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Help! My seven year old wants to event!

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  • Help! My seven year old wants to event!


    I a past life I evented here in Ontario and now my seven year old daughter, who has to date only done the hunters on her small pony really wants to event.

    I didn't start eventing till I was in my early teens and so I really have no idea what to do with a little one. Should I start looking for an eventing barn or should we stick with the hunter's till she is a little older. She keeps telling me that it would be completely reasonable for her to do pre-entry. I think I finally get how my mum felt when I switched to eventing (heart in mouth).

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

  • #2
    What is most important is that she get a good solid riding education, regardless of discipline.

    There are tadpole-level events that she could do, that would not be scary for her or for you.

    Is there a good pony club nearby? I would look around for an eventing trainer that has kids. If you find a good one, terrific - if not, then let her stay where she is until you find a good pro who can take her out cross-country schooling.
    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


    • #3
      Horseymum... my daughter just did her first event as an 8 year old and did fantastic. The key is to have a super trustworthy pony that your daughter can handle. I would switch her over to an event coach, we did and it was the best thing for her.


      • Original Poster

        Thanks for the speedy replies!

        The current pony is pretty bombproof and has done a bit of eventing at a local eventing barn in the past. I would happily move her there but the coach won't take them till they are 9, so I think that we stay where we are for the next couple of years and concentrate on the hunter stuff, which isn't bad basic horsemanship really. I guess the next issue would be where to look for a fantastic, proven small pony that events. Any ideas?


        • #5
          Don't they have Pony Club in Canada?
          Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


          • Original Poster

            They do, but unfortunately the local chapter folded two years ago due to parental bad behaviour as far as I can tell. We could go to the closest chapter but it is quite a hike. I am a stay at home mum and am seriously tempted to try to start our local chapter up again.


            • #7
              where are you located - Dreamcrest takes kids as young as 6 in lessons - I would start with some combined events so she has a chance to get into the dressage part.


              • Original Poster

                We are in London....I don't think that it would be an issue if we lived closer to Toronto but we seem to have a preponderance of Hunter barns here. where is dreamcrest?


                • #9
                  Get her out in the country as frequently as you can. Pony Club did nothing for my 'enthusiastic' 7/8 year old so I took her hacking with me then sent her out into the woods alone as often as we could manage it. Often the pony came home alone (or she did!) and we'd have to go search for him but it was all good. I took her to a huge corn field for gallops-as she stretched it out along the long sides I'd motion with an arm to get going and she'd step on the gas. We were lucky to live in hunt country so the woods were filled with stone walls with logs on top. Then to hunter paces then finally to one-day horse trials. It is all about confidence and she needs to get out into open spaces to gain that. Mine kept up with her hunter barn lessons for a while but it grew very old very quickly once she was galloping corn fields! ;-)
                  Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by RiverBendPol View Post
                    Get her out in the country as frequently as you can. Pony Club did nothing for my 'enthusiastic' 7/8 year old so I took her hacking with me then sent her out into the woods alone as often as we could manage it. Often the pony came home alone (or she did!) and we'd have to go search for him but it was all good. I took her to a huge corn field for gallops-as she stretched it out along the long sides I'd motion with an arm to get going and she'd step on the gas. We were lucky to live in hunt country so the woods were filled with stone walls with logs on top. Then to hunter paces then finally to one-day horse trials. It is all about confidence and she needs to get out into open spaces to gain that. Mine kept up with her hunter barn lessons for a while but it grew very old very quickly once she was galloping corn fields! ;-)
                    This. Do this. If you can't get her in with an eventing coach for a couple of more years, make sure she doesn't get stuck in the ring. Get her out! Let her gallop around and have fun. Let her go our bareback. If YOU evented, there are probably some tips and tidbits you remember that you can start instilling in her. But definitely get her out of the ring and out in the country, as much as you can! I think this is the best thing for ANY KID to do, but definitely one who wants to try eventing.

                    And while having an event coach is helpful, I don't see why a kid who's jumping around solidly on a pony couldn't go do a wee w/t test, pop around a cross rail show jumping course, and trot/canter around a little logs-on-the-ground xc course!

                    Never hurts to invest in some PC manuals, and get her some fun Burghley, Badminton, and Rolex videos to watch!


                    • #11
                      Do you have a hunt nearby? Room to hack out? For a little tiny kid, a few logs, brush piles, fake ditches and tiny jumps set on top of little hills can be tackled safely with a good pony, giving her some of the requisite "out of the ring" skills she'll need for starters. Schooling days at local HT venues can also give her a taste of riding actual courses. And she can practice dressage any time!

                      A trip to Rolex would probably send her into horsey heaven.
                      Click here before you buy.


                      • #12
                        My daughter was older than yours by a couple of years but we started out slowly and safely at the super low levels. There is a local event that has a Green as Grass division that actually has the jumps in the breezeway between the paddocks so there wasn't even much steering necessary and the dressage ring had a real fence around it.
                        McDowell Racing Stables

                        Home Away From Home


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by horseymum View Post
                          We are in London....where is dreamcrest?
                          Dreamcrest is in Port Perry, so kind of needlessly far for you guys to travel at this stage in your daughter's eventing career.

                          I think it's tricky at the age she's at right now. I have seen teeny-tiny kids riding around at combined events and having tons of fun, but I also think getting out and doing the hunters give kids a good base for when they do move on to eventing. Like others have said, even if she can't start now, then she can do other things that will prepare her for later on.


                          • #14
                            since she already has a base in jumping if she is doing hunters, I would get look at getting some dressage lessons in the mix - learning the ins and outs of that will give her an appreciation for the sport in that it is not just all about the jumping.


                            • Original Poster

                              Wow! Thanks for all the advice everyone! I also think that she should just be out galloping around. Unfortunately our barn doesn't really have lots of area for hacking, In the spring I will start taking her to a local place that does have lots of area for her to just get out and go. We do have a local hunt and I think I might have a look at that in the new year as well. I also really don't want her to get stuck in the ring, it can end up just killing things. The advice is really, really helpful, thanks again so much. I will also have a look at local dressage coaches who takes little ones.


                              • #16
                                In the London area the unrecognized eventing circuit (including 2013 schedule) can be found here:


                                I would contact those barns/trainers to discuss your options. I seem to recall seeing a couple little kids out cross-country for the little divisions but I'm not sure who they belong to.


                                • #17
                                  My daughter is 7 going on 8 this year and I hope to get her to her first event this year. Her pony has done it before and I think mixing the disciplines keeps her interested rather than doing the same thing all of the time. Yes, find a good instructor who is good and encouraging with kids to keep it fun. Best wishes.
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                                  • #18
                                    I completed my first recognized BN event when I was late in my 8th year, a little less than a year after I started riding, on a 15 hand, 6 year old Appy.

                                    I had a WONDERFUL pony club, a great eventing instructor – and a fearless attitude! It can be done, I am glad I got my start out on the XC field rather than stuck in a hunter ring.

                                    Depending on your kiddo’s size, she may not need a little pony. I was glad I got my start on a 15 hand hony, as I didn’t outgrow him right away (in fact, years down the road, I ended up doing prelim with him!)

                                    And I agree – GET OUT OF THE RING, and go gallop, and jump, and play. I wasn’t in a “training barn” when I was little, I had a weekly lesson, and galloped in the woods and jumped logs with my friends – gave me confidence, a tight seat, and lifelong riding skills.
                                    APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman