My 8 year old daughter is showing an interest in riding with me (I confess I'm guilty of converting her to "the cult..." though she's been a "willing" inductee! ). We live in the far western part of Fairfax County. One barn where I used to ride in the area nearby no longer has an appropriate mount (read: pony or small horse) for her. The barn where I currently ride will not take young riders until they are 10; most of the current riders at my barn are young adults and adults, and knowing the horses, I can see how there isn't an appropriate mount for a child her age.

I started riding when I was 12. She'll be 8 next month. She isn't on the Pony Club/competition route (yet?!). She's been around the barn with me several times (while I did barn work and rode) to have barn basics (I've supervised her as she leads, grooms, etc., though she's still shy around the horses). I've given her a few lead line lessons myself, on a sweet old horse at my old barn, and she did well and enjoyed it. Sadly, that is no longer an option. I'm horseless at the moment and pay for my own rides, so I don't have my own horse to teach her myself, or else I would. Leasing one for both of us is not an option, financially, at this time.

Browsing through VirginiaEquestrian.com, I came across a few group lesson barns in the area. One in particular, Jumpin' Jax Farm in The Plains appears to have a good child program, kid-friendly, safety-focused, and affordable. I honestly don't know of any others.

Has anyone ridden-or has anyone had children in-the program at Jumpin' Jax? Or, can anyone PM me with recommendations of other kid friendly barns in the area west of Fairfax County? I know there are places in Nokesville and the environs south of us, but I'd rather avoid traffic and drive westward. I grew up with informal training at a local barn, riding anything I could, anywhere I could, having fun with it, rather than making it an uber-competitive showing stress-out. I want to give her the opportunity to have the same enjoyable experience, and if she sticks with it great, if not, no worries. (My son, on the other hand, will come to the barn, but it appears he's going to stick with kick ball and Legos!)

It would be great if I could find a barn with a beginner program for her AND an advanced program for me (I want to Event someday soon...) where we could both ride (and/or I could train/work/ride), but that may be down the road. Welcome any suggestions, thanks.