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Kids trail riding by themselves: O-kay?

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  • Kids trail riding by themselves: O-kay?

    I recently had to retire my son's mare, so I now only have two horses.

    Do you think it would be o-kay to let my son (15) and my daughter (13) take the horses on the trails by themselves? When I had the three horses, we always went together. The horses are trail safe and both kids are reasonably competent riders.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    I rode all over the countryside alone and with other kids at 15. I hacked to lessons, to the beach and through town to the public arena. If you are comfortable with your neighborhood, the kids are responsible and have cell phones you are light years ahead of where we were.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible

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    • #3
      Sure! I used to ride all over the place, on trails and just out and about. I rode to shows, sometimes alone, on a young TB mare. We went out in groups of kids about that age through the woods to a nearby ampatheater, a pond, a farmers market, etc... Some even went through the McDonalds drive through on horseback! (I never did). Have one or both take cell phones if it makes you feel better.
      http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fentre...24774504235082

      http://fentressfieldsequestriancenter.com/

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      • #4
        I rode all over by myself as a kid, starting about age 12. On trails, in the pasture, on roads to reach trails, etc. If your kids are sensible, have helmets and mobile phones they should be fine.

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        • #5
          My friends and I were in our early teens when we were riding all over the place by ourselves. The trails, fields, to the corner store.....
          Riding the winds of change

          Heeling NRG Aussies
          Like us on facebook!

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          • #6
            Count me as another who rode all over with my friends as a kid. I wish I could say we never got into trouble, but that wouldn't be exactly true.

            We did not, however, have any lasting consequences from said trouble. I would say, too, that we learned to be much better riders than we would have if we'd stayed with our instructors/parents all the time, as we had to solve our own problems and some of the sorts of "trouble" did lead to the development, by necessity, of nice, sticky seats.
            Proud member of the EDRF

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            • #7
              Yup, agreed.

              I rode from age 8 on the roads where I lived - on my own sometimes, but often with my sister 3 years older. It was not only great exercise for the ponies but also sooooo much fun! Granted, trouble was to be had, but isn't that part of being a kid?

              If the traffic isn't horrible and kiddies have a cell phone, I wouldn't panic and would add that you'll be giving them a sense of independence that is hard to acquire in this day and age.

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              • #8
                I did it, (no cell phone) It was great, but will admit, certainly not always safe. I personally think kids are safer out and about on horses than in cars.

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                • #9
                  I was wondering as I clicked on the topic how old the kids would be. I was riding alone with my brother on our saints of horses when we were about 6 or 7. (Yes, even I wonder about that...) We were not on roads, but rather trails with which we were quite familiar. There was no 'stranger danger' as we lived in the middle of nowhere. The biggest danger was falling off and having to find a way of getting back on. I remember my brother once getting a nosebleed - we stuffed his nose with dandelions and rode home
                  Blugal

                  You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng

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                  • #10
                    My best friend and I were trail riding all over the place at the ages of 12 and 13, long before the days of cell phones. If they are good, sensible riders and you know the horses are safe, I think they will be fine. It's such a great thing for kids and teens.

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                    • #11
                      Oh, shoot, at that age we were riding routinely bareback all over creation without adult supervision. Even took along tow sacks to hunt for tarantulas as occasional amusement.

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                      • #12
                        Safe horses, sensible kids, safe area, cell phones? They're fine! IMHO, that's where an awful lot of learning to ride happens anyhow.
                        A proud friend of bar.ka.

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                        • #13
                          I was hauling to the kennels today for a hunt and passed on the side of the road a maybe 11 year old girl riding her horse bareback, no helmet with the halter under the bridle. Her horse didn't have a care in the world. I thought any horse that will go out solo on a January day with a kid riding it bareback is a horse I would own!!

                          Cell phone and helmets- let the kids go ride and have fun!

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                          • #14
                            Obviously it depends on the kids and the horses but I'd say of course! I was a wild thing on horseback when I was little, my pals and I would take the riding lesson horses (NOT our own) and gallop hell-for-leather all over creation. We carried curry combs with us so we could get the horses cooled out and sweat off before returning to the barn! We also took off our HUNT CAPS as soon as we were out of sight of the stables. Probably just as well-if we had fallen off in those hats, they would have broken our noses!

                            My daughter was riding out alone by the time she was 8. Her (27 year old) hony came home alone a few times. Daughter would come back eventually, dragging her a$$ and FURIOUS she'd had to walk home! It was always a moment of sheer terror to see that bad pony wandering in from the woods alone.

                            The whole point of kids and horses is to teach compassion, relationship, responsibility, consequence, partnership, independence. Better to learn that stuff without the mother hovering, don't you think? You'll just miss out on all the fun of riding with your kids! I agree, that part is awful. My kid is 26 now and I really miss riding with her!
                            Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.

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                            • #15
                              Me too...I rode alone up in the canyons in Orange County when i was growing up. No cell phone, no water, no helmet *gulp*. If my daughter was competent, I'd let her go with a friend and cell phone and helmet for sure .

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                              • #16
                                My only worry when I let my 2 teenagers ride alone is "stranger danger". The trails we ride are used by a wide variety of people and some less than savory characters have been seen out and about. Other than that, they are a lot safer than I was at their age riding out by myself : )
                                Lapeer ... a small drinking town with a farming problem.
                                Proud Closet Canterer!

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Blugal View Post
                                  I was wondering as I clicked on the topic how old the kids would be. I was riding alone with my brother on our saints of horses when we were about 6 or 7. (Yes, even I wonder about that...) We were not on roads, but rather trails with which we were quite familiar. There was no 'stranger danger' as we lived in the middle of nowhere. The biggest danger was falling off and having to find a way of getting back on. I remember my brother once getting a nosebleed - we stuffed his nose with dandelions and rode home
                                  What a great solution from a pair of youngsters.

                                  Add me to those who was running around the neighborhood on horseback young and unsupervised.
                                  www.laurienberenson.com

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                                  • #18
                                    We rode all over as kids. As long as they have a cell phone with them, I'd think they would be fine.

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                                    • #19
                                      I did it - from the time I was 9 or 10. Often I was bareback and playing "Indian" in a rousing game of Cowboys & Indians. Some of my happiest memories are of all the fun we had as kids riding all over the countryside.

                                      My daughter has been riding out for years. I encourage the kids to go out sans adults. It is a good way to have fun and build confidence.

                                      I don't ever worry about stranger danger. She's on a horse, smart enough to stay away from anyone creepy and could certainly outrun anyone who made a grab for her.

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                                      • #20
                                        You know your kids best. If they are the reasonable sort that can problem solve in trail situations, are the responsible sort that will keep the horse and their own best interest at heart during the fun, and they have horses who are unlikely to do unreasonable things on the trail, let 'em go!

                                        Just make sure they have the right safety equipment (helmet, cell phone, clothing) and that you have an agreed-upon route and/or time limit, just like any other group setting out on a trail ride

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