Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: I'm an American girl living in southwest France
Yogiwick, my daughter is 11. But before everyone freaks out and says she's too young to be good or coordinated or mature, let me say that she is not like most 11 year olds out there. I know every parent thinks their kid is amazing, so I'm not going to regale you with my opinions ... I'll just share the facts.
She's now in lessons with kids who are around 12-15 years old, all of whom have been riding for at least 4 years. She's better than most of them (more coordinated, can do the jumps without faltering, can control her club horse, seated work with and without stirrups at all gaits), probably by virtue of the fact that she's had a ton of private lessons, and having her own horse means she can ride outside of just lesson days. She's had more hours in the saddle than any kid at the barn and that includes kids who've been taking lessons for years.
She rides usually 6 days a week. Sometimes 5. Everyone who's been around horses and riding for a long time who watches her says she's a natural. Her riding looks effortless.
She volunteered at the barn all summer assisting with summer riding camps (tacking and untacking horses, translating the lessons from French to English for the non-francophones, guiding younger kids' horses around the ring during trotting exercises, feeding the horses, cleaning, administering wormer, etc.) without adults present much of the time. The BO and other trainer trust her with anything there because she's proven capable and mature enough to handle the responsibility.
She's helped the veterinarian with an exam of a lame horse (flexion tests, xrays, etc.) when the BO was busy in lessons.
She has been helping with the training of this horse we bought several months ago by using the horse in lessons and riding her in our free time. The horse has come a long way and my daughter is really good at it. She's patient, persistent, fair, and kind. She was thrown last year by a different horse, so she has a healthy respect for a horse's power, but she doesn't let that stop her from advancing. She doesn't take any crap either, so the horse respects her.
So while my daughter is only 11, I would say she acts more like a 15 year old. She's also about the size of a 15 year old, the tallest kid in her class and very muscular (due to all the riding she does!).
“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare