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The tack room

Getting back into ‘it’

11 replies

Bettyboop82 · 25/12/2020 20:40

I had my own pony as a teen, didn’t compete, just a hobby and a social thing and I loved it. I’ve loved horses all my life and now my DD (3) is showing an interest. I’d love for her to grow up in a horsey environment and I’d love to get back into it myself in a few years when my baby is a little older (currently got 3 kids under 3 so no time for a horse too!). Do you think my daughter too young for lessons? Should I wait?

OP posts:
historyrocks · 25/12/2020 21:01

Maybe a bit early yet. Many stables won’t take children until they’re 4-5 years old.

Pleasedontdothat · 26/12/2020 11:28

Dd didn’t start having lessons until she was 8 but progressed very quickly as she was strong and coordinated enough by then and much better than younger children at understanding and following instructions.

She now teaches children to ride at the weekends and in school holidays. With the very little ones it’s mostly a case of keeping them on the pony and ensuring they’re having fun - they’re not really doing much riding. Occasionally she’ll have a 4 or 5 year old who wants to learn and ‘gets it’ but at that age they’re very much a rarity. Given how expensive it is, I think you’d be better off waiting for a couple of years to be honest

ApplestheHare · 26/12/2020 13:03

Unless you're one of those people who's lost count of the number of ponies they have at home and doesn't believe in saddles for under 10s I'd wait 😂 DD is 6 and still doesn't really get it but enjoys the odd fun ride. I would also say that it's not too early to get back into it yourself. I started riding again when my youngest was 9 months and was surprised by how much I'd backslid but it's been fun feeling like I'm dusting off old skills and abilities. I was just doing the odd ride at a RS as and when, but have been able to take on a share now she's 18 months and I'm glad I rode lots of different horses in a safe environment before doing so.

SnowmanDrinkingSnowballs · 26/12/2020 15:11

It totally depends how committed you are. In horsey families at that age they would be riding every day on the lead rein, lots of walk but I’ve seen plenty of 4 year olds who can do rising trot. You could look out for a share arrangement.
If you are going down the riding school route I would look out for toddler pony experiences in the school holidays rather than start paying for regular lessons. Then once she is 5 she will be able to go more regularly.
The other option would be to get a pony you can ride (assuming you are small enough), then your children can all be led around on that. Both mine had weekly rides on my 14h cob from around 18 months. I just popped them on after I had ridden and I have lovely memories of leading my son around. For some reason he would chat away to me telling me all about preschool etc which he don’t normally talk about.

maxelly · 26/12/2020 15:16

They do tiny tots rides at my yard for 3-4yos, it's not really a formal lesson as such, they are just led around on one of the little ponies and get to spend some time brushing and cuddling their pony if they want to - as others have said I doubt they learn much as most 3yos don't really have the strength, coordination or attention span to ride properly Grin but it gets them used to being around the ponies and seems to be a nice experience for them - crucially it also allows Mum/Dad to have a lesson themselves while someone wrangles their pre-schooler for half an hour, which might be nice for you? I know it's not the same as owning your own but there's still a lot of satisfaction and physical/mental health benefits to be got from going out for a short hack on a riding school plod or similar?

Agree though that for 'proper' lessons you are best off waiting until she's at least 5 I'd say...

MispyM · 26/12/2020 16:35

I grew with horses (we have a picture of me "on" a horse before I could even sit) and this is something I'd like for DS as well (well, he's already a bit older, he's a spunky toddler).

We visited my aunt and her partner last summer and spent quite a lot of time with their 2 horses.


I haven't been on a horse since I was 15 (?) so Idk. Is it like riding a bike? 🤔

But I just felt so relaxed and at home. The sounds, the environment. Perfectly at ease.


Which is why I want to get into it again this spring (if at all possible).

Finding a good stable for me and DS will be something as well.

My other aunt owns her own farm but she's unfortunately too far away, so that isn't an option.

MispyM · 26/12/2020 16:36

So yes, I'm reading this thread with a lot of interest!

maxelly · 26/12/2020 16:58

Mipsy, do it! Riding is such a great sport for relaxation and stress/anxiety relief, the combination of being outdoors, with the wonderful animals of course and the calm relaxed confidence you need to ride well, nothing's quite like it Grin. Great for children too, teaches them all sorts of skills like the value of hard work, patience, persistence and leadership skills too, as well as being good hearty fresh air'd exercise...

I'd say it's not quite like riding a bike, riding uses a particular set of muscles not common in other sports (doing lots of yoga and pilates can help though), so I wouldn't be surprised/off-put if you find it quite hard work and get out of puff quickly the first few times. It tends to come back quite quickly if you can have regular lessons though - also don't be worried if your bottle/confidence feels like it's gone a bit compared to when you were last riding, no-one is ever as brave/foolhardy as when they are a teenager, often it's a gradual process if you continue riding into adulthood, as you accumulate responsibilities the prospect of falls and injuries does gradually start to be more worrying, it's perfectly normal and can actually make you a better, more careful and thoughtful rider, but just wouldn't want you to panic if you get a sudden wave of fear the first time you get back on!

Re finding a riding school, I'd recommend looking up which schools in your area are BHS approved (I know there are perfectly good schools which don't go for the certification for various reasons but for me the BHS is still your best guide). Don't be afraid to visit and try out several, for me I like to find a happy medium between a place which is too small and only has a limited range of teachers and horses, and one which is too big, swish and impersonal and you are just treated as a number (at one place I rode at for a few months none of the teachers ever bothered to ask or use my name, it was all 'you over there on "Polo", keep your heels down', and I never had the same teacher twice, pretty poor form IMO). Use your instinct and find a place which feels right, has happy, mucky children, staff and ponies around the place and makes lessons fun as well as instructional, that's your happy spot Grin

Good luck and happy to answer any questions?

1990s · 26/12/2020 17:09

I started again after at least 15 years off, having ridden regularly until I was 18ish.

It’s coming back very quickly! The biggest problem is lacking strength, but I remember exactly what it should feel like and how to get there.

First lesson was trotting on the right diagonal without having to think, cantering 20 metre circles etc. Doing a lot of work on turns and transitions now, but by the end of each hour lesson the horse is more collected and moving more towards working in an outline.

monkeycc · 28/12/2020 20:27

Similar situation but not identical... I had my own pony as a teen (non-horsey parents), didn't ride much at uni or in my 20s then started up again as my turning-30 resolution. Now 40 with (just) 4yo and a 2yo plus a superb loan horse (welsh D x TB) and my second pony Grin, which I bought for my (then) 3yo this summer.
She's quite a decent little rider already; can do rising trot and can canter on the lead rein. She also likes leading her sister (the pony is a saint).
It is a bit of a time-suck but both my DDs love the pony and I think once I can ride and lead one of them unaccompanied it'll be much easier. It's great to teach eldest responsibilities; she measures out the supplements at dinner time and mixes the feeds (we share duties with owners), she helps poo-pick in summer and stuffs hay bins in winter.

MispyM · 28/12/2020 20:49

@Bettyboop82

I agree, I really should! I'm not in the UK so the bhs approved recommendation unfortunately isn't applicable here.

I might ask one of my aunts.

I suppose my oldest aunt would have a network but her "farm" center is just not what I'm looking for.
I've visited and it didn't even make me consider riding again... Just made me feel uncomfortable. I'm therfore a bit dubious about what she'd suggest. 🤷🏼‍♀️ (I guess I'm actually glad that she isn't close enough. Now that I actually consider the situation.)

your instinct and find a place which feels right, has happy, mucky children, staff and ponies around the place and makes lessons fun as well as instructional, that's your happy spot grin

Yes, that's exactly what I'd love to find!!

And DS does seem to love horses. He was absolutely taken with the mini shetties but also the other horses. Us leaving broke his little heart...

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