Horse Riding for Kids
I taught my nephews how to ride a horse before they were out of diapers and barely walking. Here are a few things to consider when you put a child on a horse.
- Horses can be dangerous simply because of their size. Even the most gentle and even-tempered horse, if they get frightened, can accidently step on or shove your child and inadvertently do damage. You need to supervise and be aware of what is going on at all times.
- Stallions are considered to be dangerous animals in many states and it’s illegal for people under 18 years old to handle them. Mares can get testy when they are in season but a well-trained mare should be okay. I prefer geldings since they are the least likely to get upset due to hormones and I feel they typically provide the best ride for kids.
- Older horses are usually better simply because they should have had more training and they should be more settled than young horses.
- Always make sure your child is wearing an approved safety helmet. They should also have a protection vest and boots. It is not a good idea for them to wear shorts or a shirt which leaves their midriff exposed. If the horse bites, you want it to bite material, not skin.
- Don’t let your child wear jewelry that won’t break. Earrings and rings and even watches can get caught in the bridle or mane. Fingers and earlobes will tear before metal will.
- Many people prefer to start their kids riding western because it looks safer with the big saddle. I prefer starting bareback to teach them balance and to feel how the horse moves. After that, Western or English doesn’t matter. It all a matter of what your child finds interesting.