Introducing Children to Horses

I have a big family. I’ve met families much, much bigger than mine; but with more than 50 close relatives that I see very often, I would consider my family large. With a big family, comes lots of kids. And when you are the only one in the family with a horse, all of these children would like to come and meet your horse and ride. Let’s take a look at how I introduce children to my horse:

  • Before you allow the child to approach the horse make sure you go over all horse safety rules that the child must follow when around horses. Explain to her (or him) how large horses are and how they can hurt us without even realizing it. Show them where to stand when approaching the horse, where you shouldn’t stand because the horse cannot see you, and to never walk behind the horse. Be sure to let the child know not to run around and yell and scream at the barn because it can scare the horses. It might be best to explain all of the safety rules before you get to the horse barn because the child may lose focus once in the barn.
  • Once you’ve explained the safety precautions to the child, bring the horse out and introduce him to the little girl. I brought my horse out and had my cousin walk slowly up to him and let him sniff her. Of course I gave my cousin a little treat to give my horse, it makes him warm up to people very fast.
  • After I introduced the new friends, I brought my horse in the barn and put him on cross ties. I went over all of the different grooming tools for the horse and how to use each one. She really enjoyed learning the different brushes and helping to groom my horse.
  • Now was the time to tack up, since the whole reason she was there was to ride my horse! I explained each step I was doing as I tacked my horse up and explained the names of all of the parts of the saddle, bridle, etc. She had lots of questions so I took things slowl so she could understand everything. Before we brought my horse outside, I got her helmet snugged on her head. Always start the first ride with the child wearing a helmet, so that good helmet wearing habits are started at an early age.
  • For the first ride, I had a friend walk beside my cousin in the saddle and myself leading my horse. She was a little nervous but we both assured her she was doing great. She loved it and did not want to get off! After walking like this for a long, long time, we helped her to get off and had her help walk the horse back to the barn.
  • Once on the cross ties, I started to take off my horse’s tack, and again explain all of the parts and pieces. I explained to her that we have to groom the horse before and after the ride. And of course finished with her giving my horse a treat before we brought him back out to his pasture.

Following these same steps are great ways to introduce a child to your horse. If the child continues to show interest in horses, that may be the time to look into lessons. Ask around where others have brought their children for lessons and if they would recommend it. Or bring your child to a horse show to show them what it’s all about. Introducing kids to horses is so much fun, and it opens the next generation to the love that we have for our horses.

Tags: , ,

HTML Comment Box is loading comments...