Riding lesson gone wrong! - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 41 Old 08-24-2015, 09:31 PM
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While I don't agree that a child that age is too young for lessons (I was riding on my own by 4 but I was on a horse with a parent pretty much from the time I was old enough to hold my own head up), I DO agree that the instructor is an idiot and you should never ever go back to them.

A child that young needs to be either on a lead line or riding with an adult behind them on the horse. They need to stay in a walk, learning the basics of turning, stopping, and getting the horse to go. Rhythm and balance at the upper gaits needs to wait until they have developed the motor skills and coordination to control the horse AND use their body independently.

How I learned, with my parents and older brother, was to sit in the saddle in front of them, watching what they did and having them talk to me, telling me how to control the horse. When they thought I was ready, they would hand me the reins and I would basically ride "by myself" while they sat static behind me in case I needed help or we ended up in trouble. When I could prove I was able to handle the horse myself at a walk and trot (the horse wouldn't lope until he felt like the rider was ready) in every conceivable situation, (working cattle, rodeo grounds, parades, rough trails, etc) only THEN was I allowed to start riding by myself.
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post #22 of 41 Old 08-24-2015, 10:11 PM
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you had an angel watching over you. you made a bad mistake starting her so young and not listening to your inner voice that doubted this instructor's approach. you got a "get out of jail free" card, so use it. do not go back, let your daughter grow up more and thank the Angel for forgiving you this one without very bad consequences.
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post #23 of 41 Old 08-24-2015, 10:24 PM
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I hope I'm not being too harsh, but at several different times you mentioned that it didn't seem proper as to the instruction she was receiving. You knew or sensed this, yet did nothing to stop it.
The instructor was certainly wrong in leading her up to the inevitable fall, but you stood by and watched it all unfold. It just confuses me a bit.
If nothing else it's a good lesson to learn that someone of a higher authority is not always correct. We as individuals have to act on our own feeling and instincts.

My best to you.
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post #24 of 41 Old 08-24-2015, 10:50 PM
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that sounds off to me. I have a reasonable amount of experience riding and training horses, but have only been a riding instructor for about 9 months now so my experience of that is obviously limited however where I work they have been doing it for years and the owner, and head instructor, are both supremely qualified and experienced.

Going by how they run it, kids down to about 3 are taken on half hour led rides on a pony. We lead the pony walking in close to where we can look after the kid. The idea being to simply get them comfortable with the horse, sit approximately correctly and have some clue about what reins are about.

When they get a fair bit bigger, maybe about 5 or 6 they start on actual lessons. In the first two stages they learn how to move around the horse safely, how to groom it, saddle it, go get the gear and put it back, even un rug and rug the horses, its actually much more about safety than riding at that stage (something parents often chuck a wobbly about when their kid only gets about 20 minutes in the hour on the horse's back). But it does set the kids up much better for the third stage where they are kind of expected to be able to be safe and get the horse ready themselves under supervision. by the fourth stage (mid to late teens) they should be pretty much on their own getting the horse ready and be riding for nearly the entire lesson.

What I guess all of that means, from my limited point of view is that the instructor you had was an idiot, when I take out three year olds on the led ride I fret over them even when I'm hanging on to them so they don't fall, much less sending one off to trot by themselves.
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post #25 of 41 Old 08-25-2015, 12:26 AM
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This is completely inappropriate for a 3 year old. She is too young for lessons anyway - lead line rides on a steady pony with a sidewalker are more age appropriate for her. Continuing with lessons like this is a great way to end up with a dead or disabled kid.

* I'm often reading and posting from mobile and Siri loves to make a mockery of the English language.
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post #26 of 41 Old 08-25-2015, 12:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Comfortably Numb View Post
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?
That's a bit unreasonable IMO. Agree the child is too young for lessons, but why is it mostly Mum's 'fault' that this terrible experience happened?? She obviously didn't realise it was a bit early for the daughter(yep, been there, just not with horse riding off lead - was a bit over cautious there('you can let go of me now Mum'... 'No, I don't think I can darling' ) but if this person was any kind of decent instructor, she would have informed OP of this, that lead line lessons were likely prudent for a while longer, let alone having the child off lead, let alone trotting, let alone hitting horse & causing the... mess.

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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,
OK, so maybe I wasn't so over cautious compared to some...

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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.
'green' bones actually heal quicker if broken, and can often just bend, not break(green stick fracture).
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post #27 of 41 Old 08-25-2015, 01:09 AM
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Originally Posted by bkylem View Post
The instructor was certainly wrong in leading her up to the inevitable fall, but you stood by and watched it all unfold. It just confuses me a bit.
If nothing else it's a good lesson to learn that someone of a higher authority is not always correct.
I think your last comment above explains it - we're (conventionally) conditioned in western society to have 'blind faith' in 'experts'. To accept & not question the 'pros'. I personally think that is a vital bit of our 'programming' to overcome OP no doubt felt horrible watching, but she thought she was the novice horseperson & this person as someone that took money off her for the job, must know better.

It's not the unanswered questions that are the most dangerous, but the unquestioned answers!
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post #28 of 41 Old 08-25-2015, 01:19 AM
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Originally Posted by loosie View Post
but if this person was any kind of decent instructor, she would have informed OP of this,
Incidentally, just thought about legalities... reckon liability often goes over the top, people generally should be made to be more responsible for themselves IMO, rather than being able to sue the pants off anyone & everyone.

In Australia at least, if you're an equine professional - that is accepting money for horse work, you are deemed the 'responsible party' who's obligation it is to inform others who are in the vicinity of safety considerations. I find this a tad unreasonable, when it extends to things that aren't to do with me, such as someone else leaving a gate open while I'm on the property & I didn't warn them that a horse could escape, someone's child doing something dangerous with a horse while I'm on the property could see me in court if the child gets hurt & I didn't expressly inform the mother...But in OP's case, the instructor was absolutely negligent & irresponsible IMO.
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post #29 of 41 Old 08-25-2015, 01:58 AM
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Originally Posted by loosie View Post
That's a bit unreasonable IMO. Agree the child is too young for lessons, but why is it mostly Mum's 'fault' that this terrible experience happened?? She obviously didn't realise it was a bit early for the daughter(yep, been there, just not with horse riding off lead - was a bit over cautious there('you can let go of me now Mum'... 'No, I don't think I can darling' ) but if this person was any kind of decent instructor, she would have informed OP of this, that lead line lessons were likely prudent for a while longer, let alone having the child off lead, let alone trotting, let alone hitting horse & causing the... mess.
Very simple - because at this brittle age WE make the choices and bear the responsiblity, not the kids, not the instructors or any other 3rd party. At least I look first in the mirror when it comes to my kids.

The "instructor" is not even worth commenting on. It is a discussion on principle. Sometimes not realising something and making the wrong call is one time too late.

Last edited by jaydee; 08-25-2015 at 11:46 AM. Reason: Edited as content not in line with Forum rules
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post #30 of 41 Old 08-25-2015, 07:23 AM
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Many times when I was running a riding school I would have younger siblings want to ride. I would never take any under the age of five but they would have 'pony rides' a sit on a quiet pony and led around.
I would have them sit straight and hold the reins but that was about it. Some liked to have a jog trot, others weren't so sure.

To have a tiny tot on a horse without being led seems to be totally off the wall and certainly not a place I would want to take a child to.

I bet that they never had stirrups small enough for little feet on that horse.

Keep it fun, carry on as you are, lead her around give short jog trots, have her hold the reins in one hand and the front of the saddle with the other when jogging.

As she wants to trot longer just think of how fit you are getting! Don't try and teach her to post but get her doing a good sitting trot (let her lean back to start) as this helps to develop a deeper seat even at a young age.
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