IMO it has far less to do with the size of the horse and more with the type/personality/character/schooling level of the horse. I learnt to ride as a small 7 year old on big horses (mainly warmbloods but also some thoroughbreds) as that was all that was available at the time at my local riding stables (it was a long time ago :-)), never fell off, the horses were all well schooled and very obedient. I then 'graduated' to ponies at a different riding school when I was 12 and fell off tons of times, sometimes hurting myself, as the ponies were a lot sharper than the horses I was used to and lot less obedient. The worst fall I had was when I fell off a (what must have been) 12hh and broke my leg, it had nothing to do with the height of the pony but just that I landed awkwardly. Since then the worst accident I have had in my riding career was when I broke my back falling off my friend's 14.2hh, despite having had some falls off my own, far bigger horse over the years (he was a TB though I think that is less relevant than the fact that he was a cheeky sod ;-)). Accidents happen but in my experience the size of the horse has been largely irrelevant to the outcome.
IMO if you are happy with the horse and your DD is happy and confident with the horse I think there is nothing wrong with letting her ride him, obviously with appropriate supervision, in the right environment and with the correct safety kit (hat, body protector) etc. I would be far happier to let my young son ride my friend's ex-racer than my other friend's section A as I know which one would be more likely to misbehave...
I wouldn't put my 7yo DD on anything that big, and definitely not off the lead rein. It is a heck of a long way down for a child, especially when going at speed, and I think your DD was incredibly lucky not to hurt herself. And children don't bounce, I know a little girl who broke her leg falling off her 12hh pony in trot.
I am not going to join the debate about him being a thoroughbred, because I am a novice (but learnt to ride on thoroughbreds in NZ), but in my experience with DS the odd fall has really helped him. DS insisted on riding with reins like washing lines - no contact, until he had a little tumble... He was in trot, but kept on asking for more with his legs, with no contact, got canter, panicked took a tumble , pony god knows managed to not stand on him, and he now rides with a beautiful contact. he learnt his lesson.....it's not as if his instructors weren't constantly trying to impress on him the importance of a contact, but until he fell off, I guess he couldn't see the point.
Ha ha, I think you might headless! Let us know what you get...?!
Thing is on face value I would agree with Butkin - if - i hadn't seen v v v simular situation in practise! In this case, it's shocking how the horse responds to the child. I know most tbs are unpredictable (not brave enough myself) but our 16.2 'been there got the t shirt, ex hunter affiliated sj' just responds so well to 9yr old in board, better than her mum on board in fact! It may well be naive, but he does seem to know to look after her? I know any horse can spook / buck etc, and it is a long way down! But I think we are all sensible enough to know our horses / situations?
In our particular case the main problem now is 9 year old needs to refine the aids, which is difficult when your legs only just past the saddle! So her mum is looking for a pony, good luck headless!
oh no, they never leave the school, he is very safe but that is not a chance I would ever take! I'm hoping that she will take this down as experience and learn from it, we have had a talk about doing stupid things without considering the consequences. I'm going to have to get her a pony, aren't I?
I think that under close supervision, in a school is ok - not ideal, but ok. If you feel confident that the horse is "safe" then it's up to you. Hopefully your DD will have learned there are reasons why she's not to do certain things and that you have her and the horse's best interests at heart. I certainly wouldn't let her out in the open on him, they can be so very quick and if you're not expecting it you are dumped before you know it. Presumably insurance is sorted.....just in case.
Im with Butkin. I really dont like overhorsing children. A child on a large horse has no chance in a bolt or bucking fit. Much better to build good sound confidence on a pony they can handle. However, carefully supervised in a confined space isnt too bad. The problem is when the child gets over confident, goes too far and scares the shit out of themselves. You need to make sure she doesnt do anything stupid again
butkin, I understand your point, and I do consider a 'normal' thoroughbred completely unsuitable for a child. But, he is nearing 20, and in the 10 years his owner has had him he has never bucked, kicked or thrown anyone off. And unfortunately owning a pony is very far off our budget, so this is the only option we have, other than increasing the amount of lessons they have. And tbh, the worst fall i'v ever had was off a shitland shetland
I think I would let her carry on, given that she fell off because she didn't do as she was told, and not because of anything the horse did. Hopefully she will have learned a valuable lesson! You obviously know your horse, and feel safe letting her ride him. I think you are just as likely to injure yourself falling off a small horse as a big one anyway
Sorry but I think you're mad letting an 8yo ride a thoroughbred. Our DD is 9 and very experienced (competing since she was 4 and now rides for professional producers, usually at the highest level) but no way would I let her ride a thoroughbred. She rides 12hh and 12.2hh ponies. We own a 14.2 connemara and she has only just started riding her at walk and trot, on occasions, after a hack.
I've owned/ridden Point to Pointers and know just how difficult T'Breds can be to ride even for an adult. I'm not trying to be negative about your horse at all. I've always worked in racing and know T'breds well but they are just not suitable for a child. I don't think any of the trainers in Newmarket (other than possibly John Berry) would put their kids on even the quietest hacks at that age. I think you're asking for trouble.
Yes, I think she was getting a bit.. cocky. I think a few lessons on the lunge might knock a bit of sense into her. There is an instructor on the yard who is fab so thanks for that, i'll definitely ask him to have a word.
Floralnomad his owner actively encourages me to let the kids ride, hers rode him when they were that age and he loves the attention and takes great care of them.
Well, it sounds like the horse did exactly as he was asked - off into a beautiful canter that your DD was unequipped to deal with. Your DD should be able to learn from this - she's old enough to understand that she made the mistake not the horse. perhaps you could use a lead rein with her for the next few rides, to make the point that you cannot trust her to do as she was told therefore you need to lead her?
Disclaimer: I am a hobby rider who really knows nothing about horses
I don't think it's an issue as long as the owner ( I'm assuming you're the sharer not owner) knows that you are letting your children ride him . I'm not sure that I would be that happy with it if he was mine but then I wouldn't have a sharer anyway I'm too OCD
At that age they generally seem to bounce! Know someone in exactly the same situation as you, and she is almost willing (wrong expression but I think you know what I mean) her daughter to have a safe fall, as d at the moment is a little over confident (16.2 completely looks after her!) and we all know what horses do with adults like that! I would let her continue, is there another instructor / sensible adult you could get to give her some tips? They seem to listen more to non family members! Otherwise it's biting the bullet and getting a pony I guess?!
I share a 16.2 thoroughbred, who is a lovely boy, very gentle and generally does what he's asked. When the kids come to the yard with me at the weekend, they normally ride him, DS (5) on lead rein and DD (8) has a light trot/ walk around the school, nothing too daft, just a few circles/ serpentines to cool him down after i'v exhausted ridden him. So, as its half term we went to the yard yesterday, and DD rode dhorse as normal. All was going fine, until DD asked him for canter, after being told not to. Off he cantered round the school, beautifully not bombing off at all, and DD couldn't stop him and fell off. She couldn't stop him because she let her reins go too long, and had no bit contact. DD is fine, not even a bruises bum, and immediately got back on, but now i'm starting to worry that letting her ride him might not be the best of ideas. He is very well behaved, but he is a very tall horse, and it was a long way to fall. But on the other hand, her riding is really improving, we have had time to work on things which are not being noticed during her riding lessons, ie. improving her seat, softer transitions, diagonals. And she has gained so much confidence.
I don't want to punish her for a mistake, and i'm hoping she learns from this, but i'm unsure if continuing to let her ride him is a good idea.