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Riding Horses With Kids
 By Winniefield Park   •   10th Dec 2016   •   1,096 views   •   0 comments
Riding Horses With Kids

We’ve been taking advantage of the beautiful fall weather and this last weekend I rode with my ten-year-old niece. She has the kind of pony, that if you could clone would make many little girls and their parents very happy. She’s a good rider too. While my mare and I plodded along, we were literally being rode circles around. But riding in any sort of group requires some awareness that you don’t need when you’re alone, and riding with kids requires some extra care.

Remember They Are Shorter
I had a friend who was dead set against horses and ponies being shown together in the same show ring. Why? Because a horse can kick at another horse, and if the kick connects with the rider, it will probably do so on the leg. It’s unlikely that no matter how hard a horse might let fly, it's unlikely to kick higher than another horse’s back. But, if a pony gets in the way of a kick, it may well put the blow much higher than the pony’s back. That could result in a child being kicked in the body or head - which will result in a much worse injury. Whether on the trail or in the ring, always be aware if there are kids and ponies along, that their shorter stature can put them in harm's way.

They Are Slower - Some of the Time
Well, the kid I was riding with wasn’t slower than me. With 500 competitive endurance miles behind her, she wasn’t getting tired out either. But, the shorter stature of their mounts means some kids might be slower. And, even if they are riding larger ponies or smaller horses a smaller rider might be working harder than those riding larger horses. My sister is quite a bit younger than I, and I was riding horses while she was still riding a small Shetland. I remember her trotting alongside me and counting how many times she rose in the stirrups while trotting, compared to me. She was posting at almost twice the rate that I was. Kids may have to work harder to go the same speed, and may tire quicker.

They Don’t Always Have Good Judgement
We rode in the arena first but then headed out to ride in an open field. A few other horses in nearby paddocks got excited to see their friends out in that big field and started galloping up and down the fence line. I felt my mare get a hunch in her back, but my niece was ready to go for a gallop and head for the furthest end of the field. Instinctively, I suggested that we stay closer in, until we knew our horses were going to behave. No sooner had I said that, when her mom popped her head around the corner and suggest we stay close until the paddock idiots settled. They actually never did while we were out, but our horses gave up quickly and we were able to go wherever we wanted. Kids can be more impulsive and may not pay attention to what is going around them and might need an explanation as to why they just can’t ride off.

What are your tips for riding with kids?
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