Jump to content

Question for Horse People

  • Please log in to reply
19 replies to this topic

#1 kpingitquiet

Posted 20 February 2013 - 12:59 PM

I was wondering what age most long-time horseback riders started with general exposure and guided learning? If you grew up with horses at home, when did your parents start to encourage riding?

Our daughter loves horses (all animals, really) and being outdoors, enjoys the dirt and dust, laughs when she falls down and then does it a few more times for fun, and just in general would likely be a very happy country girl. Alas, we live in suburbia with a view to moving to even more urban places. I look at the connection my half-sister has with horses and think that could be something very valuable for kiddo.

I remember going for rides from around 4 or 5yo onward but it was only occasional and not something my parents encouraged, so I'm not sure if 3 or 4yo would be too young for introduction to ponies, perhaps? Should we wait to see if she asks for lessons when she's much older or just go with our instinct that it's something she might grow up enjoying? What way would/did you go about it? Advice and warnings much needed! original.gif Thanks in advance.

#2 The Falcon

Posted 20 February 2013 - 01:03 PM

My 3 year old has been on many a led pony ride and loves it. I think her first time on a horse was before she was 2.

A friend of mine bought her (very spoilt, though that is irrelevant) a pony for her 3rd birthday, and this little girl is now 4 and capable of riding and jumping on her own.

#3 LovingTheBeach

Posted 20 February 2013 - 01:15 PM

As a child, I started lessons at 5 after begging my parents for many months. Mum got right into it as well and we both did lessons together and went from there! Over the years we had various ponies/horses and my much younger brothers learnt to ride our shetland pony from about 2 or 3 years. 3 is certainly not to young, so long as the pony is suitable. Perhaps start out by ringing a local stable that offers lessons, or ask at a Saddleword shop (or your local equivalent) if they can recommend someone that offers lessons. It was my instructer that came with us to look at potential ponies/horses to purchase before Mum and I (Dad just drove the float) were confident enough on our own, first time we did it ourselves ended badly, so just be wary of purchasing a pony without having  someone experienced there with you. Hope this is helpful!

#4 *LucyE*

Posted 20 February 2013 - 01:48 PM

I'm not a horse person.  My 6 yr old DD is mad about them.

She has been on pony rides since she was just under 2 yrs old.  This year she has just started proper lessons.  Her instructor normally doesn't take children under the age of 7/8yrs depending on maturity.  Prior to that age, her instructor suggests led pony rides for fun.

We will probably never have our own horse because I don't want the responsibility of them.  Yes, I'm sure as DD gets older, she will feed, exercise and groom the horse but it ties us down when I want to travel too.  At the moment, the stables she rides at is great and the students get to know the horses and some of the girls have favourites that they choose to ride regularly.  Others like to change and swap around.  Having that option is great.  I'm also happy that DD is learning the mucky bits associated with keeping a horse without my involvement wink.gif

#5 Lickety Split

Posted 20 February 2013 - 01:58 PM

I got my first pony at 10 but was begging for one from about the age of 5. My DD is 3 and we have a mini on lease for her. I lead her around on said pony 2-3 times a week (less now as I'm 40+4 pregnant) and she enjoys brushing the pony and learning how to saddle her etc. We are going to join the local pony club too, which will be one morning a month until DD gets bigger and more confident, then she'll do a full day.

#6 Feral Grey Mare

Posted 20 February 2013 - 02:07 PM

Warning, warning, warning...... Actively discourage your child from any involvement with horses !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just kidding. Our daughter was obsessed with them from about 3 onwards. Neither DH nor I have any sort of horse background. We started with occasional lessons at a local riding school when she was about 6. The kids didn;t just ride, they had to catch, saddle, groom, wash and feed the ponies too. From about 9 we leased a pony which she had to care for completely and (vainly hoping she would lose interest) gave in and bought a pony when she was 11. She is now on her third horse (16.2 hh thoroughbred ex racehorse). It can be an expensive pastime but has taught her so much. At 18 she now works full time at the local racetrack and still rides at Pony club once a month.

#7 happening

Posted 20 February 2013 - 02:08 PM

I grew up in the country.  My parents purchased my first horse on my first birthday, and I do not remember not riding.

Having said that, please be very careful.  Although it's lots of fun and promotes confidence and  responsibility. horseriding is an inherently dangerous activity.

#8 Wanalta

Posted 20 February 2013 - 02:09 PM

DD began lessons at 4.5 yrs however she had grown up around my horse, watching me groom, feed, clean up paddocks etc so she understood that horses are not just for 'riding' but come with a great deal of responsibility.

Its only now, at 7.5yrs that I am taking a pony on trial to see if the pont suits her and if she suits the pony. DD has shown enormous interest in learning about horse care mananagement, she is learning natural horsemanship and seeks to understand the mind of the horse and sees the horse as entire being to create a relationship with, not just a riding machine. That tells me she is ready to own her own horse.

It helps that we live in the country though original.gif seriously doubt if either of us would own a horse if we lived in a major city as the costs would be far greater.

#9 Tikiboo16

Posted 20 February 2013 - 02:15 PM

I got my first horse when I was a teenager... I begged my Mum since I was about 8 to let me have one and finally she caved. It was great, I had fun, and learnt a lot about responsibility, but I wouldn't buy one for myself now as they just take up sooo much time.

DD is 2.5 and she seems to have a bit of an interest already... she loves patting the horses down the road, and is always riding her rocking horse. I plan to start giving her a few pony rides when she is 3, but I won't let her on a pony at all until then. I don't think I'll let her ride on her own until 5 at least, and if she's interested in having her own horse when she's 7-8, we might look at it then. I had several nasty injuries from unpredictable horses and I want to make sure DD is able to understand this before she goes riding off into the sunset IYKWIM. A fall from a horse is much more painful (and scary) than a toddler crash in the dirt.

Having said that.. I think it's a wonderful thing for a kid to get into, and I would be chuffed if DD enjoyed it as much as I do.

ETA: I lived in a smaller city when I had a horse. It was suburbia but not a major city. I now would only consider another horse if we had plenty of space to ride around.. streets don't really cut it. It's still possible to find this in suburbia, but the country would be far more ideal.

Edited by Tikiboo16, 20 February 2013 - 02:19 PM.

#10 Flaxen

Posted 20 February 2013 - 02:21 PM

I loved horses from an early age, as did my mother who never owned one herself.
I had few pony rides as a very young child, mostly just got my interest from the horse paddocked next door.
I started lessons at 6yo, and got a pony on lease at 11yo, and mum bought me one at 13yo, and i kept him 15 years until he was sadly put to sleep last year.

I will be getting my DD a pony in a year or 2, she is 2yo now, and it will be when we move to our new house which is getting built on acres at the moment. Yes, its young fo get her a pony, but if i did not have extensive horse knowledge already i wouldnt be contemplating it. Theres a lot to learn!
Lessons once a week is definatley satisfactory until the age of 10 or 12yo, which is when most girls with non horsey familys finally take the plunge.
If you can ride several times a week aside from your regular lesson, getting your own horse is worthwhile, but for your situation OP i would stick to lessons at a riding school for a few years until you know how interested your DD actually is.
Over my years of horse ownership, holidays have never been a problem, ive always found someone to happily look after my horses for me.

ETA: Most Riding schools would not take children under 5/6, so maybe that will decide it for you. When choosing a riding school, dont go for the cheapest one, or the most exxy, look for one that has friendly and helpful staff, the grounds look to be well maintained, well kept horses which are brushed and look healthy, and one that uses quality tack (saddles bridles) They Do Exist!
There are lots of schools that give the rest a bad name and these have obnoxious staff, poorly kept horses which show an obvious lack of care, and remember- badly maintained tack is dangeous, its not just cosmetic!  So just keep looking if this is what you are finding!
If you are in Victoria i may be able to recommend a few if you like.

Edited by Flaxen, 20 February 2013 - 02:40 PM.

#11 FeralCrazyMum

Posted 20 February 2013 - 02:25 PM

A friend of ours runs a horse riding school and Josh went on his first horse ride just before he was 2yo (with me sitting on the horse with him). By the time he was four he could ride a horse around the paddock without a lead rein (obviously a very placid horse).

#12 kpingitquiet

Posted 20 February 2013 - 04:08 PM

Thanks for sharing! Kiddo is just over 2yo so I think we'll try to look at finding a place where she can ride a led pony and see the stables between now and her next birthday. I know it's an incredibly dangerous, and very rewarding hobby/sport/lifestyle so I'm a little bit more careful with my research than I would be for, say, music lessons biggrin.gif

We're lucky in one way that she has a lot of respect and awareness of big, kind-but-unpredictable animals as we have two dogs who could nearly qualify as small ponies, and she has always listened carefully and obeyed their limits. She also loves walking out to see/pat the horses that live adjacent to FIL's land. I guess we'll see how she goes with an initial few pony rides!

If anyone has any recommendations for schools or centers near Adelaide, I'd love to have them. Thanks again!

#13 Cantankerous

Posted 20 February 2013 - 04:17 PM

My dd is almost 5 she has her own pony which she feeds brushes and rides under supervision. Her pony is kept at the same paddock my horse is at. She knows its not just riding but general stuff too she does pony club shows and general riding. If your not horsey then start at a local riding school see how she goes she will need boots and helmet ( please buy your own instead of using schools) never know if they have had a accident or not. At 2 yr old its probably not worth it DD has been around them since birth her rocking horse got a worked out but about 3.5 was her first real riding before that was the occasions sitting on a pony.

#14 JRA

Posted 20 February 2013 - 05:00 PM

Never too early.

I have photos of my at pony club camp at about 4 on dear old Bluebell.

But we had horses at home everywhere, so I was sitting in front of dad as a "baby" and just moved on from there.

#15 raven74

Posted 20 February 2013 - 05:18 PM

Due to insurance issues you'll have a hard time finding a place for anything other than a 5 minute led pony ride (like they have at royal and agricultural shows, parties etc) - riding establishments definitely won't do it.

#16 *LucyE*

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:17 PM

Lessons once a week is definatley satisfactory until the age of 10 or 12yo, which is when most girls with non horsey familys finally take the plunge.

NOOOOOOOO!!!!!  tongue.gif

That's what we've seen too based on people we know. Sigh. I was really hoping we wouldn't go down that path. My FIL was a rider and has been talking about buying the kids a pony since the first was a new born. Every so often, he threatens to turn up with a pony on our door step.  Out of all the grand kids, only DD has been genuinely interested so far. She has these grand dreams of where we would keep it, how we could re-fence to create a suitable paddock etc. I like my sprawling garden dammit!

#17 Indi

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:52 PM

I ride and my 3 daughters (9, 6 and 5) have their own ponies and attend pony club.

BUT as a non horsey family with a young child I wouldn't be doing lesson until the age of 6/7.  Before this they don't really get a lot out of it.  Different story if you have your own property and the kids have always been around horses but in your situation there is plenty of time.

#18 Indi

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:52 PM

I ride and my 3 daughters (9, 6 and 5) have their own ponies and attend pony club.

BUT as a non horsey family with a young child I wouldn't be doing lesson until the age of 6/7.  Before this they don't really get a lot out of it.  Different story if you have your own property and the kids have always been around horses but in your situation there is plenty of time.

#19 Erma Gerd

Posted 20 February 2013 - 09:04 PM

My kids have been on horses since about 18 months (we have horses ourselves and got a leadline pony when the eldest was a toddler), but my eldest didn't start pony club until he was 4yo and weekly lessons at 5yo. My 3yo would like to start PC/lessons this year but I think she might be too young.

I agree with PP that if you have access to horses, it is a good idea to get the kids out and learning about horses, handling, safety etc early on, but it's probably best to wait until at least 5-6yo before starting formal lessons.

Be warned: EXPENSIVE recreational activity! And if they get really into it, very time consuming, lots of travel and early mornings and did I mention expensive?

#20 kpingitquiet

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:36 AM

Yep, I know about the expense from my sister. She didn't show but she bought/rehabbed/sold horses for most of her teen years and some as an adult. So I guess you could say we're a semi-horsey family? I grew up part-time on a farm so have helped with tending horses and cattle for the landlord and my grandpa and did occasional recreational trail rides. Truth is, I think it's something I could get easily into myself!

I just want her to have the chance to try more than just the standard ballet/instrument/swimming routine most kids are exposed to. The horse-people I know get such joy and peace even from the yuckiest jobs involving their horses and I'd be willing to bear the expense if it meant she could grow up having something she loved to do. A couple weeks ago, we were driving around the hills and she made us stop the car because she saw horses in a field, then spent the next 10 mins talking to them, so that's what put the idea in my head (that and the enthusiastic use her rocking elephant gets!)

Obviously, we wouldn't consider buying a horse until we are permanently settled, somewhere, and if my job required us to be too urban we'd have to think long and hard about buying a horse or pony just to have them stabled somewhere else. Definitely not at that stage, yet! I think we'll keep an eye out at the autumn markets and festivals for toddler pony rides and see how she does, and we can plan some farmstays where she (and we!) can experience some of the work involved, then maybe start proper lessons at 6/7 or so if her interest holds.

Thanks for all your words of wisdom!

1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users


Newborn baby found in a nativity scene

Police are trying to trace a woman who abandoned a baby boy in the manger of a church nativity scene.

Life would be harder without my kids

The Humans of New York Facebook page is well known for sharing touching, real stories from one of the world's biggest cities – and it's just hit the heart of parents everywhere.

Mum dresses as Wonder Woman for last day of chemo

A Brisbane mum dressed up as a superhero to celebrate the end of her chemotherapy and created a moment her family will remember forever.

How a raisin can predict a toddler's IQ

All you need to assess a child's future intelligence is a plastic cup and a raisin, according to new research.

Former Hi-5 member's cannabis hope

Former Hi-5 star Tim Harding hopes a cannabis-derived drug will help control his daughter's epilepsy, which sees the four-year-old suffering between 50 and 100 seizures a day.

The top 5 reasons your toddler throws a tantrum

Whilst to the outside world little people may appear to have it easy, it's actually not always the case – just ask any toddler who's had their toast cut up the wrong way.

Glenn McGrath thought he'd lost his wife and baby

Australian cricket ledged Glen McGrath has spoken about the moment he thought he might lose his wife, Sara and their baby daughter, Madison.


Inside my Centrelink nightmare

Mother Bec Smith has been trying for months to access Centrelink payments. A "serious error" is preventing her.

Warnings over push for hourly childcare billing

Australia's peak childcare body has called for caution around the Turnbull government's push for childcare centres to charge parents by the hour, not by the day.

Cate Blanchett thought about adopting for years

Cate Blanchett says her recent adoption of a baby girl had nothing to do with wanting a daughter after having three sons.

Kate Walsh: 'I can't have kids'

Grey's Anatomy star Kate Walsh has revealed she is unable to have children because she has experienced early menopause.

The parasite that could boost fertility

The Tsimane women of Bolivia are often revered as among the most fertile in the world - on average having 10 children in their lifetimes -- but some are even more fertile than others.

Family may sue cousin over genetics

A Melbourne couple is suing the Royal Children's Hospital for failing to diagnose a genetic disorder in their first child - an error they allege caused them to have another child with severe disabilities.

Strange things mums have done in labour

While most women in labour focus on the upcoming birth of their baby, some women do more interesting things.

Michael Clarke reveals baby's name

When Michael Clarke said he was wrapped around the finger of his little princess, he wasn't joking.

The logistics of breastfeeding twins

Our life is more or less divided into neat four hour parcels of time and it's hard to get much of anything done in the time between feeds.

How to stop people ruining Christmas

We can make a conscious effort about how we react to those curly Christmas day scenarios that can send us up the wall, or should we say chimney.

Lots of formula offers for desperate mum

The mum who was down to her last three tins of baby formula said she had received hundreds of calls and offers to send her formula.

Surviving breast cancer while pregnant

It was last thing Rebecca O'Donnell expected at 30 weeks' pregnant. One morning, while putting on her bra, she felt a pea-sized lump in her right breast.

Cot sheet brands for the nursery

With so many awesome cot sheet options these days, we thought we'd put together a list of go-to brands for you to seek out for your baby's bed.


What's hot on EB

How I survived breast cancer while pregnant

It was last thing Rebecca O'Donnell expected at 30 weeks' pregnant. One morning, while putting on her bra, she felt a pea-sized lump in her right breast.

Grieving father's letter to Bataclan terrorists: "...this little boy will threaten you by being happy and free"

A grieving father whose wife was killed in the attacks on the Bataclan Theatre last weekend has written an open letter to her killers.

5 challenges of motherhood - and how to see them differently

Despite the smiles, the sloppy kisses and the pure magic children bring to our lives, it's hard to deny that motherhood can be tough.

4 challenges of being a new dad - and how to face them

Becoming a parent is challenging – and that applies to both mums and dads.

My battle against antenatal and postnatal depression

I was five months pregnant when I realised I needed help.

Children swapped at birth will not be returned to biological parents

A boy and girl accidentally swapped on the day they were born will stay with the families who have raised them, a South African court has ruled.

A quarter of men believe they get 'man periods'

A British study has revealed one in four men believe they have a monthly cycle.

Baby deposit

How much do you need to save for a 'baby deposit'?

It's fairly straightforward to calculate a house deposit, but how much money do you need to save up for a baby?

Dad's beautiful note to his wife, a nurse

To anyone else it might just look like a picture of a mum having a nap with her toddler.

'I was a complete schmuck': Mike Baird opens up about his wife's postnatal depression

When his wife Kerryn was not well following the birth of their daughter, NSW Premier Mike Baird buried himself in his work.

Mum's desperate plea as whooping cough alert issued

A desperate mother has shared a heart-breaking video of her baby struggling to cope with a coughing fit caused by pertussis.

Coffee could help you live longer

New US research found people who report drinking three to five cups of coffee a day are less likely to die prematurely from heart disease, suicide, diabetes or Parkinson's disease.

The joy and dread of playdates

To live vicariously through your child is to rediscover anxieties you thought dead and buried.

Sick baby could die without scarce special formula, mum says

Lizzie Cann is down to her last three tins of a special formula in short supply.

Adorable toddler's strop foiled by squeaky shoes

We're probably all familiar with the pouty bottom lip and tightly crossed arms of a tot mid-strop.

More sex during World Cup created more baby boys

More sex during South Africa's World Cup meant a disproportionately high number of boys were born nine months later, a new study has found.

Win one of two ABC Shop prize packs in time for Christmas

What a boon it would be to have your toddler's Christmas gifts covered this year. We have two awesome ABC Shop prize packs to give away to two lucky winners.

Do fitness challenges really work?

Fitness challenges aren't new. There's Michelle Bridges 12WBT and a bunch of other programs if you really want to lose weight.

What are pregnant women Googling?

Pregnancy is a huge change for any woman, so it's natural we'll have questions - and turn to Google to ask them.



Can't decide?

Check out the Essential Baby Names section for some inspiration

Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.