Child riding lessons

noblesteed

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My littlest boy is just 4 and has been asking to ride. My own horse is too big and sadly we had to have the little yard pony put to sleep a few months ago. So I took him to a riding school for a 'taster' - a little plod out on the lead rein on a gorgeous little pony with the instructor.
He loved his ride, he sat beautifully and relaxed. He has been beaming about it ever since!
So what next? I (and instructor) think he's too little yet for group lessons. Will it be ok just to take him for a plod once or twice a month til he's a bit older, then let him join group lessons on LR?
If he's still keen after a year or so I will be happy to get him a little pony but I'd rather see if he's keen first.
What have other people done?
 

be positive

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9 July 2011
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He can do more than plod on the lead rein during a private lesson, the instructor should be able to get him doing plenty from exercises in halt then walk, start to do short trots, engage him in conversation about the pony, learn some basic points of the pony and name parts of the tack, the only limit is the instructors ability to engage a child of his age.
In theory he should be able to develop his riding far better and faster than in a group, the only benefit for him from being in a group is that he will possibly have more fun, the benefit for the RS is more income, I would expect him to have a lesson not a plod if that is what you are paying for.
 

annagain

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10 December 2008
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My nieces had private lessons at first as they were too young for group lessons (riding school won't let them in a group until they're 6). It gave them a fab grounding for moving on to the group lessons. My sister isn't horsey and I'm not getting them a pony so they're stuck with lessons.

Ultimately though, once they've got the basics, regular practice is what they need (this is where my nieces are struggling to move on). I'd get him some private lessons to begin with - maybe even as often as once a week to start. Then, once he's got the basics see if you can find a share pony a day or two a week to practice on and tail the lessons off until he's old enough for the (cheaper) group lessons that will help him move on to the next level.
 

buddylove

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My daughter's are 5 and have private lessons (once a fortnight), they have progressed brilliantly and have mastered rising trot, they have come off the lead rein, and are doing trotting poles. It has given them a great head start and loads of confidence.
 

Peregrine Falcon

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I got a pony on loan for my eldest son when he was 4. I led him over the forest from my pony, he also loved doing the child handler classes. I have to admit he never went to a riding school. He's been an active member of the pony club and loves it.
 

GirlFriday

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My daughter's are 5 and have private lessons (once a fortnight), they have progressed brilliantly and have mastered rising trot, they have come off the lead rein, and are doing trotting poles. It has given them a great head start and loads of confidence.
Is that the only riding they are doing or do they practice in between? I'd be quite happy with that if it is only RS I think!
 

buddylove

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12 January 2011
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Shropshire
Pretty much only ride in lessons at the moment. They have a Shetland at home which they only really mooch about on for 5 minutes then get off and go and do something else!
Their sec a has just been backed so they will be required to do a bit more work at home from now on!!
 

DaisyMoo

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TO be honest it sounds like the instructor just doesn't want to teach a small child. The riding school I stabled at a few years ago always did a lead rein lesson every Saturday for children over 3 and advertised this fact on their website. The yard helpers would lead the ponies, or the parents of they were horsey parents, and the instructor would stand in the middle and "teach". The view was that the younger the better and if they fall off tend to bounce and find it quite fun. Maybe try another riding school that will cater more for younger lead rein riders as it would be better to have a small child confined on a school with other little kinds and ponies than out on the roads with idiot drivers.
 

blitznbobs

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Cheshire
TO be honest it sounds like the instructor just doesn't want to teach a small child. The riding school I stabled at a few years ago always did a lead rein lesson every Saturday for children over 3 and advertised this fact on their website. The yard helpers would lead the ponies, or the parents of they were horsey parents, and the instructor would stand in the middle and "teach". The view was that the younger the better and if they fall off tend to bounce and find it quite fun. Maybe try another riding school that will cater more for younger lead rein riders as it would be better to have a small child confined on a school with other little kinds and ponies than out on the roads with idiot drivers.
Agree my 5 year old has group lessons, he plays the fool and doesn't do as he is told but his balance is improving and he is totally confident around the ponies now which is why I made him have lessons in the first place... what amazed me about his group lessons is that they are all boys (my 2 and 2 others) when I was a kid a boy on a ride was an endangered species!
 
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