intimidating for some of them.
Make sure they know how to carry themselves safely around horses (where to walk, touch, avoid, etc) and I always let them ride for a full 30 minutes their first session. Get a feel for the horse, learn how to hold the reins, hold their position, heels, etc. stopping, steering and asking the pony to "walk on" are also things worth spending time on. And as for the balance exercises, definitely a good idea!
Sounds like you have an excellent plan...just remember to keep them involved, make sure they understand what you're asking and go at their pace....both for their physical ability and mental ability. You'll do great!
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    11-17-2013, 08:02 PM
When I teach younger kids at camp, we take it at their speed. Once we get them comfortable with them on the ground, we put them up into the saddle and hand lead the horse around for a bit just to let them get comfortable. If needed, we can also have a sidewalker. While on the leadline we do hands out, hands on hips, hands on head, all sorts of balancing things, etc. Then we put them on the lunge line and do the same things, still at the walk. I like to mix these thins into a Simon Says game otherwise they can get really boring. I then begin to work on basic equitation and teach them half seat. They start the half seat while honding onto the mane and counting to ten, then a whole lap around, then we do no hands half seat. Then we can start trotting (with a side walker), and then onto the lunge line, starting with a few strides and working it up. Then you can start teaching posting at the walk during the trot breaks. Then, once they're comfortable with a little trotting I like to start walking off the lunge and steering around poles and over ground rails and things like that to mix it up. One thing I have learned is that you can never do too many different things! To cool down the horses sometimes we can also fit in a walk around the property which the students seem to enjoy seeing all of the other horses playing and whatnot.
Hope that helped! Feel free to ask any other questions.
    11-22-2013, 07:27 PM
Thank you all so much!! I'll be putting all this information to use as soon as we get a date set up! Last Saturday didn't work, hopefully tomorrow will!
    12-25-2013, 07:39 PM
I think it's great that you will be teaching the grooming, handling etc along with riding-that's really important and the kids love it. I don't take on children under the age of 8 due to their short attention spans but those very young ones get a "pony" ride by being lead around. For a real lesson, they all start out riding on the lounge line, so that I have more control and so that they can hear what I am saying. They can feel that they are somewhat independent and it especially helps with the fearful ones.
Make sure they always get to ride a horse if only for a short time, many may not be satisfied with just being lead around. Another thing I do when they can somewhat control the horse, is let them have 5 min of play time at the very end. I tell them that they will have to remember everything I have taught them cause I won't telling them what to do. This helps them to start thinking for themselves and actively remembering what you have taught them, especially if the horse isn't cooperating!
Be prepared to be very patient because you will be repeating yourself about a billion times!

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