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How to start a young kid with horses

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  • How to start a young kid with horses

    My son is coming up on 2yrs old and loves horses. I want to start him out and grow that love so he can at least trail ride with me at some point and make it a family thing

    Any suggestions?

    I know there are lead-line classes at shows for 3yr olds that I have heard about, but how do you start to get involved? Do I need to join a saddle club or 4H group?
    Owned by 1 horse, 2 dogs, 1 cat, my 7yo son, a 4yr old cowgirl, and my hubby!
    RIP Traveler & Tesla <3

  • #2
    Just teach him how to be safe around horses. You can't teach him to love them, they either do or don't. My daughter has been raised with them and loved them as a little one but has lost interest (started about 10 or 11 and now at 12 it's official, she's just not that in to them) - it's heart breaking for me. Sorry to be a downer - it's a sore subject I guess.
    .

    Comment


    • #3
      My little girl will be 2 in July. I have been putting her on horses since she could hold her head up. Granted - they were all dead broke, she was sitting with someone else when she was tiny and the horse was always on a lead line. She now rides a big QH gelding. She loves it! If we stop moving, I hear "Go Horsey! Cluck Cluck Cluck" Its to funny. I am hoping that money will be better next year for her to show in lead line with the 4H.

      In our area, you dont have to be a member of the 4H group to show. Its also considered an open schooling show. We have had people out there with there 10 month olds showing lead line!

      I would start on the ground tho. My little one loves to help me brush them and clean stalls! You should see her carry an empty water bucket! ha!

      BB
      Boomer's Hopes & Dreams
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      Tia - The Rescue
      RIP Boomer - May 21, 1989 - November 3, 2010

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      • #4
        hundredacres is right that you can't teach them to love horses, that either they will or they won't. My other kids never took to it though I got them a pony but I didn't really tap into their personalities with it all. My youngest is totally smitten and wants to ride and be at the barn 24/7, so go figure. But I do think it helped that when he was young, I took his personality into account and tapped into that for cues when it came to being around the horses. When he was little, he had a short attention span, so I'd just bring him out to the horses for a short while, not have him out at the barn for long periods so he didn't associate the horses with boredom. He loved trucks and machinery, power and speed, so I focused on pointing out parts of the horse, ligaments, tendons, muscles and how they worked, horse movement, things like that. I'd show him the guy on the tractor and talk footing in the arena. He likes math, so we talk strides, tracks, beats at each gait, etc. He's always loved people, so he took to the people around the barn as well. He loves music. When he was little, I'd recite horse poetry ("Listen, my children, and you shall hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere--hand drumming on the table in time to the beat) or sing in the car on the way to the barn: "A southerly wind and a cloudy sky, proclaiming a hunting morning...to horse, my friends and away..." "I like to take a horse and buggy as I go riding into town..." (complete with the hand drumming on the console in time to the beat of the canter in the song). We've even made up goofy opera using his horse's name since it's Italian-esque. Ridiculous? Yes. All completely goofy and silly, but he was little and we had fun. I think it helped him associate horses with happiness It all kind of crept into his soul, I guess. So, anyway, my suggestion is to tap into his personality and see what parts might connect with horses.

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thanks, Just looking for ideas on how to start him out. He loves all things animal so I'm sure he'll have fun with the barn cats too. I know I can't make him love horses, just want to encourage it if I can

          I will see about grabbing our old man of the farm who loves to be groomed. I'm afraid my gelding is not careful enough (he will dance at times on the line) to be around him yet until he learns the ropes of horses.
          Owned by 1 horse, 2 dogs, 1 cat, my 7yo son, a 4yr old cowgirl, and my hubby!
          RIP Traveler & Tesla <3

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Happyhooves View Post
            hundredacres is right that you can't teach them to love horses, that either they will or they won't. My other kids never took to it though I got them a pony but I didn't really tap into their personalities with it all. My youngest is totally smitten and wants to ride and be at the barn 24/7, so go figure. But I do think it helped that when he was young, I took his personality into account and tapped into that for cues when it came to being around the horses. When he was little, he had a short attention span, so I'd just bring him out to the horses for a short while, not have him out at the barn for long periods so he didn't associate the horses with boredom. He loved trucks and machinery, power and speed, so I focused on pointing out parts of the horse, ligaments, tendons, muscles and how they worked, horse movement, things like that. I'd show him the guy on the tractor and talk footing in the arena. He likes math, so we talk strides, tracks, beats at each gait, etc. He's always loved people, so he took to the people around the barn as well. He loves music. When he was little, I'd recite horse poetry ("Listen, my children, and you shall hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere--hand drumming on the table in time to the beat) or sing in the car on the way to the barn: "A southerly wind and a cloudy sky, proclaiming a hunting morning...to horse, my friends and away..." "I like to take a horse and buggy as I go riding into town..." (complete with the hand drumming on the console in time to the beat of the canter in the song). We've even made up goofy opera using his horse's name since it's Italian-esque. Ridiculous? Yes. All completely goofy and silly, but he was little and we had fun. I think it helped him associate horses with happiness It all kind of crept into his soul, I guess. So, anyway, my suggestion is to tap into his personality and see what parts might connect with horses.
            You are an enlightened mother Happy Hooves . My daughter adored her pony and did a lot with him, but now she's all about music (she's talented too) and has never been a natural on horseback. I think her personailty is dictating that we let her go with her music skills . We still have her pony - he's a rock star....I wish we had friends with little ones to help them love horses .

            Sorry OP...good luck with your son I loved when my daughter wanted to be outside with me!

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            • #7
              I'm confronting this question as well. I have a 3 year old daughter who does like horses, but she's not "totally smitten"... yet. I considered buying her a pony this year (we have our horses at home) but decided to go the lesson route instead for now. So she's had two lessons on my trainer's pony. If she is still into the lessons and wants a pony, we'll reconsider for next year. I don't want to force it on her, KWIM?

              Comment


              • #8
                I actually asked this at the usea convention to the panel of pro's because I get asked at work and don't know the answer.
                I always say to start them off with lessons at certain barns. Then if they beg and plead, lease a horse for a good long while. Then if they torture you about having a horse for over a year, then get them one. BUT YOU, the parent, will be stuck with trying to sell a horse if the kid doesn't have 'the disease'.
                But the pros really had the best idea once you got or leased the pony. Have them go galavanting. Meaning, let them play and get out of the arena and do silly games and go for long trail rides bareback and such. Don't drill lessons into them.
                Even duct tape can't fix stupid

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                • #9
                  I have my ponies at home, and I ride at my neighbor's house. My 3 1/2 year old DD rides my large pony (my riding horse) down to the neighbor's with me holding him leadline-style.

                  This has become her "thing" and she has really enjoyed it.

                  If she is really that smitten, we'll do lessons or something, if it continues we'll get her a saintly pony for bopping around on at home.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by LisaB View Post
                    Have them go galavanting. Meaning, let them play and get out of the arena and do silly games and go for long trail rides bareback and such. Don't drill lessons into them.
                    Yes LisaB, that is definitely the plan! Once I know he has enough interest and attention span for it I like to have him buddy ride with me some.
                    A trainer & friend who has worked with my gelding suggests I get my dream horse next and by the time my son is ready to be on his own the gelding should be chilled out and more dead-broke (currently 13). But I also see the benefit in a real kids pony/small horse as my guy is big and a long ways to fall!
                    Owned by 1 horse, 2 dogs, 1 cat, my 7yo son, a 4yr old cowgirl, and my hubby!
                    RIP Traveler & Tesla <3

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      My 2 kids... my 12yo son is more interested in video games. He has his own large pony and he is a natural rider. You can get him out to ride and he used to trail ride. It's just not his thing I guess but he does love his pony.

                      My 8yo daughter has been off and on with horses. She loves them (will hang with them all day) and rides but she took 2 hard falls and has little confindence in the saddle. She wants to show, we started testing the waters this year. She takes lessons but won't consistently. It's tough. I can't get her to connect with my son's large pony though, she rather prefers riding one of my mares.

                      So I have their shetland pony they outgrew plus a large paint pony with no job. I should find a new home for both in reality but shetland is a medical maint. project so I'm stuck with her.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        i don't know if he's going to be a rider, but my little guy (who will be 3 in july) LOVES to spend time in our barn. he has his own pitchfork, shovel, broom, and wheelbarrow. he would literally spend ALL day down there if i let him. he's very comfortable around the horses and pony, and so far (although he's never out of direct supervision) he's been very good about understanding the safety rules. i haven't pushed him actually riding yet, the western pony saddle is in the house straddling the back of the couch, but he's sat on them and spent lots of time petting them from the fence.

                        so my fingers are crossed. but, if it doesn't work out, there's always baby sister (15 mos)...
                        * trying hard to be the person that my horses think i am

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Good luck ... I am in the same boat is the ladies with the non-horse loving kid. My son has been around my horses since he was born, but as he got older he got less and less interested, and now as a teenager, forget it. I bought him a saddle, I would have bought him any horse he wanted ... nope.

                          I guess the kicker was at scout camp this week his friends had to make him take a trail ride with them, he didn't even want to do that. He's not scared, just could care less about horses. He has other outdoor interests.

                          So expose your kid, teach her right and how to be safe, and hope for the best.

                          Just think about how much money you will save. That's what I tell myself!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            wait until the child begs

                            Few things irritate me more than seeing a child pushed to do the parents' sport of choice.

                            If the child wants it, they will make that clear. Otherwise, let them find their own paths and passions.

                            in my opinion.
                            A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.--G. K. Chesterton

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by Kwill View Post
                              Just think about how much money you will save. That's what I tell myself!
                              LOL!
                              Thanks

                              What I definitely see is a good reason NOT to buy him a horse/pony. If I want a 2nd horse it should be for me and make my hubby take serious lessons on how to correctly handle my gelding (he's just stubborn like me and will totally take advantage of a rider who doesn't know what they are doing - hubby does not get the respect from the dogs the way I do so I think he'd be in trouble!)
                              Owned by 1 horse, 2 dogs, 1 cat, my 7yo son, a 4yr old cowgirl, and my hubby!
                              RIP Traveler & Tesla <3

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by lizathenag View Post
                                Few things irritate me more than seeing a child pushed to do the parents' sport of choice.

                                If the child wants it, they will make that clear. Otherwise, let them find their own paths and passions.

                                in my opinion.
                                Just to set this straight - I never said I would push him, I only want to encourage it because it would be great do family camping/riding trip. If he isn't into it there is no way I'll force it upon him.
                                Owned by 1 horse, 2 dogs, 1 cat, my 7yo son, a 4yr old cowgirl, and my hubby!
                                RIP Traveler & Tesla <3

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Getting your son acquainted with horses first (handling, grooming, feeding etc.) is a great way to start.
                                  I will assume he will be under constant adult supervision (safety!).

                                  Concerning showing in leadline classes I would strongly recommend working with a Riding-Instructor. A professional should help your son acquire his balance and a proper seat on the longe-line. It is never too early for children to be taught the proper way by a good Instructor.
                                  Leadline Classes can be very competitive (in our area 15plus riders in the class), so your child would certainly benefit by having professional help regarding equitation and proper tack/attire.
                                  You do not have to join a club, but I advise you to attend a show where Leadline Classes are offered, and be observant (regarding proper posture of handler, correct leading, attire etc.).
                                  Good luck to you and your son.
                                  Classical Horsemanship

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I bought my son a pony -- he's around your child's age. I had nothing nearly safe enough for him to even be around, though, and I also needed something that people can ride when they come to visit. I also wanted a 4th horse so that when I hauled 2 away to something, like a lesson, show, or vet, there would be 2 at home so the abandoned one would not go crazy. Plus, I can ride it and it's a fun pony. It barely eats anything and doesn't wear shoes, so is not expensive as a marginal cost.

                                    My philosophy is to let my son guide me, but I want him to have the tools/opportunity if he likes it. I never force him to ride -- I sit him on the pony for a couple minutes when he wants it. We pet the pony, clean its stall, and -- his favorites -- feed the horses and sweep the aisle. I try to get him out of the barn before he loses his patience for it.

                                    If he ends up wanting to ride, great! If not, baseball and basketball are safer anyway and I will fully support him in those endeavors.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Teach them the safety issues and everything will be fine.
                                      We have worked with 2 and 3 years for years and just keep in mind their attention span maybe 15 minutes one day or two hours the next.

                                      our twin grand daughters have their own minis






                                      my daughter's bucksin was the favorite of most of the kids....they all wanted to ride "Spirit"


                                      that little girl is now ten and has a horse at her horse

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                                      • #20
                                        I didn't force my son. I just brought him out to the barn from time to time when I would take care of my horse and tried to make it interesting and fun for him. When he was a little older, 5-ish, he wanted to ride my horse, so I'd put him up-- with a lead line--but it was a long way to the ground and I got nervous. When it was clear he really liked it, I got him a pony. (I also half leased the pony out to a little girl who was pony crazy to cut the expense). I kind of figured it wouldn't last, but I'd have a little fun watching him for a little while. For two years he mostly walked and trotted, but suddenly wanted to do more, so we got him a pony who could jump as well. Thought that would be the end of it. But nooo. He moved onto a horse and I do sometimes laugh and think what WUZ I thinking encouraging horse-craziness? LOL
                                        Clanter: Such cute pix of your grandkids and minis.
                                        Last edited by Happyhooves; Jun. 14, 2011, 10:48 PM. Reason: Wanted to add a note about Clanter's pix

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