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How old before a child can go horseriding?

(32 Posts)
willweeversell Sun 17-Aug-08 21:10:57

I am hoping to re-ignite an old hobby and am wondering if my ds might enjoy it too. He is only two at the moment and obviously he won't be able to really learn but would the riding school laugh at me if I ask if ds can have a ride on one of the very small ponies. I was taken for lessons from about five iirc but ds is obviously quite a long way off this!

desperatehousewifetoo Sun 17-Aug-08 21:14:12

I think as long as they have a 'bomb-proof' and little pony, I don't see the harm.

Obviously, only if your ds is confident enough to do it. You could take him for a visit first to see how he reacts with the horses and ponies.

Have fun

Bowddee Sun 17-Aug-08 21:14:15

IIRC a lot of riding schools will allow you to plonk your DS on top of a pony and will take them for a walk as long as you are holding your DS on, at all times.

Heated Sun 17-Aug-08 21:16:02

I was investigating this and a lot of the local riding schools offer 30min sessions from the age of 4.

Piffle Sun 17-Aug-08 21:18:38

I was competing by age 4!
hard to get riding schools tondo it for under 4's due to insurance issues.
You need a friend with a pony! Or your own!

willweeversell Sun 17-Aug-08 21:18:49

Thank you for your replies!

Ds is fascinated by animals and doesn't seem at all afraid of big ones like cows and the like lol and has 'met' several horses big and small that belong to a friend of the family.

I'm not really looking to introduce it to him as a hobby but diddn't want him to miss out on something which he may love because i was too worried about what the staff at the Riding school would think blush

Swedes Sun 17-Aug-08 21:19:56

Interesting. I'm really hoping my daughter mught inherit my young lust for the Pony Club. I feel a bit bad that it never crossed my mind that my sons might have been interested. I don[t think they would have been? Would they?

willweeversell Sun 17-Aug-08 21:22:31

Hi Piffle

wow competing at age 4- I loved riding but was always much to nervous in the competition sense. I have an idea that maybe we could get a pony at some stage but obviously its a huge commitment and I want to se how well I get on with the riding side of things as its been 15 years since I rode!!
Luckily we live in a rural area so might be a possibility at some point, especially if ds showed an interest.

Maybe the best thing then is to keep it on the backburner til he's 4ish, and see if dp will bring him along to see me having a lesson to guage his reaction. Thanks again all.

willweeversell Sun 17-Aug-08 21:31:57

Hi swedes
I think boys can be into horses given the opportunity. My dp owned a horse til about 4 years ago and several of the lads in my yrear at school were too. One now trains horses professionally.

Must admit however, am secretly hoping ds willveer more towards riding or something rather than football, only as I hate most classically 'male'sports (only because I can never understand the rules wink

nappyaddict Sun 17-Aug-08 23:46:21

my friend teaches little ones in the pony club from 2 and a 1/2.

kormachameleon Sun 17-Aug-08 23:56:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Reamhar Mon 18-Aug-08 00:08:42

I know from looking into it here that alot of Riding Schools won't take children under 4. Something to do with insurance I'm afraid. Might be different in different parts of the country I guess.

nappyaddict Mon 18-Aug-08 00:14:29

she lives in swindon sorry (wiltshire swindon not swindon by us). my grandad is chair person of the albrighton woodland hunt pony club and i think they can join from any age as long as they have regular access to a horse. the contacts page is here

kormachameleon Mon 18-Aug-08 00:16:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

horseymum Mon 18-Aug-08 15:06:41

many riding schools will not be able to take children under 5 due to insurance. my ds was 9 months when i first sat him on a pony, and dd was i year - last week was her first go and she cried when i took her off! One of the biggest issues will be getting a hat small enough. i work at an RDA and we have have found one of the only suppliers to do very small hats are Charles and Owen. They are £40 odd though, so it might make sense to wait a bit longer till they are not going to grow out of a hat every few months! Also the hats are very heavy for small necks and i would worry about making a very young child wear one for more than a few minutes. You can get some very lightweight ones but not sure how small they go down - do not compromise on hats though- you can replace/do without most other body parts except your head!!! My preferred option would be to have my own small pony and then it is not a big fuss to go riding, they could do it whenever they wanted, however, still waiting for dream house with patch of land for that. Having taught pony club, it is hard to do much with the really tiny tots. Have you thought about equestrian vaulting, some clubs will take children quite young, it is one of the best introductions to riding and a great sport in itself. See British Equestrian Vaulting website to find a club near you.(lots cheaper than many ridng schools too!)

horseymum Mon 18-Aug-08 15:10:49

Also, if you can find someone who has a calm pony you could spend time doing stuff on the ground, like teaching him to brush and be safe round horses, it is quite hard to instill a 'healthy' sense of danger - my ds will still run up to the back of my horse, however often i tell him she might kick him - i don't think he believes me. I know when i was little, i just wanted to do exercises on horseback like round the world and things like that, which many riding schools will not do so much of now- another reason why vaulting is great as the child never has to worry about controlling the pony - also they get to canter loads sooner!

Ripeberry Mon 18-Aug-08 15:17:36

We went to visit some friends in Toulouse for a long weekend and one afternoon went to a "Poney club" that is the correct French spelling and they let us have a couple of ponys to take for a walk in the woods.
They provided us with hats for the kids, some quite big ponies (not shetland) and we had to lead them by ourselves!
Me and friend had not touched horses since we were kids ourselves so we ended up with bruised shoulders and stepped on feet after an hour's "ridding" more like feeding for the ponies as they wanted to stop every five minutes and were very strong.
Was a bit scary!
They would never allow that in the UK.

seeker Mon 18-Aug-08 15:24:05

I think the received wisdom is not before 3 because of the ligaments in their hips. My dd started at 4.

nappyaddict Mon 18-Aug-08 15:53:50

horsey mum - how old were they before you didn't have to hold on them whilst the pony was being led around?

horseymum Mon 18-Aug-08 22:09:30

I have taught pony club with 3 year olds who wern't held on but were mostly led and four year olds unled- a bit scary though, she was cantering and jumping but pony was rock steady neddy! You can led from beside and hold an ankle if you need to, especially when trotting or doing poles. It would really depend on the pony- sometimes a bigger pony is easier as they are not so prone to whipping round. totally depends on kid/parent too- i always walk beside ds and he is 3- i am probably overcautious though! a great book is 'teacing children to ride'- google it or look on BHS website, i have lost my copy so don't know the author. I would not trust a riding school which allowed parents to take kid and pony out by themself!

Quattrocento Mon 18-Aug-08 22:17:12

Round our way it is only from 4, because of the twin devils of Insurance and Elf n Safety

lilymolly Mon 18-Aug-08 22:17:30

Can I give you some advice?
My dd is 2.6 and has had access to a pony as we have a shetland and my horse at home.

She has sat on the pony since she was a year old and is now capable of sitting by herself whilst I lead the pony (totally trust pony)

Being brutally honest she lasts about 3 mins! and wants to walk grin

They have the attention span of a knat.

She only grooms hmm for about 2 mins and mucks out hmm for maybe 3 mins grin

DD could ride every day if she wanted, but has prob ridden her pony 4 x this year.

I dont push it aas I am sure once she is older she will be more enthusiastic or not as the case may be.

Many of my friends children where exactly the same and now they are older are fantastic little jockeys.
Pony club will take the at 3 I think, but they get nothing out if it, the mothers get more pleasure imho wink

Wait a few years, go horse riding alone and enjoy some me time- thats what I did till I fell pregnant again envy

LuckySalem Mon 18-Aug-08 22:31:33

Apparently I was 6weeks old and sat on a hunter with my mum. grin

I was 4 when I had my own pony grin

DD is going for her first sit on a horse in the next week and she's 7 months (so a late starter) lol

nappyaddict Tue 19-Aug-08 00:37:26

lilymolly - how lon has she been able to sit by herself with you leading?

fledtoscotland Tue 19-Aug-08 08:38:25

i am the same as luckysalem - i first sat on a horse at a week old when came home from hospital and mum was desperate to see her hunter so took the carrycot up to the stables! she was back riding at 6 weeks and i was regularly "sat" on the horse. From what i have been told i was "riding" as soon as i could hold onto the reins.

its something i would love to do with DC but the stables near us only takes from 5 yrs old due to insurance.

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