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How to Think Like A Horse: The Essential Handbook for Understanding Why Horses Do What They Do

Horse Stable and Riding Arena Design

Horse Owner's Veterinary Handbook (Howell Reference Books)

Horsekeeping on a Small Acreage: Designing and Managing Your Equine Facilities

Riding Lessons For Children

Equine Kingdom offers lessons for children only as young as 4, due to safety issues.

Children will first learn to catch a horse, groom, tack up (put the saddle and bridle on). From there they will learn to lead the horse up to the arena, tighten the saddle and ready the horse for riding. They will learn to mount and dismount a horse safely, learn the emergency/flying dismount, learn the cues for walking, trotting, and cantering the horse. Please leave the timetable for this up to your instructor - she will determine when your child is ready to move on to the next step, and will never push a child past what she thinks they can handle. If you think your child can do more than she is allowing them to do, feel free to ask, but do expect a detailed explanation of why your child has not progressed past a certain point. Your riding instructor should always be able to give you a good evaluation of your child's abilities, goals, and progress over a certain period of time.

Generally children will ride for a week or two before they begin trotting - the first several lessons being spent on basic safety and mastering cues, steering, etc. Cantering takes much longer, based on the requirements of balance, coordination, and bravado of the child.

Please remember that it IS possible that your child will fall off of a horse - it is merely a part of learning how to ride correctly. Very few falls (fewer than 99%) result in more than scratches and bruises, maybe a strain. If the child is not hurt, they MUST get back on the horse - it is integral to the progress of their riding and if they do not get back on, there is a very good chance that they will spend the rest of their lives too scared to ever mount a horse again. Concern is understandable, but never try to tell the riding instructor what to do, unless it's obvious negligence on the instructor's part. Leave the consoling/cajoling to the instructor. Many children try to use their parents as an excuse to not have to get back on the horse. Unless the parent (s) are called for specifically BY the instructor, plan to stay outside the arena and merely provide moral support.


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