Riding lesson gone wrong! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 41 Old 08-24-2015, 05:20 AM Thread Starter
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Riding lesson gone wrong!


My daughter is now 3.5 years old and absolutely adores horses. So my husband and I decided to take her for riding lessons. She has a Welsh pony of about 22 years that I lead her on... with my husband walking right next to her. We found a yard and she started the lessons.
At first I thought it a bit odd that she was riding all by herself already in the first lesson. From experience I know that even the most bombproof horse has off days... The instructor stood in the middle of the ring with a whip. The horse did not even have a lead rein or something similar. At the end of the lesson the instructor told me that my daughter has great balance and seems to be a natural. Wonderful I thought... but she is only 3!

So the second lesson the instructor said it's time to trot. In my opinion my daughter's stirrups were way to short to lift herself in the saddle. Again... she is only 3!!! I started riding as an adult and found the rhythm difficult and my daughter seemed to struggle with it too.

Third lesson the instructor lifted her into the saddle outside of the ring and told her to bring the horse into the ring. I went cold for a moment but she managed to do so. Right away she had to trot. The horse was a bit lazy and the instructor whacked it with the whip... it send the horse on a full gallop with my daughter on him. When the instructor jumped in front of it to stop it, he bucked and send my daughter flying!!!

Is this really how a 3yo is taught to ride? Am I just being over sensitive? Obviously I found another yard, but her confidence took a big blow.
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post #2 of 41 Old 08-24-2015, 05:36 AM
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Honestly.. I wouldn't even be sending a 3 yo for lessons? A lead on a pony is fine but children that young don't have the coordination or mental capacity to handle a difficult and dangerous situation like the one that has occurred. I would just take her back to leading on a pony and wait until shes a bit older to be sending her for lessons. I am not a mother personally so I could be wrong but I know riding places in my area don't take kids until 6-7

Also I think the instructor was really wrong to put her in that situation straight up.

Last edited by Rainaisabelle; 08-24-2015 at 05:38 AM. Reason: more information
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post #3 of 41 Old 08-24-2015, 05:40 AM
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I can't tell you in public what I'd be doing to that so called 'instructor' if she did that to my precious daughter! No that is absolutely as stupid and irresponsible as your 'gut' is telling you! I hope that your daughter wasn't too hurt, and her confidence wasn't too hurt either. Hopefully taking things in safe baby steps will get her back to it.

Last edited by jaydee; 08-24-2015 at 12:08 PM.
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post #4 of 41 Old 08-24-2015, 05:50 AM
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Oh my... I'm so sorry for your family's bad experience.

I agree that the instructor was way too aggressive. Even if your daughter was some kind of equine prodigy, she should have been kept at a snail pace with a guide until her body and mind were able to fit the saddle.

We've had similar failed experiences. My son is 4.5-years old and I'm looking forward to the day I can start his riding lessons. Too many times in his short 4 years, though, I've been so excited about a toy or lesson that I've introduced it too soon. Snowboarding and soccer lessons at 2.5? Yup! This may be what you're experiencing right now.

Most of the stables around my area won't give a lesson unless the child is 8-years old. While I know every child is different, I feel that 8 is way too cautious, Still, it may be best to wait until around the 5th birthday for actual riding lessons... at least then her legs will wrap around the saddle a bit better. Until then, maybe just walk her around on the horse to make sure she grows to love them even more.

(And btw, my son loved snowboarding but hated soccer. The difference? I pulled him by a string on the snowboard, laughing and playing with him - but the soccer was actual lessons, which overwhelmed him. Every winter since, he asks to go snowboarding, but has never ask to be in another soccer class.)
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post #5 of 41 Old 08-24-2015, 05:51 AM
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The last instance was totally out of order and you are right to be angry about it, however i do think that 3 is MUCH to young to consider sending her for proper lessons.
As far as trotting and being off the lead rein are concerned, the instructor probably assumed that as you are sending her for lessons, she should be progressing - if you believe that your daughter should be unable to progress beyond walking on a lead rein at this point, then she is too young for proper lessons and you are wasting your money and pushing her to do something she isn't ready for - stick to walking her with assistance on your pony for now.
Teaching children at an age when they are unable to properly focus and listen is extremely difficult, although I am by no means excusing the instructor's irresponsible behaviour.
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post #6 of 41 Old 08-24-2015, 06:07 AM
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There is something seriously wrong with that instructor, you should NEVER whip a horse that someone else is riding.!!!!

Lead your daughter round and let her enjoy pony. You can encourage little things like keeping hands low, look between ears... Time enough for lessons, you will know when the time is right for her, but I would expect to be on lead or (later) lunge for 2-3 years. Always listen to your gut feeling.

I hope your daughter not too frightened by the experience, but the sooner she is back on pony the better. If that instructor gets too close wrap the whip around her !!!grrrr (sorry I can just imagine someone doing that to my granddaughter)
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post #7 of 41 Old 08-24-2015, 07:19 AM
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Instructors around here won't start a child until they are about 6 yrs old! I'd stick to lead line until then.
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post #8 of 41 Old 08-24-2015, 07:23 AM
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Glad to hear your dauther survived and is physically fine (at least this is what I gather).
Without a doubt for me your fault - first and foremost, then the insutrctor's fault - that he/she is so bad at the trade and he/she would even consider following your request. What is next - car driving lessons?

My older daughter will be 4 in November, her lessons I give to her are for now encompass feeding carrots, petting the horse and talking to it, learning how to walk around it (what are safe distances) and carrying light stuff around in the barn.

P.S. I am not a medic, but it is also clear that your daughter's bones are far from maturity - might want to consider how riding affects this as well.
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post #9 of 41 Old 08-24-2015, 08:15 AM
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I'm sorry this happened to you. I agree 3 is a bit young for lessons and that "instructor" is incompetent. Leading a horse around with her on the back would be all I'd do for a few more years.

I had a similar thing happen to me when I was 7. Was talked into taking lessons even though I was wearing a cast from a broken ankle(bike related) so I couldn't use the stirrups the instructor talked me into trotting at the second lesson. I kicked too hard(or poked it with the cast I don't remember) and the horse took off sending me into the rail and the dirt. I ended up with a decent concussion. It took me years to get my confidence back.
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post #10 of 41 Old 08-24-2015, 09:05 AM
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I have a 10, 7 and 3.5 year olds. My two oldest have been taking lessons since they were 6 yrs old. I wouldn't pay for lesson for a my kids under 6 and I don't know of many ranches here that will even give lessons younger. My 3.5 yr old does ride and shows leadline. I can't even imagine sticking her on a horse without a lead on it. The instructor should have never put her on a horse with out a lead.
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