If you have kids then please give your opinion and if you dont you can tell me your experiences.
Ok I have ridden since I could walk off and on through my life. I have a very protective mom who I believe scared me more then she should have by being to protective and it hindered me being able to be confident and advance in my ridding but thats not the question. Now my daughter rides and she is 7 She has been ridding for a year and has her own very good pony ( not bomb proof )
I feel that she should be able to start cantering and if she wants to do some small jumps once she is ready ( she wants to jump and do barrels) I also feel like if she falls its ok and she will learn from it . I am always in the areana with her and am never more then a few feet away. My mother on the other hand thinks it is way to young that she is not strong enough to fully control the horse if something spooks her and that she needs to wait.
So after this long story the question is when did you or do you let a child start cantering and or jumping ( signs you looked for to know there ready )
I think my lil one was cantering at 5?
My trainer decided she was ready, I cringed in fear and pretended to be excited for her (instead of running over there and snatching her off the horse... :lol:) and she was just fine. Didn't help that the lesson pony had been forced into retirement and a new one hadn't been located yet so she was riding a 16.2hh warmblood! :shock: I knew I could trust him though as I had taken many, many lessons on him myself.
I knew it was coming (as an adult rider my trainer had me cantering within a few weeks while on the lunge line) but oh that doesn't help when you see your itty, bitty, lil one squealing "Watch me Mommy, I'm going to canter!!".
I don't have kids but some of my best memories growing up were falling off of a horse. Well not the falling off part but the moments leading up. Luckily my parents both grew up on horses and had horses they could trust so they basically let me do whatever I felt ready for. The exception being if it was something that was going to be harmful to the horse or to me.
I remember being fearless and it was an awesome feeling. I had fallen off enough times to know that it hurt but too young to care since I still bounced quite well.
If your kids are comfortable and not afraid then why hold them back. Like I said if it is something that is absolutely dangerous or harmful to the child or horses that is a different story, but learning to canter... why not?
I let her go for it and She had a blast now she just needs to control the canter. Her pony can really move lol
I'd focus more on her riding ability and her pony's responsiveness, rather than the riders age. If you feel safe letting her canter and/or jump, go for it!
I wish I had an appropriate mount to introduce my 7 year old son to riding.
A horse can spook while it's standing still. My own horse has escaped from several horse-eating monsters he spotted while just standing there. Evaluate for suitability for cantering and jumping, not theoretical worst case scenarios. If we did that no one in the world would ride! I remember jumping and cantering when I was 7 and if there's a time to fall it's definitely when you're young - kids have bones like spaghetti and they heal very well :)
my doctor says around 17 your body starts calcifying injuries instead of healing them. the time to fall off is definitely when your young.
Honestly I was sneaking out with my cousin to get bucked off her older brothers 17hh draft cross(who was 3 years old) by 7. I had also fallen off of numerous things(including a self-constructed chair/box/doll house pyramid), out of trees, climbed out my parents window onto the roof of the house and tried to "fly" unsuccessfully. I had accumulated 9 stitches, multiple trips to the ER and officially exasperated my poor mother with my daredevil ways. Thankfully my brother was more sedate, or she would have gone completely crazy.
7 is not too young to canter, as long as the child is comfortable and the horse is safe.
Nothing is ever safe with horses!
I have taught hundreds of children to ride and will let them 'have a go' if they are confident.
Heck, I cantered around bareback behind a family friend on her lunatic (because we sneaked him buckets of oats) Welsh pony. We fell frequently, bruised regularly and clambered back on.
I think it is important that you learn to curb any worries (harder said than done) make light of any falls and let her get on with it.
I never received and sympathy from my parents, I would return home with injuries and get told if I couldn't take it stop riding.
I had a pony at 5. My grandparents had a large farm and we were all over it. Never heard of learning to canter...just did it, and a lot more. Hey, when you are a cowgirl you have places to go and intend to get there in a hurry.
If your daughter is riding a well mannered horse and she is confident and smart about what she is doing in the saddle and wants more, I would let her do it.
It's not the falling that is dangerous, it is the dangerous horses who some fool has chosen to use as lesson horses. MY own horses WERE my lesson horses. I knew that they wouldn't spook OR buck OR rear OR run off with a rider in an arena.
It is problematic. Children and teenagers often come to riding lessons after they've whooped it up running a rental horse. They complain that taking it slow is boring and they want to progress too quickly.
I could trust my horses when my family trailered them out West for our own riding vacations. Yes, we had a few falls, but no rodeo on the trails.
If you own a babysitter horse, that is the best horse to use to teach children's lessons. Beyond that, I still like the lesson program I took, Hunt Seat to Jumping, bc we progressed at a rate that made us sore even when boring. To prepare to jump every week we posted without stirrups 3x around the ring/each rein. Lots of 2-point, too. Lots of riding without stirrups, and transitions between and within gaits and monitoring your space between the rider in back and the rider in front. It was almost like a drill team. We even had a "Mock Fox Hunt", where we met on a Saturday morning, 6 of us were "Hounds" (I was one), our instructor was the "Fox", and everyone else were the "Hunters". He rode off ahead of us in the Forest Preserve, and we had to hunt him down. I remember that I found him and chased at the gallop,grabbing two of the ribbons safety-pinned to his back. I gave one to my friend and we both got to pick a gift from the tack shop. I still have the gold horsehead pin, suitable for a Ratcatcher.
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