At what age do your kids start riding? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum

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post #11 of 28 Old 12-21-2013, 10:46 PM
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I'm not a parent so I can only speak from the way I was raised. I was brought up much like your kids, only I never did leadline.

By the time I was old enough to hold my own head up, I was riding in the saddle in front of my Dad whenever he would warm up his roping or show horses. My first memory is of one of those times. As I got a little older, he would ride behind me but give me the reins so I learned how to steer. Then, when I had the steering part down, he (or my mother or older brother, whoever I was riding with) would sit static and basically be a passenger while I was controlling the horse's speed and direction.

When I was 3, I got my own mount, which was a mini burro and we learned a lot from each other. Then, when I was 4, my brother got a new horse so I inherited his old one, a 16hh, 1500 pound roping horse named Buck. He was 100%, completely bombproof. I rode him for a lot of years and never got hurt on him.

IMHO, if you take the proper precautions and don't turn the kid loose on a horse before you believe they're ready, then to heck with what anyone else might think.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/
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post #12 of 28 Old 12-21-2013, 10:55 PM
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I'm no parent (phew!), but I can reference my own childhood.

When I was two I was sitting in front of a relative while they rode.
When I was seven I began taking lessons.

Anyway, I don't see an issue with it~

The sensitivity of the internet baffles me.
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post #13 of 28 Old 12-22-2013, 12:02 AM
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I would have loved it if my parents had gotten me a horse, or started letting me ride a horse before I turned 9 lol. That being said, I'm not a parent yet, we are trying to start a family, but I definitely want to get a child safe mini to start with, and start putting my kids up on horses as soon as I feel that they have enough balance to stay on safely while being led around. I think working with horses, is great for a child's self esteem, builds character, teaches responsibility, and keeps them out of trouble (for the most part). Of course there is always the finding them parked in the corner of the horses stall just hanging out, while you are freaking out trying to find them. (Had a friend who that happened to). I honestly would pay them no mind. You know your child and your horses better than anyone else, and so you know what's safe and what's not. Besides, much better than sticking them in a stroller, or playpen and telling them to entertain themselves while you ride. I watch the Pioneer Woman on food network, and I can tell you her kids have been riding probably since they could walk. The youngest (I'm just going from how old the kids look) was helping round up and move cattle at like 7 years old. I'm not sure how young they all were when they started helping dad out. No helmets, and no leadline for them. And they are all doing just fine. I would keep doing what you are doing, and let your children have fun.
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post #14 of 28 Old 12-22-2013, 01:38 AM
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I don't see a problem with them riding at a walk as long as they can sit up. A 3 year old isn't going to be able to ride out a spook, so I don't see why a yearling would be any better off. Anything past a walk? They'd need to be a few years old in my book.
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post #15 of 28 Old 12-22-2013, 03:24 AM
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We had access to great ponies, so nearer to the ground...

Anyway. He started in a basket saddle at 6 months, moved to a cub saddle (English saddle with 'handle' at the front) at about 2, came off the lead rein at 4 and joined the pony club at 4.

Jumping by 5, hunting by 6.

Gave up at 8 you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink! This child loves books and computers more than the great outdoors.

Get up, get going, seize the day. Enjoy the sunshine, the rain, cloudy days, snowstorms, and thunder. Getting on your horse is always worth the effort.
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post #16 of 28 Old 12-22-2013, 02:37 PM
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My daughter Katie started riding with me at about 6 months and has ridden with me until about 2 months ago. Simply because she's gotten big enough that neither one of us is comfortable in the saddle anymore. Now katie rides with my wife in her saddle( a bit more room) but I have breanne coming up in soon. She's 5 months old right now. I will also lead Katie around from time to time in her own saddle. Ussually with my wife walking beside her just incase gravity want to rear its ugly head. Oh, they both wear a helmet as well.
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post #17 of 28 Old 12-22-2013, 10:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dressagebelle View Post
...I can tell you her kids have been riding probably since they could walk. The youngest (I'm just going from how old the kids look) was helping round up and move cattle at like 7 years old. I'm not sure how young they all were when they started helping dad out. No helmets, and no leadline for them. And they are all doing just fine. I would keep doing what you are doing, and let your children have fun.
That's exactly how I grew up. We worked cattle all my life. Before I was old enough to ride by myself, I would ride with a parent or my brother while we gathered our longhorn cross cows. When I started riding by myself, I started helping with the gathering and driving. I would have been somewhere around 4. Then, when I was 6, we started keeping yearlings for a feedlot in the summer.

By the time I was 8 or 9, my Dad would send me in one direction with 2 or 3 good dogs trailing a herd of 50+ behind me, my brother would take the same in another direction, and Dad would take the larger herd in a third direction. It didn't seem like any big deal to me at the time because it was just how we did things. When you had 1000+ yearlings to get driven into a dozen or more pastures scattered within about 10 miles in any direction from the corrals, the only way to get it done in a timely manner was to split up.

But, the most important thing is that I always, always had good horses to ride. They were trustworthy, well trained, and virtually bombproof (in the case of old Buck, literally bombproof).

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/
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post #18 of 28 Old 01-14-2014, 01:42 PM
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I was wondering the same thing. I would like to have my daughter sit in my saddle with me once I get up on my new Belgian mare, but with the height and my daughter's age I don't know if it's frowned upon or not. She sits up on my mare with us holding her and Fancy doesn't mind her. My daughter is 16 months, what is the age where people feel comfortable with small children on their horses with them?
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post #19 of 28 Old 01-14-2014, 02:59 PM
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Fancy, I got started before I was 5 months old. That's the age I was when this picture was taken. This was one of Dad's reining mares (pardon the poor quality picture, it was scanned from an ancient polariod LOL)




But there are other things to consider as well like how well you know the horse. You mentioned that this is a "new" mare. How new? How long have you known this horse? How long has she been trained? Do you know her well enough to know all her little quirks and all the tiny little things that might cause her to misbehave?

Personally, I wouldn't put a child (either with an adult or without) on a horse that I hadn't personally run through the gauntlet of every scary and overwhelming thing I could find. It would have to be a horse that I'd known long enough to know what made them tick and which things might scare them....and I would know whether or not they had the training to remain in control even if they were terrified.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/
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post #20 of 28 Old 01-15-2014, 09:40 AM
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smrobs, I was thinking the same thing that I shouldn't put her on anything that isn't bombproof. I really wish I could ride her more, but looks like we're just going to have to keep to once a week. :) Thank you!
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