I have been asked to give a 9 year old girl lessons on my pony. The girl has never been around horses at all. I am going to do mostly grooming, saftey, cleaning stalls, tack etc. You know what I mean. I am going to teach her to lead a horse properly before I let go of the leadrope while riding. I have been riding for almost 5 years and I compete in all different kinds of classes. Any tips?
So here is my question..
Should I start her in a Western or English Saddle?
Some people say Western becuase they won't fall as easy if they loose their balance. While others say English is better so they learn their position.
What do you suggest? Why?
Please get insurance.. there is too great a risk of being sued.
Just take it nice and slow. Wallaby does this with her Lacey, talk to her for tips :)
I like starting western. A lot of new riders will grab on to the horn to feel safer. It just gives them an added security even though it is a bad habit. Perhaps have the girl try both to see which she prefers. Kudos and helping someone get into horses!
I started Western then went to English.
The posting came more naturally after that.
I used to help teach little kids the basics of grooming tacking up and safety on the ground. Try and make it fun but also keep a big eye on her. I've noticed little kids want to do what happens on saddle club and go as fast as they can and they think ponies are the safest cutest things in the world, hell some kids will kick the horses gut to try to get it to go faster when your leading it.
when we got new kids at the club wed start by giving a few rules such as if we say something listen, no yelling, screaming or running near the horses. Then wed have someone experienced go into the stall with them and take a grooming kit in there and get them to use the brushes in order, show them where to brush, how to act around the horse and go from there. first few lessons we'd tack the pony first but then begin to teach them slowly over time. Another thing always keep an eye on the kid, its crazy what some little girls will do, especially for attention.
We had this little girl get on this thorougbred, she was supposed to walk him to the other side of the arena, but she decided to kick him up and he bolted with her. she was very lucky she didnt fall off that day and was very scary, got in a lot of trouble to. so dont underestimate them.
I've also seen a girl who started riding like the movie 'flicka', hands in the air, ripping at the horses mouth to get him to stop because doing sudden yanks on the mouth dramatically really aweosme to see in movies. when the horse didnt walk forward she whacked him with the reins. that day i grabbed the reins and told her to leave the arena. she never understood why she just thought i was being mean.
so just be careful and if u can get insurance or the family to sign something saying any harm to the child is considered the familys problem and i will not be held liable due to the fact we are handling animals or somethin like that would be very wise!
Investigate the laws pertaining to equine activity in your state and make sure you are as protected as possible. kids are sometimes about as predictable as yearlings.
I agree about the insurance and all that. And make sure the parents understand that you will not accept and disrespect or anything harmful to your horse. Any of this behavior means the lesson is over immediately, and the child has to get out of the saddle.
I would ask the parents what their goals are for the child and what discipline they want her to learn. Personally, I always had fun teaching children English. Bear in mind that my background is in English too though! But I think English gives them a really good foundation and seat that they can then translate into western if they want. I actually had a girl that had learned to ride western and was able to canter, but when she started English lessons with me, she looked like a sack of potatoes.
If you do teach her English, tie a polo wrap around your pony's neck as a "handle" in case she needs one. Otherwise, tell her it's okay to hang onto the pommel if she feels it's necessary.
I also started my young riders doing a lot of balance exercises while I held onto the horse or led it around--lean forward to touch the horse's ears, touch their tail, hands on their head, arms straight out, etc. Plus it made it fun for the kids to do something a little different and unexpected. Of course, only do this if you trust your mare. :)
To be completely blunt, with only five years of experience in horses you probably aren't exactly qualified to start giving lessons. It also sounds like you are fairly young -- are you an adult?
You should really carry insurance if you are planning on teaching or training.
Remember that accepting renumeration for teaching will cause you to forfeit any amateur status.
All of that being said, it is very important in teaching children to use POSITIVE commands. "Don't run!" to a kid, means run. Don't leave a horse unattended means leave a horse unattended. These things are called imbedded commands.
To be sure to unconsciously instill good practices in young ones, saying things like "Always walk around horses," "use calm, quiet voices when around horses," "always wear boots/helmet/etc" will get you positive results. Also briefly and in kid terms explain the reason for those things. "Horses have sensitive ears, and they only like quiet talking," "horses only like slow movements because they can get scared easily," etc will teach the youngun well enough.
Answer all inquiries with patience and understanding, no matter how many times you are asked, and always remember they are a kid. Remember to take yourself less seriously than you would elsewhere. 9 year olds have the attention span of a dead cow, so keep it short, positive, and interesting.
Best of luck!
Western saddle first. It helps develop balance in the English discipline and improves the seat in any discipline, except maybe racing. My instructor started me in a Western saddle, even though I am into hunter/jumpers. When I went back to English, my seat was SO much better.
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