When to get DD a helmet and some other questions!(17 Posts)
DD is soon to be 5 and has been having lessons for just over a month now. She's loving them. She's a sensitive and shy soul, and often worries about attending new groups etc, but has been very keen from the get go and talks about it all the time.
Her lessons currently consist of a 'walkabout' where there is an instructor plus a girl from the stables holding the pony, and me milling about in the background. Once she's sorted her rising trot out she'll be going into proper lessons (she can do it, but us inconsistent and loses the rhythm at times).
So, we currently borrow a helmet from the stables for 50p a week, but when should we think about getting DD her own? Also, when should we look at getting a back protector and boots (she's currently in wellies)?
When she moves up to proper lessons, is it worth paying the extra for a private lesson? We may end up doing this anyway, as she can be very shy in groups, but I'd like to start her out in the best possible way.
I will chat with the stables too, but just wanted to get as many opinions as possible. I'm not horsey at all as my pleas for lessons as a child were also met with 'we can't afford it', which in fairness was probably true.
Thank you! I'm learnt so much already from browsing threads on here.
Hi, helmets do tend to last a while, as children's heads don't grow that quickly, but they can be fairly expensive. If the stables is BHS approved or a pony club center (or even if they're not), they're probably going to require the helmet is up to current standards (usually PAS015 in the UK). I would be wary of buying a cheap helmet that is approved to the BSEN1384 standard as this was withdrawn at the start of 2016, and many riding schools will not allow you to use them.
The advantage of buying your child their own hat is that you can get it fitted by a qualified fitter, and it will mold to your child's head shape, making it a better fit than a borrowed one- so it may be safer and more comfortable.
At this stage, I don't think a body protector is worthwhile- it's unlikely she's going to have the kind of fall where a body protector will offer much benefit, and a lot of children find them very uncomfortable. Also, always riding in a stiff body protector can affect their position, making them more likely to fall off/become unbalanced in the first place. I would hold off on buying one until she's doing a lot of canter work and jumping, and then buy the lightest most flexible one you can afford.
Boots are a good purchase imo- especially if she's riding in ordinary stirrup irons where her foot could easily slide through the stirrup. I'd go for short "jodhpur" boots for her.
Re Private vs Group lessons, at this age it's very much down to what will suit your child. Private lessons can be very intensive, although she may progress faster, progress is likely to be relatively slow at 5, as she lacks the co-ordination and strength of an older child. Most children do find group lessons more fun, especially if they play lots of games etc. Shyness won't necessarily matter too much, as she'll probably still have a leader to start with, so someone will notice if she has any problems and can get the instructor's attention on her behalf.
I hope this helps a bit!
Thank you so much Lady Lance, that is all very helpful, especially about the BS standard helmet bring withdrawn as I otherwise would have thought it ok!
I think I'll start her in group lessons and she how she gets on, I can always move to private if I feel her confidence is lacking.
The children's hats are much cheaper than adults and come with all sorts of nice designs, you can also get jodhpur boots for very very little.
Ditto not worrying about a body protector at this stage,
I agree with PP. DD has a helmet now for 1 1/2 years, still fits and the tack shop we use is happy to check fitting. I think it was around £55, so fairly mid-range.
Protector: our school asks that children start wearing it when they trot confidently.
Boots, yes, get her half-boots to start. For the first one I would get her fitted as sizes can differ, DD is a sizer bigger than all other shoes.
For lessons, DD does a group lesson once a months and a single one once a months as well. We find that in the single lesson her instructor is more focused on posture, correct rein, checks on theoretical knowledge and builds on what has been done in the last group lesson.
Check with the school if they have a group in her age bracket, she is still quite young and may feel intimidated in a group with older children.
Although I did the borrowed helmet thing for ages as a child I really think the sooner she has her own the better. They're really only designed for one decent knock and there's no way of knowing if a borrowed helmet has been dropped. Plus, she can't get nits from her own helmet
Thank you all for your advice. I think I'll take her to get fitted for her helmet in a couple of weeks and it might just appear down the chimney on the 25th December (I'm already excited to see her face)! I'll get her some boots at the same time as she has complained once or twice about slipping out of the stirrups and I wouldn't want that to happen in a group lesson.
I never thought of alternating group of amd private lessons - this might be a way to get the best of both worlds for her!
Nits never even crossed my mind !
Don't worry OP. I don't actually know of anyone that has got nits from a borrowed helmet (although I'm sure it happens.) Just trying a more lighthearted approach than 'think of your child's brain.'
Sounds like your daughter is going to have a very exciting Christmas. I have photos of me unwrapping my first 'proper' riding clothes and helmet. I had a massive grin on my face
Bluetongue, that's funny - I can just imagine! My sister and I got our first velvet hats while we were on a camping holiday in Wales. It's the only thing I remember from the whole holiday apart from the name of the pony I went trekking on . We insisted on wearing the hats all the way home in the car 'to get used to them'.
CJCreggsGoldfish the boots probably won't stop your Dd's feet slipping out of the stirrups, that's something that comes with practice and being able to keep her heels down etc. What it will help guard against is her feet slipping right through the irons, or getting stuck, which can be very dangerous, especially if she falls. Proper riding boots have a heel and a smooth sole which trainers/wellies etc might not, they don't have any buckles to get caught and they give support to the ankles.
I used to get a lot of Ds's riding stuff from Robinson's Equestrian. They have a good range for little ones and the prices are reasonable.
Oh you will need to get the helmet properly fitted so you won't want to get that by mail order (unless you get the same as you've tried on in a shop but I didn't say that if any tack shop owners are reading!), but it's fine for most other stuff (except back protectors which also need fitting).
Don't worry blue tongue - I took it as a joke! I think my DD will be the same as you at Christmas - I'm so excited for her!
Thanks Pixel, I'll have a look online for an idea of prices, and I'll definitely be getting boots sooner rather than later!
Just be grateful you have a girl, you will have an endless choice of riding gear for her. Anyone who has a boy will tell you it's almost impossible to find so much as a t shirt that isn't pink and glittery or featuring a unicorn!
Pixel - Depending on age I buy my boys (3 and 5) leggings for under slim fit bottoms. they do have some lovely blue fleeces jods I got on sale in January at a place called re farms in Derby.
My adult male friend who works with horses daily recommended tight-ish fitting boxers and the skinnier fit jeans that are slightly flexible if you get what I mean?
So maybe try the jeans if yours is in between those two examples?
(If you were looking anyway. I'm making assumptions here haha but I hope they help in future at least).
TBF I don't wear jods much even though I have them. If I show them in an English show I'll wear them but otherwise I have comfy jeans and that's it.
Winter is just layers of whatever is clean dry and keeps me warm 😂😂
Ice, thank you. He does have a very nice pair of jods I got him from Robinsons (and the snug boxers!), but I was thinking more of horsey t shirts/sweatshirts, that sort of thing. Something that's a bit of fun that I could possibly buy as a present. Girls are really spoiled for choice but for boys there's virtually nothing. I've even written to some online companies asking if they can cater more for boys and not received any replies.
Thank you all for your help. We've been to a recommended tack shop this morning, and there is currently a helmet in DH's car boot that we are going to sneak into the house under the cover of darkness. They were fab, and helped us buy it without DD being aware. We've told DD that we'll get it after Christmas as can't afford it right now. If anyone's interested it's the Champion x-air dazzle plus in sparkly pink and black...it was honestly love at first sight for her!
Thanks again - I really do appreciate it!
That's lovely, bet you can't wait to see her face when she opens it .
I got my sons equipment in this order....gloves, crop, hat, jodhpurs, boots, chaps, body protector
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