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Please help a horse dimwit

(15 Posts)
Ricksheadtilt Sun 03-Jul-16 15:26:21

Dd3 (5) is doing what I assume is the normal little girl horse obsession thing (other 2 never did this though). I'm fairly sure this is fuelled by my little pony & other cute horsey/unicorn stuff. I realise that this is an expensive & professional 'hobby'. I have no experience and no-one I know is into horses so I have no-one to advise. I don't want to crush her dreams, but I have very little money.
Do riding schools do free or cheap taster sessions? There's a chance after all that once she realises how big horses actually are she may hate it (not projecting or hoping - if any of my girls have a talent or interest I will do my all to try to accommodate). Should she be enthralled or good is there any likelihood at all that they would allow a mom to muck out every morning in payment?
Any advice at all would be gratefully received. Apologies if I'm comb across as very naive or rude. My horse experience is limited to reading black beauty as a child.

OurBlanche Sun 03-Jul-16 15:31:24

Have a look in your local facebook and ask. Round here lots of riding stables would be very happy to give a horse mad small child 'a go'* on a real horse whilst chatting to the know-nothing-about-horses parents about the realities of lessons, clothing etc.

*as in being introduced, shown how to offer mints and not fingers, and other age appropriate activities.

insertimaginativeusername Sun 03-Jul-16 15:35:38

None where I am would do free or cheap taster sessions but I guess it wouldn't hurt to ask?

And where I learnt to ride you were expected to help out with jobs as part of your time there. Most kids spent the whole day at the stables mucking out, poo picking fields and preparing feeds etc as well as having a lesson as it was considered part of the learning process and preparation of moving on to having your own horse so wouldn't take this as payment towards lessons, sorry. But it might be that my instructor was strict grin

As I'm sure you're aware it's a very expensive hobby so be prepared if she loves it....

gladisgood Sun 03-Jul-16 15:35:54

Can you find a friend fro her to ride with? My DD (5) and her friend ride together - an 3/4 hour private lesson is £40 ( £20 each) which actually works out as cheap as the group lessons, but with much more focussed teaching.

If not, wait until she is older, and then she can volunteer to lead the little children round during their pony riding lessons/muck out etc - and in return, she will probably get a free lesson every week - most riding schools do this.

OurBlanche Sun 03-Jul-16 15:40:38

None where I am would do free or cheap taster sessions Really? I was going to say that sounds counterproductive... but then remembered a friend with a yard near a large, well off Cotswold town... they are absolutely inundated with horse mad daughters of London commuters. So I doubt she would offer any either smile

Ricksheadtilt Sun 03-Jul-16 15:47:05

There is hope then smile. We are in neither a well off or Cotswold town. It may well be worth an ask around then.
This parenting lark just gets harder wink. All I wanted as a kid was The Beano or a book and a choc ice!!! To be fair she doesn't ask for a lot.

insertimaginativeusername Sun 03-Jul-16 15:56:44

ourblanche that's exactly it! When I learnt many years ago there was a constant stream of pony mad girls like me desperate for time with horses so there was no need to offer incentives, and all so keen to spend as much time as possible with them that we'd do all the jobs willingly. There was only 1 paid member of staff other than the owner/instructor.

All they would offer would be to allow a prospective client to watch a lesson.

madgingermunchkin Sun 03-Jul-16 21:53:09

Unfortunately, health and safety these days means most yards are unable or unwilling to take on kids to help out. They just can't take the risk or their insurance won't cover it. It's a damn shame, because it's the best way for kids to learn just how much hard work having a pony is.

britnay Mon 04-Jul-16 08:34:33

which area do you live in? Maybe someone can suggest a good riding school.
You're looking at starting her on a weekly 30 minute group lesson. She'll be on a lead rein initially. Expect to pay around £10-£15 for 30 minutes. 60 minute lessons won't cost double that, but there is no need for long lessons just yet.
Ideally you want somewhere that mix up their lessons a bit, so sometimes flatwork, jumping, games, hacking out etc.

Shizzlestix Tue 05-Jul-16 17:19:32

She's obviously too young to be a helper and riding is ruddy expensive. I can't see yards offering cheap or free anything, they're businesses and not charities. Sorry to be harsh, but it's not a hobby that comes cheaply. In a few years, she can be a brilliant helper and learn then. Spending time at the yard is key: all the little helpers at my place are offered rides/shares etc eventually.

MarthaElf Tue 05-Jul-16 18:26:17

Op theres a place near us lets the kids ride free if parents help out.

I originally posted on a horsey forum locally to my area and a couple of private yardsordered to let her come and groom etc.

MarthaElf Tue 05-Jul-16 18:27:24


Ricksheadtilt Tue 05-Jul-16 20:12:14

Thank you for all of your help and advice. It seems to be very much horses for courses - grin
I'm aware that it is not a cheap hobby, hence why I don't want to blow a load of cash for her to not even like real live horses!!!
A local riding school is more than happy for us to go and have a look, meet & feed some of the horses and take it from there. So we shall see....

Biggles398 Thu 07-Jul-16 01:10:34

Sounds like you've got it covered - taking her to a riding school for a look round / pat of the ponies, but as others have said, lessons cost money, and at 5, she can't be left unattended to "help out". Years ago, my old yard used to do "walk about" rides, where they would take the younger kids out on a pony for a cheaper rate than a lesson, but I doubt this goes on nowadays!
You could ask on local horsey FB pages if anyone has a pony that would be suitable for fussing etc, but if you're not horsey yourself, you'd need to find someone that would be there to help you out to begin with at least. Plus, if you follow this route, and she rides said pony, you have the insurance issue....
Good luck. While it's an expensive hobby, it's a fantastic one too!!

JackieAndHyde4eva Thu 07-Jul-16 01:29:12

Not sure if this is an option but we had horses when I was growing up and my dad was always letting visiting children help with mucking out, feeding, a long monologue in correct horse care! etc in return for a ride. That was his 'payment' he asked for. When I think about it now he had probably been pre warned by the parents to make sure their DC realised how much work went into horses grin

Would there be a nice neighbour or friend of a friend who you could ask to have a little go on their pony/horse in return for some "help"?

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