At what age do your kids start riding? - Page 3
   

       The Horse Forum > Life Beyond Horses > Parenting

At what age do your kids start riding?

This is a discussion on At what age do your kids start riding? within the Parenting forums, part of the Life Beyond Horses category

    Like Tree4Likes

     
    LinkBack Thread Tools
        03-23-2014, 10:06 AM
      #21
    Super Moderator
    We are so lucky in the UK in that we have a great diversity of ponies for children to learn to ride.
    I have pictures of me in a papoose sack(?) in a parade when I was a couple of months old.
    My parents couldn't afford to pay for me to have lessons so I started riding when I was about 4 with an older family friend on her pony. How either of us survived goodness knows because we would sneak this 12 hand Welsh pony a bucket full of oats to make him faster!
    Never worked, he was fast enough anyway, just made him buck. Most of the time we rode him double. I would return home with bruises on bruises!
         
    Sponsored Links
    Advertisement
     
        03-23-2014, 11:58 AM
      #22
    Yearling
    I don't think there is such a thing as a "bombproof" horse or pony. They are living, breathing beings and as such can be unpredictable. There are certainly horses that are more likely to spook than others, but if a bear came crashing through the woods, you can bet 99.9% of horses would run first and ask questions later.

    However, we can't live our lives on "what ifs" and we can't shelter our children forever. It's a personal decision that each one of us need to make. I don't think there's a set in stone answer, either.

    My son will be three in May. I can't imagine he'll be ready for riding any time soon. He shows interest in horses but is still a bit fearful of them. He would be a passenger only with absolutely no ability to direct the horse.

    When I was younger I worked with a little girl who was a wonderful little horsewoman. We competed in leadline because that was the only class available to a child of three. The next year we requested a "seven years and under" class be added and our request was granted. She rode confidently in that class and won easily. Parents/trainers were allowed in the ring for safety reasons and a few did have to step in and take the horses/ponies in hand. I did not. She kept her head and controlled her pony even when another little girl screamed and dropped the reins because her horse refused to listen.

    That class was proof that young children can safely ride. It was also proof that young children CANNOT safely ride. Some of the kids in that class had no business off the lead line. Others, like the little girl I worked with, would've been bored silly at lead line.

    My trainer recommends seven as the age to start lessons. Younger than that, and even the most "bombproof" horse knows they just have a passenger they can tote around wherever and however they like. Plus, their attention spans usually don't allow for lessons. She will take in younger riders, however, but she'll caution the parents on what to expect.
         
        03-23-2014, 06:21 PM
      #23
    Showing
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nikelodeon79    
    I don't think there is such a thing as a "bombproof" horse or pony. They are living, breathing beings and as such can be unpredictable. There are certainly horses that are more likely to spook than others, but if a bear came crashing through the woods, you can bet 99.9% of horses would run first and ask questions later.

    This is true, but I honestly think that the closest horse I've ever seen to truly bombproof was the buckskin that I grew up on. I literally never found a single thing that would make him spook...and we had firecrackers thrown under his feet in a parade, he'd been in fights with bulls, he'd had deer jump out of the brush and nearly run right into him. He would have made a really good police horse LOL.

    However, in any other household, he never would have been ridden by children because he had an inherent outlaw nature. My Dad, who is a better hand with "problem" horses than anyone I've ever seen almost gave up on that horse. Buck was an arrogant, obnoxious thing that would run over/through just about anything just to prove he could, but he was so careful with kids.
         
        03-24-2014, 07:55 AM
      #24
    Super Moderator
    Agreed that there are very few horses or ponies that are 100% safe under any circumstances. I have had a few but they are rare!

    I think the thing is with small children, and I am talking about toddlers, it is important that someone is there to grab their leg of necessar.

    I will say that when I have been in the US my heart misses a beat when I see small children on horses rather than small ponies. If they do fall then the damage is surely going to be greater?

    I had a pony that obviously had spotted blood in her, she was a cob by type only 13.1 and when it came to riding she was a bit different in that she had been driven so, when she cantered she would do one stride, stop dead with her head in her chest and bring her back end up. Obviously of she had broken into a canter when driven she had been pulled up hard then cracked on the butt to send her forward!
    She was great walk and trot only at a canter was she awkward. I started using her for Riding for the Disabled and when one lad would not stay on the pony I put three up on this mare, he was sandwiched in the middle. This worked well for a couple of rides and the the lad did I dive off sideways, dragging the other two with him. That little mare leaned against the wall of the arena holding her two inside legs up so as not to stand on the boys.
    Many great ponies with the little ones can be little beggars when the children get to being able to ride well. I have had them carry a tot around a jump course off the lead and stop if the child wobbles, yet with a bigger child they really take some riding to get around a course a few inches bigger.
         
        03-24-2014, 10:25 PM
      #25
    Showing
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Foxhunter    
    I will say that when I have been in the US my heart misses a beat when I see small children on horses rather than small ponies. If they do fall then the damage is surely going to be greater?

    LOL, it's amazing how growing up in a different culture can create such different views. I have always wondered why more people don't have their kids on full sized horses rather than ponies.

    The way I see it, if a child's horse needs a tune-up, then it's big enough for just about any adult to climb on and do the tune-up. However, if they are riding a <12 hand pony, then not just anyone can train it or tune it up...and I believe that's why I see so many ill-mannered and ill-trained ponies. Most decent horse trainers I know are good sized men who couldn't ride something so small without hurting it.

    But, I grew up in a ranching lifestyle where a kid's first horse is generally their dad's old ranch horse who has been a zillion miles and seen/done just about everything a horse can see/do. That's what I always rode growing up, the horses that my Dad owned and trained to be show/roping/ranch horses, then my older brother would inherit them, then I got them after he moved up to a different horse.

    My first "horse" was a mini burro that gave me my first taste of getting bucked off because the only person who was small enough to "train" him was my older brother...who was all of about 7 at the time.

    However, this was my first real horse and I never took a fall or got so much as a bruise in all the years I rode him.
         
        03-24-2014, 11:02 PM
      #26
    Started
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Foxhunter    
    Agreed that there are very few horses or ponies that are 100% safe under any circumstances. I have had a few but they are rare!

    I think the thing is with small children, and I am talking about toddlers, it is important that someone is there to grab their leg of necessar.

    I will say that when I have been in the US my heart misses a beat when I see small children on horses rather than small ponies. If they do fall then the damage is surely going to be greater?

    I had a pony that obviously had spotted blood in her, she was a cob by type only 13.1 and when it came to riding she was a bit different in that she had been driven so, when she cantered she would do one stride, stop dead with her head in her chest and bring her back end up. Obviously of she had broken into a canter when driven she had been pulled up hard then cracked on the butt to send her forward!
    She was great walk and trot only at a canter was she awkward. I started using her for Riding for the Disabled and when one lad would not stay on the pony I put three up on this mare, he was sandwiched in the middle. This worked well for a couple of rides and the the lad did I dive off sideways, dragging the other two with him. That little mare leaned against the wall of the arena holding her two inside legs up so as not to stand on the boys.
    Many great ponies with the little ones can be little beggars when the children get to being able to ride well. I have had them carry a tot around a jump course off the lead and stop if the child wobbles, yet with a bigger child they really take some riding to get around a course a few inches bigger.
    Actually, I can name a number of reasonably bad injuries (broken bones) that have occurred to people I know over the past year or two. ALL of them have come from people on ponies. Can't name a noteworthy one that came from a full sized horse, though I can name plenty of uneventful falls. Falling from a full sized horse can be plenty dangerous, but don't overlook the ponies and their potential for injury.

    I totally agree with smrobs about having a horse big enough for an adult to tune up. In the event that I have children and buy them a pony I would not buy something that I couldn't personally hop on if the need arose. I can ride reasonably small horses, so with my current condition it wouldn't be too limiting. For someone a bit larger I certainly wouldn't buy something so small that I couldn't find a decent trainer to put some work on it as needed.
         
        03-29-2014, 05:45 PM
      #27
    Yearling
    I've been riding for as long as I can remember. When I was born my mom went and bought me these tiny stirrups that loop over the saddle horn so a kid can ride in front of the person in the saddle and even before I could fit in them she had me up there with her :p

    I rode like that until I was like 2 and then I got to ride "by myself" which consisted of me running to the end of the driveway up to the barn and waiting for one of the borders or my mom - didn't matter who - and begging for a ride back to the barn. The drive way is like a quarter mile long lol and the boarders were all my mom's very good friends so they all let me climb up and go.

    When I was 4 I was put in "formal" lessons for a few years. Although, at 4 I was roughly the size of a 2 year old. There's a picture of four year old me "tacking up" a Shetland and my eyes were dead even with the bottom of the pony's belly lol.

    I figure a kid is old enough to ride whenever the parent decides to throw them up on a horse. Heck, my cousin (and childhood best friend) received a pony when she was 7 and her parents made her break the pony herself. She's now a phenomenal rider and she credits her parents for making her do that.

    So yeah, whenever you feel is right is right in my opinion.
         
        04-20-2014, 08:58 PM
      #28
    Foal
    I started riding at seven though my family is not made of horse people so they are not a good gauge. I would say you are fine. They are your kids and if they can sit riding is probably great for teaching them to balance etc.
         

    Thread Tools

    Similar Threads
    Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
    At what age can you start riding horse? tanya Western Pleasure 20 04-27-2014 06:43 PM
    What age do you start riding your drafts? TheAQHAGirl Draft Horses 17 11-02-2012 02:05 PM
    what age can you start riding a horse? kaylaturner Horse Training 61 01-20-2012 01:55 PM
    Good age to start riding? ItalianCutie9407 Horse Riding Critique 7 05-22-2009 07:39 PM
    At what age do you like to start riding your horse? FriesianSH Horse Training 12 06-12-2008 10:22 PM



    All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:45 AM.


    Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
    Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
    Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0