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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 7, 1999
    Location
    Beneath an Orange Sky
    Posts
    2,194

    Default how old was your child when-

    you first put him/her on a horse?

    My daughter just turned 1, she is pretty well coordinated (been walking since 9mo).
    I was thinking I might start taking her for pony rides this summer on my gentle older mare (with helmet of course, and another person to lead).

    Any advice would be appreciated- she's our first and only, so no prior experience with toddlers on horseback!
    ****Indecision may or may not be my problem****



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul. 16, 2003
    Posts
    2,987

    Default

    I don't have kids, but I vault with a group that has a lot of toddlers come for drop-in lessons or on the team. I think the youngest have been around 2 1/2, and they start out double, with Mom or one of the older classmembers up there with them. They start out walk only for at least the first few times. Some of them do compete at the walk on their own, after they've been doing it for a few months, but with a spotter/instructor right there next to them.
    Stay me with coffee, comfort me with chocolate, for I am sick of love.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct. 3, 2007
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    5,050

    Default

    DD started lessons at 3 and kept it up until she was 5 and growing mobility of of 3rd daughter made it too difficult. She was quite bitter until age 9 or 10 when I was able to get her started again.

    At age 3 she was mostly being led around although she did learn to steer and stop at the walk. By 5 she was steering over poles and doing a little trot work. I can't remember how consistent we were back then but she loved it.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr. 10, 2008
    Posts
    660

    Default

    My oldest DD was 14 months (on pony being led, someone walking next to her).....now, at almost 4 she routinely asks to ride my just-OTTB (NO WAY!!)....youngest was about the same age.

    Both are horse crazy....might be because DH and I are equine vets and they've been around horses their entire lives.....



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun. 14, 2006
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    11,372

    Default

    My friend's little girl started riding w/ me at 1 1/2...probably would've sooner had we all met sooner.

    I was on a horse from about the day I was born...took naps in a backpack thingy while mom trail rode.

    Earlier the better as far as I'm concerned as long as you're taking good safety precautions.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  6. #6
    Join Date
    May. 21, 2004
    Location
    N. TX...just N.East of paradise...
    Posts
    2,026

    Default

    I think he was 3, and just rode my gelding on my bareback pad for a minute, in circles, with me and daddy at side. He was scared of the horses then, but watching the Triple Crown races made him want to be like a jockey LOL (he'll never be jockey sized past the age of probably 11)...

    This year, at age 5, he's decided he wants to go trail riding with me on his pony, but had to be western like mom's saddle, same color too We'll see how long this lasts. Anyone got a cheap 12" western medium oil saddle that might get used 5 times?
    "As a rule we disbelieve all the facts and theories for which we have no use."- William James
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Proud member of the Wheat Loss Clique.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    May. 7, 2009
    Posts
    1,419

    Default

    My kids have all been babies, pretty much from the time they were old enough to sit up. We had a basket when they were really small. And they rode double with us when we were cooling out a horse from about a year old. they all had helmets, and were never alone until they could steer and stop.
    Dd is now 6 and walks trots canters and jumps her made and green pony. Its NEVER too soon as long as you are careful! And finding the first PERFECT pony is so much fun!!
    Kim
    If you are lucky enough to ride, you are lucky enough.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 22, 2008
    Location
    Outside Ocala FL - Horse Capital of the World
    Posts
    6,190

    Default

    My DD sat in the saddle in front of me for her first rides at 10 months of age. We did not do that very often, and I remember when she was old enough to talk and came out for a ride, when I said that Peppy was done, she said "I don't think so!", so we had to walk one more circuit of the ring to appease her. She was in her first lead line class at a schooling show when she was two months shy of 3 years old. Here is a picture of us:

    http://pic90.picturetrail.com/VOL214.../350826009.jpg

    She has always had excellent balance, and I credit my husband for that, when she was old enough to sit up on her own, he would put her up on his shoulders, and trot and gallop through the house with her. He did this until she got too big for that game.

    I taught my daughter to ride on my 15.2 hand saint of a QH, and all lessons were on a lead line until she was about 6 years old.
    There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug. 22, 2005
    Posts
    3,788

    Default

    My mom had me up on a horse before I was six months old. When I got big enough to not need somebody hanging on to my leg, mom would set me up on one of the gentle horses whenever she had to be doing anything around them. She figured the odds of a horse accidentally stepping on me would be greater than the odds of me getting tossed.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr. 28, 2004
    Location
    Saratoga Springs, NY
    Posts
    4,550

    Default

    very first 'ride'? TimexJr was 6 weeks old, and we plopped him on top of the Old Grey Nag (holding on to him of course) and took a few pics of him 'riding'. the look on the OGNs face was priceless. but pretty much as soon as he could sit with some semblance of balance we'd do pony rides, and let him do more and more as his motor skills progress. he's 6 now, w/t, has cantered once or twice, steers pretty well and does pretty well at the local gymkana in his Pee Wee division.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb. 26, 2010
    Location
    Charlotte, North Carolina
    Posts
    126

    Default

    I waited until my son told me he wanted to ride. That's just me though. My son's 5 years old.
    You know, everybody thinks we found
    this broken-down horse and fixed him,
    but we didn't. He fixed us. Every one of us.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    May. 9, 2005
    Location
    Chattanooga, Tennessee
    Posts
    3,564

    Default

    We had my oldest (now 2.5yrs) up for pictures very very young (holding her from the ground), and she's been tooling around on the lead line with a side walker since about 12mo. Last summer (18mo-2yrs) she showed leadline on a SAINT of an old show pony, and was starting to steer and stop at the walk on her own (with pony still on a lead, just starting to think about it) and she could post the walk a bit. Taking the winter off because its not fun for ANYONE, though she askes to ride daily! This spring-fall we'll be doing the same thing as long as she asks to do it. My youngest (11mo) has sat a few times, but he'd rather crawl around chasing the cats. lol If he ever wants to ride (and we'll keep low key offering as he gets old enough to know whats going on), it's there, if not, no biggie!



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan. 31, 2003
    Posts
    18,472

    Default

    I think I controlled myself until LMEqT was about 6 months old. Of course she was riding in utero prior to that LOL

    She didn't get off the lead line tho' until she was five and wanted to do so. Things progressed pretty fast after that!
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    ---
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun. 28, 2003
    Location
    KY, USA
    Posts
    1,933

    Default

    6 months (holding her, of course). Riding on her own balance at 18 months being led (and jumped her first ditch at that age; thought I'd killed my baby when I felt the pony collect and jump, I didn't see the 6" furrow in the lawn. When I looked back, she was solidly in the saddle and grinning ear to ear, saying "Do 'gain Daddy!"). Riding on her own at 3-4, lead line classes at 4-5 (she'd ride the pony on her own up to the ring, then her sister would clip a lead to her for the class), solid season showing a 1500 pound AQHA horse at 6, canter classes with a double bridle ASB Pleasure at 7 (legs too short to cue the canter so she taught him canter cues from the whip), hunters at 8, and has evented ever since. Prelim at 14, Intermediate/NAYRC at 17, advanced at 20; now riding/training professionally/full time. Be careful what you wish for.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan. 9, 2006
    Location
    GA
    Posts
    2,381

    Default

    I put mine on with me or a family member since they were 6 weeks old. Now, keep in mind, that my daddy and or my uncle, both experienced horsemen, were there with me, and I was on dead broke horses.

    I gotta tell this one though. I was leading my buddy's retired saint of a barrel mare through my back yard with my then 2.5 nearly 3 yr old dd on her. DD was tiny, and the mare was an easy 16.1 I let go of the bridle for some reason, and when I turned back, Jamie had turned Misty away from me and those little legs were just pounding away like butterflys on crack. Misty just was not even noticing (how could she, Jamie's legs didn't even reach the fenders of the stirrups good) and was just walking on along slow and easy as always. I asked Jamie where she was going. Her little reply? "I gonna run a barrel Mommy." I wish I had had a picture. That mare was such a saint.
    http://community.webshots.com/album/548368465RfewoU[/url]

    She may not have changed the stars from their courses, but she loved a good man, and she rode good horses….author unknown



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep. 1, 2006
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    176

    Default

    My little one went for her first ride around 6 months of age. Sitting in front of Mommy with Daddy walking nearby. She is 19 months old now.

    My mare walks likes she is on eggshells when the little one is on her back. She loves to ride with Mommy leading and Daddy spotting. Her little head is just now large enough to fit her cute little helmet. She says whoa and giddy-up complete with a tush push. LOL



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug. 17, 2004
    Location
    Rixeyville, VA
    Posts
    6,554

    Default

    We teach leadline lessons on our Fjords. Our starting age is 4, but I know I have had some 3 1/2 year olds sneak in. All horses are on a leadline. The kids learn to walk, turn, halt, back, and go over ground poles, They do trail stuff, like putting letters in a mail box. They learn to trot in hand (instructor, not parent dealing with the trot.) Lessons are 30 minutes.

    Going off line is a bigger issue because of physical development and emotional maturity of the rider. Horses are not like robots and a number of the younger kids get frustrated with it. Of course they don't have the strength or skills to correct some of the behavior, either. I have pretty saintly horses, but they are horses, not robots.
    Where Norwegian Fjords Rule
    http://www.ironwood-farm.com



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2002
    Location
    PA, where the State motto is: "If it makes sense, we don't do it!".
    Posts
    11,088

    Default

    Before you start your one year old on horseback you might want to confer with someone who is certified to teach riding in a therapeutic setting. At one the child's skeletal system may not be able to handle the stress of riding.

    I have a smattering of therapeutic experience and I do know there is sufficient instability you can have a snap between the T-1 and T-2 vertebrae that can result in death.

    Before anyone jumps on me-- it's better to be safe than to create sadness where it doesn't have to occur..... At your daughter's age there is more to worry about than simply using a helmet....
    "Good gardening is very simple, really. You just have to learn to think like a plant." ~Barbara Damrosch~



  19. #19
    Join Date
    May. 3, 2006
    Posts
    11,568

    Default

    about 6 weeks I think.

    For certain my eldest grandson was 4 weeks old when he was first popped on board.

    I teach children and including tots so what do you want to know?



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2006
    Posts
    718

    Default

    They say a child can get shaken baby syndrome if they are less then 3 years old.

    A baby should at least be able to hold up their head!

    And consider that one little mis-step and the child could fall. This would do alot more damage to a baby vs. an adult.

    Then consider who is the pony ride for you or the BABY.


    My friend put her 3 year old on he slipped off. He lay in a coma for 3 days. He is OK, but is it really worth it.
    The View from Here



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