Which horse for a tiny child?
My nephew is almost three. At some point, I thought it would be fun to put him on one of my horses. My SIL is very enthusiastic about this. My brother does not like horses at all. I would go as far as to say he’s probably afraid of them. So it needs to be a good experience.
Each horse has its own plusses and minuses in this respect.
1. Teddy. Teddy tries super duper hard and is extremely gentle and respectful. Out of all of my horses, he is the gentlest and, in my personal experience, least likely to ever hurt a human. Having said that, he is very sensitive and does have constant low-level anxiety (which he’s definitely getting over). I got him free because he freaked out (once or twice, I’m not sure) with an anxious kid on his back and couldn’t be used for lessons after that. He doesn’t do well with multiple riders. Supposedly he also reared a lot when they were training him to canter. The worse thing he’s ever done with me is light head tossing. He’s around 15 hh, so an easy size to walk next to.
2. Mooonshine. Essentially bombproof but grumpy mare. Has a very slow, plodding walk. If you get in her way and she steps on your foot, well that’s YOUR fault you stupid hooman, not HER fault. I think if she were kicking at a fly and made contact with a person (which has never happened that I know of) she’d think the same thing. In other words, while she has no intention to ever hurt a person, she also doesn't go out of her way to avoid doing so. Unlike Teddy, who hesitates to even raise a hoof if someone is nearby. She doesn’t care what you think, so rider (or other nearby human) anxiety really doesn’t affect her. I would have said she’s the obvious choice, but at almost 16hh I don’t feel like her height is quite as suitable as the others. It’s just not as easy to watch out for someone on her back.
3. Pony. Pony is full of surprises, and he could be an absolutely AWESOME children’s horse, or he could be terrible. He does shy at things sometimes, so I’m thinking a small child on him wouldn’t be the best idea. Also he tends to try to eat people. Even though, unlike Teddy, he’s super chill and nothing bothers him. He just has a deep reservoir of calmness. He’s about 14’2 hands.
4. None of the above. The lesson pony here has toted around little kids all the time, but she belongs to the barn, not me. Also she’s really girthy. I mean, it obviously causes her a *lot* of pain to get girthed up, and I always feel terrible doing it to her, even though I am super gentle. I actually stopped riding her because I couldn't stand to look at her face when I saddled her.