Should younger kids lunge their own horse? **An Update** - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 04-01-2013, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
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Should younger kids lunge their own horse? **An Update**

Back in September I posted a question about lunging and whether it was safe to let my 9 year old lunge her own horse. I received a lot of advice and at that time decided Kitten wasn't ready yet. I thought some folks would be interested in an update..

Last week, my (now 10 year old) daughter looked at me and said, "Mommy, I really need to learn how to do everything myself. What if you can't come to the barn with me?" So, I handed her the lunge line and whip and sat back to watch.

You can tell she's been paying attention. She had all the signals down. Acey wasn't sure at first (she kept looking toward me), but after the 3rd circle, she turned her attention to Kitten.

She still needs a little practice (juggling the lunge and whip takes a little coordination), but she's now lunging her horse by herself every time. I'm so proud and also a little sad. She's growing into quite the equestrian, becoming so independant. She now grooms, bridles and saddles her own horse (minus tightening the girth). she even uses the mounting block rather than a "leg up". Soon, I'll be regulated to the sidelines and won't be able to get my horse fix.

I warned my husband that if I can ever find room in the budget, I am tempted to buy myself a horse, just so I get some quality horse time too. ;)

Thank you again for all your insightful thoughts and opinions. I'm learning that both Kitten and Acey will let me know when they are ready for the next step.
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post #2 of 8 Old 04-02-2013, 08:48 AM
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good for you, step back and let her figure things out, maybe get her a couple basic lead line DVD's.
Also sometimes letting your children fail is just as important as helping them succeed.
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post #3 of 8 Old 04-02-2013, 08:51 AM
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I absolutely see no problem unless it were a dangerous horse, in which case you wouldn't want her to be riding it in any case! I still remember being 10, I think I was a pretty capable little human being at that age and so were the other kids I knew. So long as she has the patience and doesn't get frustrated, she'll develop the skills and coordination in no time. Good on you both!
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post #4 of 8 Old 04-02-2013, 11:26 AM
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You are a wise horse mom! : )

If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, it's because your tactics suck. ~ Marine 1SGT J. Reifinger
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post #5 of 8 Old 04-02-2013, 03:04 PM Thread Starter
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Well, we had our first lesson last night since Kitten started lunging Acey. I don't know if something just finally clicked or what...but it was awesome!

Acey is not a bad horse, but she's not easy to ride either. She will test her rider. When we compete against "finished" show horses you can always tell Acey is still a work in progress ;).

Acey has a naturally high head set and our trainer has been working on getting her head down and teaching Kitten how to get her head down. After weeks of struggling, last night it clicked. Both Acey and Kitten figured out what they had to do and they were able to walk, trot, and canter with Acey's head down and Kitten in control. It was a breakthrough for them both!

Acey looked content. She relaxed into the gaits and didn't "fuss" like she sometimes does. Kitten seemed more focused too. I really think I need to find more ground work activities for them to do together. I've heard that a positive relationship on the ground translates in the saddle. I think I've now witnessed that truth with my own eyes!
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post #6 of 8 Old 04-02-2013, 03:07 PM
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Every big time national or I'Natl rider will tell stories about the horse(s) in their careers that were older, more experienced and taught THEM. As LONG as she is working with docile, well trained horses, the experience is just as good as RIDING docile, well trained horses.

A Jack and Three Queens, the latest book by James C. Dedman,
Hope that you fall in love with "Trot", like I did!
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post #7 of 8 Old 04-02-2013, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
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Acey is no dead head lesson horse, that's for sure! LOL. She has a sweet side and you can tell she has a bond with my daughter. They trust each other.

We've both done a trail challenge on Acey...Kitten was able to get Acey over obstacles that she just wouldn't attempt with me.

The two times Kitten has come off, Acey immediately stopped and checked on her. Once when doing barrels, kitten came off and we watched while Acey hopped on three legs to avoid stepping on her fallen rider. She then stopped, turned around and walked back to nudge Kitten...luckily she was fine.

Now, that doesn't mean she's perfect or that I don't know the potential she has to hurt us. We're careful to remain dominant and don't tolerate bratty behavior. She does occasionally test our boundaries. Luckily, our trainer (and my own reading/research) have given us the tools and techniques to prevent her from becoming spoiled.

We love this mare to pieces and want her to reach her full potential. She's an amazingly intelligent girl who is very tolerant of our ignorance while we we want to do our best for her too.

So, can anyone recommend some videos or other resources for more ground work / lunge line work? I would love to keep building on this great start we have.
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post #8 of 8 Old 04-02-2013, 11:52 PM
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That is great that you let your girl do this on her own LOL my grandkids I still think of little and finally the oldest was 12 when I finally let him come on a trail ride with us.
I follow Clinton Anderson's techniques, do a search on Youtube and you can see some of his vids that may be helpful for you and your daughter to watch......he has DVDs for ground work and riding exercises....

My horses are the joy in my life.....
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