When Should Children Start Riding Lessons?

When Should Children Start Riding Lessons?

 

The Right Age For Children To Start Horseback Riding Lessons 

If you are the proud parent of a horse-crazy child, your son or daughter has likely been begging you for riding lessons for a while. While there is no set age when a child should start horseback riding lessons, a good rule of thumb is around age 7. Most kids are physically strong enough and mentally capable of acting responsibly around horses by that age. It is important to remember that each child develops at a different pace, both physically and emotionally. Ultimately, it’s up to you as a parent to make the call about when to first introduce your child to horses.

To understand if your child is ready for lessons, consider these questions. 

  • Does your child show interest in horses? Some children are drawn to horses from a very young age, while others may need to be introduced to the idea of riding over time if it’s something you want them to do.
  • Is your child strong enough? Horseback riding is physically demanding and requires a certain amount of coordination. Kids need to have good balance, as well as muscles in their legs and arms to help grip the saddle and steer the horse. 
  • Can your child follow directions? Not only will your child need to listen to what the instructor is saying during the lesson, they will also need to be able to take direction on the fly if something unexpected happens.

Before signing your son or daughter up for lessons, it’s a great idea to do some research. Start by finding a list of barns in your area that offer lessons, and then dig a little deeper. Ask the following:

  • How often during the week are lessons offered? Does this fit with your schedule? 
  • Does the stable offer group or private lessons, or both?
  • What will your child be expected to do before and after the lesson? Will the horse be tacked up and ready to go, or do students help with barn chores before and after the lesson?
  • How much do lessons cost, and how often are students expected to participate in lessons?

Once you have a feel for how different barns in your area operate, consider if you are truly ready to support your child on this new journey. Horseback riding lessons are a financial commitment, and potentially a long-term obligation if your child excels at the sport. Think about how much you are willing to spend, and talk with your child about your expectations in terms of their time and responsibilities that will be expected of them.

Ultimately, your child is ready for riding lessons when you feel they are ready to take on the physical and mental challenges of mastering horseback riding, and when you are ready to commit your time and financial resources to supporting this new venture. Once they are right to start riding lessons, you will be setting them up for a lifetime of enjoyment on a horse.

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