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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brownstone View Post
    Those of you who know me could have guessed I would chime in when I started getting texts about this thread.
    My daughter, Annabelle, is the one you all are debating. She is 4 years old and wants nothing more than to ride 10 ponies each day. I keep her on her 28 year old, famous, packer pony, Violet and she has been riding her since April. She loves grooming, washing, riding, and watching all the lessons. To say I am pushing her would be a gross assumption.
    She showed in leadline at Upperville and Devon and didn't want to do it anymore. She loves to jump and her pony takes care of her.
    If I am at the ring reminding middle aged women the course, is there a problem with reminding my 4 year old daughter the course?
    I am certainly offended that "horsewomen should not produce" since clearly that was directed toward me.

    here is her course from the week before. Perfectly safe and received great ribbons.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=wKcsaCUe9Ts

    ~Brooke Brown
    Brownstone Farm
    I think your daughter will be a fierce competitor!!! She has a great pony kick in her!!!

    One suggestion: lower her stirrups. Her legs are way too up, I bet she just had a growth spurt just prior to the show. She'll have a better balance and be able to lower her heels more easily.

    Good luck for the futur
    and next time (hoping there won't be) please keep yourself anonymous.



  2. #42
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    May. 5, 2009
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    Location: Indiana, but my heart is in Zone II
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    Default Oh geez, the pony-mom lynch mob....

    OP was generic and vague. No one would have known who the child was had not the MOTHER/trainer come on to defend herself and post a video. Obviously, someone has mentioned this before to ring such a bell to the mother/trainer. Apparently, from the other mother-trainers chiming in, it could have been quite a few people in the OP. No one was picking the kid apart. Posting a video of the child is what made it personal.
    Come to the dark side, we have cookies


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  3. #43
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    No offense intended, but the pony looks like a fantastic wind up toy...child looks like a bouncy, unstable passenger. I'd hate to see what happens if the pony stubs a toe or a dog runs into the ring!!! Just my unsolicited 2 cents. Your kid, not mine.
    www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
    Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma


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  4. #44
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    Sep. 4, 2012
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    Default When is a rider too young?

    The age at which a rider begins jumping is a decision made by the rider's parents & trainer and is dependent upon the pony, the course, the skill of the rider and the rider's willingness/comfort level with jumping. Life requires taking risks, riding is one way for children to learn how to make good decisions and assess their risk in situations - skills that will serve them well throughout their lives. However, to directly address concerns raised on this topic, both founded and unfounded, I offer the following.

    I've know Brooke Brown for three years, which is when my daughters, then ages 3 & 6, began taking riding lessons from her. At no time has either of them been put in an unsafe situation in or out of the ring. At no time has Brooke ever pushed them to do anything while riding/caring for their ponies. In fact, she has often delayed advancing to the next level whenever their confidence exceeded their competence. I've spent most of whatever non-work time I had in the last 3 years either at Brownstone Farm or at a horse show with Brooke. Safety is always at the forefront of all riding activity under Brooke's watch. By default, I've watched her daughter grow as both a person and as a rider. I've watched her perform 2' O/F courses prior to this recent weekend at Ludwig's Corner, all without incident. Brooke would never place her daughter in an unsafe situation, whether on a pony, a bicycle or a swing set. Annabelle was the one who wanted to jump and Brooke adequately prepared her to do so. Based on the results of her recent O/F trips, she is more than ready for this level of riding.

    Whether the rider is 4 or 64, if a pony decides to "run off" or otherwise become uncontrollable, no amount of strength is going to bring the pony under control. I've seen adults unable to control both their children and their dogs, the amount of their strength mattered not. Any time you're riding, you run the risk of injury but to not ride to avoid the risk would be cheating yourself of a great experience. One of the lessons we're teaching our girls is intelligent risk management; Brooke is doing likewise with her daughter.

    I also know and am familiar with the work of the individual who posted a video of her children riding at a young age. This trainer's results speak for themselves and speak volumes. She too would never place a child in a situation for which the rider hadn't been adequately prepared.

    Most of the concern expressed by others while understandable is terribly misplaced. What you should be concerned with is having to compete with riders trained by either of these women. That's a risk you may want to weigh carefully but if you choose to compete, you better cinch up your boots good & tight and bring your best.

    Based on what I've read of these posts, I'm reminded of the saying "A sharp tongue does not mean you have a keen mind."



  5. #45
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    Mar. 11, 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerome View Post
    The age at which a rider begins jumping is a decision made by the rider's parents & trainer and is dependent upon the pony, the course, the skill of the rider and the rider's willingness/comfort level with jumping. Life requires taking risks, riding is one way for children to learn how to make good decisions and assess their risk in situations - skills that will serve them well throughout their lives. However, to directly address concerns raised on this topic, both founded and unfounded, I offer the following.

    I've know Brooke Brown for three years, which is when my daughters, then ages 3 & 6, began taking riding lessons from her. At no time has either of them been put in an unsafe situation in or out of the ring. At no time has Brooke ever pushed them to do anything while riding/caring for their ponies. In fact, she has often delayed advancing to the next level whenever their confidence exceeded their competence. I've spent most of whatever non-work time I had in the last 3 years either at Brownstone Farm or at a horse show with Brooke. Safety is always at the forefront of all riding activity under Brooke's watch. By default, I've watched her daughter grow as both a person and as a rider. I've watched her perform 2' O/F courses prior to this recent weekend at Ludwig's Corner, all without incident. Brooke would never place her daughter in an unsafe situation, whether on a pony, a bicycle or a swing set. Annabelle was the one who wanted to jump and Brooke adequately prepared her to do so. Based on the results of her recent O/F trips, she is more than ready for this level of riding.

    Whether the rider is 4 or 64, if a pony decides to "run off" or otherwise become uncontrollable, no amount of strength is going to bring the pony under control. I've seen adults unable to control both their children and their dogs, the amount of their strength mattered not. Any time you're riding, you run the risk of injury but to not ride to avoid the risk would be cheating yourself of a great experience. One of the lessons we're teaching our girls is intelligent risk management; Brooke is doing likewise with her daughter.

    I also know and am familiar with the work of the individual who posted a video of her children riding at a young age. This trainer's results speak for themselves and speak volumes. She too would never place a child in a situation for which the rider hadn't been adequately prepared.

    Most of the concern expressed by others while understandable is terribly misplaced. What you should be concerned with is having to compete with riders trained by either of these women. That's a risk you may want to weigh carefully but if you choose to compete, you better cinch up your boots good & tight and bring your best.

    Based on what I've read of these posts, I'm reminded of the saying "A sharp tongue does not mean you have a keen mind."
    This was a GENERAL thread before mom came and posted videos of her daughter riding.

    Of course, if an animal really decides they don't want you on, there's not MUCH you can do. But people aren't talking about the pony running away. They're talking about it TRIPPING, or slightly spooking or any number of little tiny things that could go wrong that a rider who is old enough to have control of his/her body would be able to recover from.

    To me, the little girl did not look like she was secure enough to be riding a 2' course by herself. The second one did.
    My CANTER cutie Chip and IHSA shows!
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  6. #46
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    She rides better than a lot of the older adults! Great pony, and although her position isnt "tight" she sure looks balanced. Personally I think she is a lucky kid to have this kind of opportunity at such a young age. She rides well.

    As far as if "something goes wrong", well,it does for adults too. Except adults break easier than kids, and a day/week off work is more stressful than a day/week of school



  7. #47
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    And the second child - don't know that one's age...looks like a capable, tight seated rider using a 1/2 seat, crest release over every jump, steering and adjusting her lovely pony. Expertise DOES come with age/maturity/muscle development and experience. I don't begrudge the parent for giving the child riding/show experience, but I would limit the risk. You wouldn't let a kid drive a car just because they wanted to.
    www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
    Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma


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  8. #48
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    Jun. 20, 2009
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    I'm sure the kid is having fun. If a 4yr old doesn't want to ride....I'm sure there would be major tantrums and the whole show grounds would hear it

    However, what scares me about this situation....is that children this young are often "top heavy". The head is proportionally bigger/heavier on their body than an adults.....and when you add the weight of the helmet. You get the "bobble head" effect. If this kid falls, she likely will land on her head/neck because of the weight. She is not secure in her heals and does not have a stable base.



  9. #49
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    To answer the title question, a rider is too young when they're not ready for what they're doing. that could mean a chronological age of 4 or 54.

    My own child started riding at 4, was cantering and starting to jump by 5. Her first OF classes were at 6. She's now 10 and schooling 2'6" at home. We made sure that she was well mounted on a safe pony (happened to be a large, too) that took care of her, that she had well fitting tack and had the basics down. She was also one of the youngest kids at the barn at that time, so had a bunch of slightly older kids to look up to.

    It stuns me that several people said that kids shouldn't be jumping much of anything before 10. Or that they keep kids on a line until they're 8. I see kids at shows all the time by these ages that are more than capable of riding over 2' or higher fences. Speaking for my own, I truly believe that, had I tried to keep her from progressing she would have stopped riding. i have never pushed her- she's had setbacks in confidence and we've let her go at her pace when that happened. I think those times have made her a stronger rider, in fact, as she focused on strengthening her basics instead of focusing on jump height.
    A proud friend of bar.ka.



  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hunter Mom View Post
    It stuns me that several people said that kids shouldn't be jumping much of anything before 10. Or that they keep kids on a line until they're 8.
    Here, have some smelling salts. It's lovely that your kid is an Olympics-bound child prodigy. It's lovely that mine's a weekend warrior, with trainers that give her instruction appropriate to her age and experience. Let's all take a deep breath, shall we?


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  11. #51
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    Apr. 8, 2010
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    I've posted on here before about what I do because I think it's unique. . . I only take the young children (3-12). . .then when they have either advanced past what I will teach, or are over 12 (however I really don't "kick" anyone out). I have a good program because I know what works. .. .

    but, with that being said, here is what I know. . ..

    the three year olds that I teach, most of them it will take 3 years to accomplish what I can teach an 8 year old in one year.

    Their attention spans don't last for more then 20 minutes.

    It is the children who own their own ponies, lease that wind up with the ability to ride courses at a young age. . .. usually on saintly ponies too!

    My kids who really really love it and don't always want to take the "easy" way out with the made ponies are my riders who are now very capable riders at 7-8-9 year olds. (Ponies by no means are unsafe, just not the push button).

    I have one push button pony that 80% of my kids beg to ride week after week .. . .at some point I say that they have "graduated" from that pony and are only able to ride them once in a while for a "fun" ride. .. . Most of the time the kids struggle to ride well on the "tougher" ponies, but eventually they "get" it. After they learn how to really ride and are no longer being a passenger it is so much more fun for them. . ..my kids who are "riders" would look at me as if I'm crazy if I put them on the packer pony now because it would bore them to tears.

    What do I think of the little girl at the show? I do not think she is ready for a 2ft hunter course. There is no rush. If the child is bored (and I have some little ones like that). I think there are other options. I think the little girl would have been just as happy with a mini stirrup type crossrail class around the outside.



  12. #52
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    Sep. 12, 2006
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    I think the person who asked whether or not you'd allow another of your students (not your daughter) to do this at this age/level, is a very valid question that deserves some thought. Why or why not?

    I have to say my DD grew the most as a rider between 8 and 9, it was simply amazing, she went from a passenger to a rider in that one year, thanks in part to the green pony she had to deal with. She'll be 10 in a month and now she's quite capable of piloting her green medium pony around a course of 2'6"-2'9" at home and jumping 3'+ cross country. So there is definitely an age at which they really start to come along and have the physical tools and strength to really "ride", and while it's not necessarily 15, it's well past 4. There's nothing wrong with starting early, but I think we as parents and trainers need to put them in the best position for them to have nothing but positive experiences while they are so young and impressionable, at least if we want them to enjoy a life with horses.



  13. #53
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    Jan. 25, 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by mizchalmers View Post
    My 9yo is walking and trotting solo, learning to canter on the line. Trotting poles on the ground. She had a few lessons last year but wasn't really strong or focused enough. Striking how much more progress she has made this year.
    There is a big difference, too, between a kid who started riding at 4 and one who started at 8, and between one who has their own horse and one who takes a few lessons. It's all about the individual kid and the specific situation. Different kids have different aptitudes, different attention spans, different levels of physical strength. None better or worse, just that they can progress at varying levels due to these differences.

    Quote Originally Posted by mizchalmers View Post
    Here, have some smelling salts. It's lovely that your kid is an Olympics-bound child prodigy. It's lovely that mine's a weekend warrior, with trainers that give her instruction appropriate to her age and experience. Let's all take a deep breath, shall we?
    Wow - just wow.

    So far, things have worked out well for us in finding good matches in horses and an awesome trainer - but I'm not saving up for Rio either! Like I said, around this area, it seems pretty status quo for kids who have been involved from a young age to be at her level at this time.
    A proud friend of bar.ka.



  14. #54
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    I just came across this thread. This is a touchy subject with me. My nieces are 6 and 8 this year. The 8 year old is just starting lessons, and not on my horses because I don't have the beginner type packer lesson horse. The 6 year old has to wait. I don't think she would be in control of a horse just yet. The child definitely needs to be in control of the horse.

    To me 4 is too young. Do not read this if you don't want to be upset by the truth. I am speaking from previous experience, where my friend lost her 4 year old son who was dragged by a pony and killed. The damage to his organs was to severe and he didn't make the flight to UofM. She had safety stirrups on, and that was not the issue. She used english reins thinking that was better in case he dropped the reins he still had them because they were buckled-instead of a split western rein. Well his foot was caught in the rein. The pony pushed through the round pen gate and went into the pasture and the boy fell off in the pasture and was dragged, and finally the headstall broke. So yes, 4 is definitely to young, a child cannot protect themself or get themself out of a bad situation like that. I know accidents happen, and that was rather freakish. But I really hesitate to put any child on any horse.

    I cringe when I see facebook friends posting pics of their small child sitting up on a horse for a picture without a helmet. They say it was only for a picture and that horse wouldn't do a thing. The worst I ever got hurt on a horse is when it slipped and fell and I broke my arm, no fault of the horses. The child really needs to be a rider more then a passenger kind of like Mayaty says.



  15. #55
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    I've never posted on here before but this made me want to.

    I starting riding, well sitting on a horse and being led around, at 2. By three I was happily walking my horse around by myself and trotting on the lead still. 4 I was wtc around off the lead, I'd even tag along when we were mustering cattle. I didn't jump but that's because my family wasn't a jumping family. By 5 I was playing polocrosse.
    Did I fall off? You bet I did! Did I lose my confidence? Maybe momentarily but if a kid wants to ride one or twenty falls isn't going to stop them. I used to fall off almost once a week doing silly kid things and the pony doing naughty pony things. I lost the fear of falling off. I think being allowed to ride as a kid and do what I wanted and not be restrained was the best thing for me. But obviously that's not every kid that was me.

    So when is a rider too young? As long as kid is loving it, pony is safe as possible then i don't see anything wrong with it.

    Oh and I just wanted to add. Who cares if the kid looks a little bit unstable she is a kid they are allowed to not do everything perfectly! I bet both of the kids in the clips are going to be the gutsiest little riders around in a couple of years. Something we need more of.



  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hunter Mom View Post
    Like I said, around this area, it seems pretty status quo for kids who have been involved from a young age to be at her level at this time.
    Like I said: that's really nice for you. Bless your heart.



  17. #57
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    Sep. 15, 2005
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    I run a small lesson program and I would say 90% of those that ride with me are under the age of 10. This summer I had a huge influx of people asking about lessons for their kids and was a bit shocked by the number of people that wanted to get their 4 year olds on a horse. I even had one lady ask about a 3 year old.
    Definitely too young IMO. Heck, at 3, a lot of children are just barely out of that toddler stage. I guess all children are different by I find that even 5 & some 6 year olds do struggle with riding and as someone else said, don't progress a lot. Some kids are just amazing at what they can do, if they REALLY love riding and want to do it, they're usually ok. But most don't a) have the attention span, b) have the cognitive ability/coordination and c) don't have the strength to really be doing riding lessons before 5/6. And even then, they get tired quick and can be frustrated easily. Heck I would too if I was still trying to figure out my own coordination and then add something else into the mix that has a mind of it's own...

    Basically a "lesson" for a kid under the age of 5, and sometimes even 5 year olds, is just a glorified pony ride with me leading. I mean heck, if you want to pay me to lead your kid around for 20 minutes and play some games with them, then I guess I should be all for it! Easy money! But that's not what I'm all about. *Most* kids, especially urban kids are like that, rural kids with horsey families tend to be able to do more.

    Anyways, moral of the story, most of my 5/6/7 year olds are only doing walk trot. There's a few that probably could canter but they're still a little nervous and confidence is the #1 important thing. If they get scared, it can take a looooong time to get it back. So we go slow, make sure they are having lots of FUN and go at their own pace. Sometimes a little push here or there is in order. I honestly can't imagine a 4 year old making it around a 2' hunter course, impressive and a bit scary when it comes to most of them!
    Last edited by Brigit; Sep. 5, 2012 at 04:18 PM.
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  18. #58
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    I have to say, I posted before I read the entire thread and saw the video. I'm pretty impressed by the little one in the first video. Sure, she's a little loose but she's not getting left behind, chucked up over the pony over the fences or landing on it's neck after the fence, I have kids much older that this one that still have a bit of trouble with their timing. She's also not losing her stirrups or letting her reins get too long and seems to have no issue controlling her pony. I'm quite impressed with this kid!

    Also, another factor to consider here too is the amount of riding a kid gets per week. The kids that only ever ride in lessons and only ever ride 1x per week, take a LOT longer to progress and improve. If this little one's mom is a trainer, this little girl is probably on a horse more than most of us adults in a week. I honestly find that sometimes, it's a great thing to give kids some "free time" to plunk around and get comfortable with themselves and their horses. The kids that I have that half lease horses from me usually start to improve leaps & bounds once they get a few more rides per week in.

    Lots of factors here to influence it all. Do I have any 4 year olds that would be safe doing this? Heck no. Not everybody is the same.
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  19. #59
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    Haven't read every word on this thread, but

    1)this started out as a pretty general thread. Those involved in the actual event are the ones that outed themselves.

    2)fortunately, the rider's mother is the trainer. Had this been a situation where this was a young client, a lawyer would have a field day if said kid got hurt. I wouldn't take a client that young.



  20. #60
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    Neither would I ponysize, I had to think long and hard about what my "minimum" age was. Even if I wanted to teach anyone younger than 5, I am not allowed to, my coaching insurance says the minimum age that I can teach is 5 and I'll bet the barn's insurance might say the same. So that makes it really easy when I have an eager mother on the phone wanting lessons for her little precious, I just tell her that my insurance won't allow it and to give me a call in a year when I'd be happy to start their kid in lessons. Definitely seems to go over a bit better. A lot of parents seem to think their kid is a super-child and can do anything and how dare I tell them they aren't strong enough/coordinated enough or have enough attention span! LOL
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