Horse riding for a 3 year old?(7 Posts)
My dd loves horses - before I sold my horse she regularly would have a wee sit on him and now has a wee shot on my friends Shetland once a week.
Unfortunately, the Shetland is very young, not well mannered, not safe on the ground - she doesn't kick or anything but just has no manners and is a bit bolshy so she's not even safe for dd to handle and my heart is in my mouth the whole time especially as friends 2 year old dd is also running around at the time . Other than the one time a week that my dd rides the horse is turned out with little if any handling.
I've tried to get lessons for her but nowhere round here will offer lessons until they are at least 4 and the yard where I share my horse doesn't have any suitable ponies for her to ride - there is one older mare but she's about 10 hands so maybe too big for grooming and also quite feisty when ridden off the lead rein so not ideal.
I'm contemplating looking for a Shetland loan for her just a couple of times a week but I'm worried she's still too young and will get fed up? She already does swimming/dance/gymnastics and has stuck at them but winter is coming and riding is no fun in winter so it might be a waste of time and money?
What do you think? Just stick at it with the slightly crazy Shetland for another year or is it worth looking in to?
To be honest, I wouldn't bother with a loan for a 3 year old. Sounds like she's already got lots going on. What about just taking her to stroke a pony over a fence occasionally during a walk or find an owner who doesn't mind her giving a well-mannered horse a brush occasionally? You can read picture books to her about horses and draw them together. I wonder if this is you projecting your feelings a little bit since selling your horse and you are wanting to stay in touch with the horse world. Not a criticism at all, but just a thought.
Personally I wouldn't bother with a Shetland as I've found most quite difficult and I've not found one yet I'd put a kid on I would wait until she's 4 and totally committed before you buy a pony of her own. The reason riding schools won't take them until 4 is due to liability insurance.
I’ve been in your shoes OP. DD is about to turn 4 and we had one 13.2 mare at our yard happy to trudge up the lane with her but nothing she could handle herself safely. Mine is happy to let her sit on him but being an anxious 16hh TB he’s too unpredictable and big should she fall. And she had one lesson at a riding school but was way too young to follow the shouted instructions and got upset.
I was going to loan a friend’s little pony - hadn’t done much but nice temperament. But couldn’t find grazing for him anywhere near mine. Happened to ask someone with Stables and land opposite our summer field who knows our Yard owner and she said she didn’t want another living there but had a Shetland we could borrow. We now have a key to her yard and just go up when DD wants to and we have time. It works brilliantly.
I am so relieved I didn’t loan an unknown one and take on all the responsibility. DD loves it but if you take her too much she gets overwhelmed and other days gets bored quickly - I would be left with the lion’s share.
Why not post on a local FB horse group asking if anyone near to you has a suitable Shetland? Ours is a gem. He does nibble but has kept DD safe on full hacks through the woods etc and her confidence has really grown.
Sometimes riding schools do offer lessons for 3 year olds if they have previously had experience around horses. My dd goes riding lessons every week (she has done since just after her 3rd birthday, she's now nearly 4) and we did start private lessons and riding a friends 11hh but she has come on the most within group lessons where there are 3/4 children aged up to 6. So she can watch the others ride. What about finding some private yards that may have a suitable pony for a share?
I wouldn’t bother in the winter if I was you. My 3yo is currently only seeing his pony once a week as I feel terrible having him out in the cold and wet. I would wait until the spring and then try a riding school.
My riding school holds a Tot group twice a week.
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