Thursday, December 3, 2009

How young is too young?

Something that has been on my mind lately is the subject of young kids riding. Now, I know how much fun it was riding when I was a kid, but looking at it now as a grown up I am starting to wonder... when do we draw the line?

It is one thing to sit on a horse now and ride around, but when you are little you aren't as strong and balanced as you are now. And how do you teach a young rider with little muscle development how to use their aids? Do they even understand? Do they even want to know? Is it just all fun and games?

I am not saying that kids should be banned from riding... that would not be fare at all. What I want to know is where do we draw the line to protect the welfare of the pony/horse? Will we be able to draw the line at all?

When a rider goes around leaning on the horse's mouth people will start getting worried. But what if we see a kid riding like that? Do we just turn a blind eye? Will we go to the parent and show our concern? I would hope so. The pony/horse is after all the one that has to cart the kid around. If we don't look after him, how can we ask him to look after our child?


  1. The equipment on that last pony is just scary. Off-kilter flash, 3 ring elevator and running martingale? I definitely think kids should be allowed to ride but parents and instructors need to have some common sense. Maybe those two pictures were just singular rough moments that every rider has occasionally but something makes me think that they're probably not...

    X-rail classes (perferably not in jumpers so the desire to go fast isnt there) where the hardest part is turning and stopping at the end is where little kids need to me. Not trying to do jumpers where there can be big heights, scary jumps and hard turns. Thats just asking for it.

  2. I have two kiddos, six and four. I have always dreamed of having kids that could ride before they could walk. Well, they kind of did, casually rode with me around the arena, and in the womb as I rode while I was pregnant, but now that my oldest is beginning to ride on his own on a VERY good shetland pony, I am realizing how my mommy fear is kicking in. I just couldn't see sending my little child over jumps or galloping afer cattle without a helmet. Yes, I know, I'm overprotective and kids have been doing this for generations, I am told this repeatedly by my dh, but it still doesn't mean I'll do it with own kids!
    And then there's the poor ponies, or horses, although I see adults that are far stronger and weigh far more than a child riding just as poorly so maybe the horses would rather put up with it from the smaller version?

  3. Thanks for the comments guys :)

    I know this is a bit of a touchy subject... I was almost too scared to write this post, lol.

    I think it is nice that kids can ride around and stuff, but I just sometimes wonder if we cross the line, safety and welfare wise :)

    About the little kid in the first two photos... that is what she looks like every time she rides (if not worse). Majority of the time she stands up in the saddle, leaning backwards on the reins. I even heard her instructor yelling at her to gallop around the jumping course (by yell, I mean YELL)!!! She was only 5 when those photos were taken...

  4. Five???? My littlest is almost five, can't even fathom that. When my six year old wants to trot on his pony I refuse to let go of the lead rope. Way too overprotective, I know! Please no tomatoes:)