5 hints for introducing kids to horseback riding

October 13, 2015

For children, horseback riding often represents adventure and excitement, but perhaps also a daunting new experience. Here are 5 tips for introducing your child to this sport and helping them develop a love for horses.

5 hints for introducing kids to horseback riding

1. Introduce your kids early

Although you may not want a 4-year-old riding a horse, you can bring your child to a stable to pet horses, watch other riders, attend riding events and give your kid a chance to grow their love for horses. For most children, it's fine for them to start riding at age 7, but starting earlier is sometimes acceptable for children who show the proper maturity levels.

2. Find the right stable

When choosing a stable or club where you want your child to ride and take lessons, you should be on the lookout for a few signs, including a wide selection of horses and horse sizes. Normally, children should start with a horse that's appropriate for their size, with smaller horses offering a good start to a young rider. You also want to ensure the stables look clean, the facility is well organized and the horses are well groomed.

3. Find a good instructor

It's not just about finding the right atmosphere and riding conditions for your child – ensuring your child has the right instructor is just as important. A good instructor can match your child to the right horse; teach how to properly approach a horse, mount and dismount; and ultimately help instill a deep respect for horses and the sport of horseback riding. Consider watching instructors provide lessons to other children to get an idea of how they're interacting with the child and the horse.

For very young children, the instructor will likely guide their horse or at least hold a lead line while your child rides. However, for older children, they can usually start working toward riding on their own relatively quickly. In the end, your instructor will likely set the pace of lessons based on your child's safety needs and abilities.

4. Use the right equipment

Horses are big animals and there is some inherent risk to riding. However, there is much you can do to minimize that risk by ensuring your child has the proper riding equipment. All of the equipment you need can either be rented or purchased, and is available in a wide range of sizes for various age groups.

Ensure your child has an ASTM/SEI certified helmet, a crash vest, good riding boots and a comfortable pair of riding pants. You can later purchase other items such as riding gloves, saddle pads and grooming kits once your child becomes more involved in the sport.

5. Join clubs and organizations

It's also an excellent idea to enroll your child in the Canadian Pony Club (CPC), which is an organization that is specifically geared toward encouraging children to ride. Through the CPC, your child can receive riding tips and manuals for proper horse grooming, as well as obtaining the latest information on the sport of horseback riding. The CPC also helps organize competitions and events, so you can consider entering your child once they develop their horseback riding skills.

You can also think about signing up your child for summer camps where there's a focus on riding, as these can provide plenty of summertime fun and riding experience.

Ultimately, horseback riding can help children learn sportsmanship, how to work with others and lessons about responsibility. With the tips above, you will hopefully succeed in introducing your child to the wonderful world of horse riding.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
Close menu