My trainer, personally, wonít take anyone under about 4ish, as kids under that age tend to lack the balance and coordination, strength, control, and etc. to even be led around, and he would rather not sit in the saddle with them because of liability.... edit: also, on the off chance that a kid on the young side has a bad experience, it will be more likely to make them dislike horses... not because they will remember it but they wonít be able to understand /why/ the pretty pony in the pasture kicked/spooked/bit their fingers instead of the carrot that they wanted to feed them.... they will have that pain/fear, no matter how small, in their memory... some may get over it and learn to love horses while others, like my brother, will remain permanently uneasy... he can come near Duncan, but due to his size and his tendency to spook (although he really is a good, gentle boy) my brother will never be comfortable around him.
I started at a different barn around 6... had I started at this barn I probably wouldnít have continued riding. The dust and dirt, early mornings and late nights, sweat, and hard work would have turned 6-8 year old me off. It all depends. If you feel like your kids are capable, if you trust the person responsible for your kids, and if your kids show interest? Go for it.
When I was at my original barn, it was all fun things that I liked to do, as
mentioned. I wasnít pushed to do anything; if I petered out 10 minutes into the lesson, we had a 10 minute lesson. Most of my early riding memories are going on trail rides and picking raspberries/blackberries, swimming through a little river on a trustworthy steed, and etc.... my mother has a picture of me at about 7, holding the lead rope while the Shetland I normally rode stood on an elevated platform. I was apparently pretending to be running a circus
I enjoyed it, and I stuck with it.... donít expect your kids to love the sport, though. Iíve encountered a great number of parents that get upset when their kid doesnít show well or a practice doesnít turn out as they wanted... the kid obviously isnít happy and the horse can pick up on it. Not saying that you are that way or are going to be that way but make sure youíre doing this for their benefit... let them have fun!