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Horse rising for my daughter

(15 Posts)
Mummyoftheyear Tue 20-Aug-13 21:58:25

I come from a particularly non-sporty, cat-only family (ie no dogs, horses, etc.).
I can see how my daughter would love to rude a horse. She's nearly 3 but adores them - circus type show and donkey rides, etc. I'd toyed with the idea of taking her to riding lessons. But I have the impression that it is a very expensive hobby. I posted on mumsnet in the wrong place and was kindly pointed in this direction.
We are in Hertfordshire.

basildonbond Tue 20-Aug-13 23:12:02

It's a very expensive hobby! And your dd is a bit young as yet ... The riding school my dd goes to only takes children from 8 - before that they do pony rides. Some riding schools take children a bit younger than that but tbh it won't do her any harm (and your bank balance will take less of a hit) if you hold off on proper lessons as very young children don't have the strength or coordination to get much out of it. (Obviously if you came from a horsey background yourself and kept ponies etc that would be different)

Zazzles007 Wed 21-Aug-13 06:44:35

I agree with Basildon, yes it is an expensive hobby; and at 3, your DD is a bit young yet. The conventional wisdom used to be to start kids in riding lessons between the age of 8-10 yrs, as at this age kids have some control and coordination of their limbs. Any younger, and they generally are just being carted around by the pony. Of course there are some very adept 6 yr olds out there on ponies, but they tend to come from horsey families and have been exposed to ponies all their life. Or they are just rather talented smile.

At 3yo you could take your DD for the occasional pony ride. And if she shows signs of being pony-obsessed, there are plenty of horsey gifts out there to satisfy these days. At this point, the occasional pony ride and pony gift is not all that expensive.

Hope this helps.

ExitPursuedByABear Wed 21-Aug-13 06:49:48

Agree. 3 is far too young. Our local riding school has 6 as the starting age.

Gilbertus Wed 21-Aug-13 07:25:49

Agree. 6th birthday present!

Mirage Wed 21-Aug-13 18:45:18

My DDs both started riding lessons at 4,the school wouldn't take them any longer.Their first pony arrived just after the youngest's 6th birthday after I convinced DH that it was cheaper than lessons.That was a big fat lie because 6 years after the first child had her first lesson,we have 2 ponies,and all my time and money is spent on them,rallies,lessons,shows ect. It is expensive,but it gives my two so much pleasure that I don't regret a penny.

We aren't a horsey family,I gave up riding at the age of 11 and had nothing more to do with them until the DDs started riding,but it doesn't seem to have disadvantaged them.

I'd stick to pony rides while you still can!

catinabox Mon 26-Aug-13 13:28:41

Do it!! She is too tiny to have lessons yet but if you can find some where that does pony rides then do that until she's big enough.

It can be expensive but when she gets older, if she still loves it she could go and help at a stables in return for riding. Brilliant lifestyle. Hats, jodhpurs and stuff can be on every birthday and xmas list!

Starting when young and keen she'll have something special for the rest of her life, even if as and adult she only rides occasionally.

Lucky little girl. What a lovely mum you are.

DontCallMeBaby Mon 26-Aug-13 18:38:55

I'd leave it - she ought to gain a little confidence around ponies if she starts early, but nothing more than that, and it's a lot of money to shell out just for that. Or she might have a bad experience and lose confidence instead (DD has a tendency to shriek when anything goes wrong on horseback, which is a really bad idea, and she's flippin' 9).

I'd recommend getting her into something she can really do at a 3yo level - bar the shrieking, DD is a decent rider, and I put a lot of that down to good fitness and core strength, gained from trampolining from age 3 and gymnastics from age 5.

JooLoo Mon 26-Aug-13 19:31:08

My DD 3.5 had a 20 min lesson last month. Rode backwards, did some stretching etc and adored it. Ok she won't actually ride for a while but she's learning to love horses and being on them. Where I am it's convenient and cheap which does help. I'm not sure I could wait until she's 6, I'm as excited as she is!

twosmallbuttons Mon 26-Aug-13 19:35:38

There's a riding school near us that does 15 minute pony rides for 3 year olds. DD has been once and I'm hoping to take her again soon. She really likes it, it's great for her confidence too.
If she's still enjoying it in a year or so, maybe I'll start looking at things more seriously smile

SoftSheen Mon 26-Aug-13 19:47:45

It is an expensive hobby, especially if you end up buying a pony, but very worthwhile in terms of building confidence, assertiveness, social skills, fitness etc as well as being fantastic good fun.

I taught riding for a while, many years ago now, and some of my pupils were under 3. Whilst not all riding schools will take children this young, I think this is probably related more to insurance considerations rather than anything else. The children of professionals are often on a pony before they can walk, and can ride off the lead rein at 3 or 4, so it is entirely possible to teach children this age (if they are interested, of course).

Look for a good, preferably BHS-approved riding school that has suitable mounts for young children (ie small and quiet), and good facilities, ideally including an indoor school. Most riding schools can provide a riding hat and so you shouldn't need to buy any expensive equipment to start off with.

Mummyoftheyear Wed 28-Aug-13 07:57:16

Really helpful tips. Thank you! I'd no idea what age was best to start. I'll find out about pony rides and tasters for little ones and may look into gymnastics and trampolining for now (core strength stuff makes sense). It's just about being healthy, having good balance and loving the sport they do.

basildonbond Wed 28-Aug-13 08:42:44

Dd did ballet and gymnastics and while she was never that great at either of them they've left her with beautiful posture and fantastic core strength which really helps her balance now - she also swims several times a week which is a good complementary sport as its all about balance in the water and core strength

Dd lives everything about riding - yes it's expensive but seeing the joy on her face during lessons makes it worth it

basildonbond Wed 28-Aug-13 08:43:28

Loves even (although she would live in the stables if she could ...)

SlowlorisIncognito Sat 31-Aug-13 20:01:14

You may struggle to find somewhere for your 3yo to ride. Insurance often forces a lower age limit on riding schools, usually somewhere between 5-8. They're also limited by pony size- the ideal pony for a 3yo is probably a mini shetland or similar, but most riding schools won't keep ponies this small, due to the limited number of children they could carry.

She might struggle with the neck strength to wear a riding hat too. You may be able to find somewhere which will let her go for little rides/walks around the school. This shouldn't be too expensive, as it will probably only be for pretty short periods at first. She won't get much out of a longer lesson at this age, but getting used to sitting on a pony will help her if she decides to take it up in later life.

It can be an expensive hobby, with lots of specialist equiptment. It gets even more expensive if you buy her a pony of her own, but you can start of relatively cheeply and not commit to buying anything until you are sure she is commited.

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