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Children helping at stables

6 replies

Stampyfeet · 12/08/2021 22:08

Not a TAAT but prompted by one Grin . How much supervision at a riding school should child ‘helpers’ be under? My 10 year old daughter has riding lessons and the stables have said it’s fine for her to come and help for half a day/ a day at weekends - there are a few kids that do it. Of course my daughter is now desperate to do this but what should I be asking about in terms of supervision? Essentially I want to make sure that, while they say it’s fine for kids to stay and help, she will be safe, and not at risk of getting bitten/kicked/trampled/other likely scenario. What do I need to ask?

OP posts:
lastqueenofscotland · 12/08/2021 22:12

In my experience they aren’t allowed to do much with the horses! It’ll be things like tack cleaning/sweeping. It’ll be the staff doing most of the hands on horse stuff

Stampyfeet · 12/08/2021 22:25

That would be absolutely fine with me Grin a few hours spent sweeping the yard / skipping out empty stables / tack cleaning, with the reward of being able to stroke a few horses over stable doors, is the ideal scenario as far as I’m concerned. I probably just need to ask them what their rules are and how they supervise.

OP posts:
Fishlegs · 12/08/2021 22:31

At the stables my kids go to, the helpers tack up the ponies and take them to and from the arenas for lessons, and they often help with leading beginners. They are under constant supervision by the staff, and have rules on when they can deal with the bigger horses and turn out and bring in the ponies (I think they have to be at least 14yo for the latter). It all feels very organised and safe.

maxelly · 13/08/2021 00:14

At our stable they aren't allowed to be helpers until they start secondary school so 11 as a minimum, but then as others have said the younger ones tend to either do non hands on tasks like tack cleaning, sweeping, filling buckets, tidying the boot room, poo picking the fields etc or they groom and tack up but under supervision of one of the older ones (16+) or a member of staff. When they are a bit older and more responsible they lead ponies on beginner lessons and may help with things like turn outs and bring ins which takes a bit more experience but there's always a member of staff in charge for these things too... I think there's very little more risk of them getting bitten or squashed compared to just doing regular lessons or pony days, and in the unlikely event something un-toward happened help would very swiftly come as when 'helping' they're usually in a pack and an adult not far away even when not actively supervising.

I put helping in inverted commas as I'm not sure how much actual work goes on at that age, they mostly seem to do a lot of running around, squirting the hose at one another and climbing up the hay barn until yelled at and made to desist Grin. TBH if I was going to worry about anything it would be about horseplay getting a bit over-enthusiastic or low-level teasing of one another when out of sight of the adults but that's all good healthy countryside childhood stuff - safer at the stables with something to occupy them than hanging around a local park anyway!

Deliaskis · 13/08/2021 16:07

I really think it helps to hang around a bit and see the dynamic between the kids already there. At our RS there are some older teens who are paid staff on the weekend and during holidays (who until last year were just helpers), then there's sort of a mid-teens group who are pretty smart and responsible and confident, although occasionally still get into a bit of a pickle and ask for help, and then younger ones from 10 up who only really do lower level tasks, filling haynets, taking small ponies up to arena and back, grooming, cleaning feed buckets etc. They are asked to have completed the RS level 1 stable management course before they can go and do this but there is no age stipulation. The great thing is that it really is quite a supportive place, and everybody seems comfortable asking for help when necessary and nobody gets left to do anything a bit difficult alone, particularly when it relates to the ponies (I'm looking at you 3 grumpy welshies who will never let 1 of your group out of your shared pen without making it clear you disapprove of the plan).

So to summarise.....spend a bit of time before or after a lesson just sort of observing how it works, then you can ask questions, and also prep your DD for the sorts of situation that might arise and what to do (I don't mean how to do horsey things, but if you get asked to xyz and you can't find abc then who would you ask...type thing).

Mumsnut · 13/08/2021 16:11

Have you got insurance for her normal rising? Will it cover this too?

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