Your Child’s First Riding Lesson

Jill Holtz

October 20, 2011

Easter Camps Ireland

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Has your child been pestering you for horse lessons?  In this article, Eleanor, an experienced rider, gives some tips to parents on your child’s first riding lesson.

Horse riding is an activity that can be enjoyed by anyone from an early age to active old age. Many people enjoy participation in the sport for an entire lifetime. It can be enjoyed individually or as a group, involving family and friends for example.

The benefits of riding

Whether your child is interested in recreational riding or wants to potentially compete horse riding has huge benefits. Riding is challenging, rewarding and exciting it teaches co-operation between horse and rider, a partnership that can be quite unique.

Minimizing risks

Every sport has its risks. It takes some time to develop both the balance and control needed to ride, so it is inevitable falls will occur.

To minimize the risks it is important to be careful in choosing where to ride. Make sure that you choose an approved riding centre. The lesson should take place in an safe enclosed place with a good surface.

The equipment

Most riding centres will provide riding helmets up to the current riding standards but it is advisable to buy your child their own hat as soon as interest is assured.

It is also important that your child wears suitable footwear (i.e.) a boot with a smooth sole and a heel.

Dress them in comfortable clothes, long trousers and long sleeved top with plenty of flexibility.

Starting off

The best way to start off a beginner depending on the age of your child is either on the lead rein or lunge on a one to one basis. This is not always possible due to a number of factors including cost and time constraints but in most centres your child will be on the lead rein for their first lesson, even if it is a group.

The lesson should progress as follows, your child will be introduced to the pony. They will be shown how to mount and dismount correctly and safely and how to hold the reins and  sit properly on the horse. They will be shown how to stop and steer the horse and how to make him walk on for them.

It will depend on a number of different factors how the lesson will progress after this, for example your child’s confidence and age. The most important thing is that the child is comfortable and enjoys the experience.

If your child is nervous

If your child is very nervous but still wants to continue, this can sometimes be overcome by improving familiarity with the horse, tasks such as saddling up, mucking out and grooming will improve confidence in general, which will be hopefully reflected in their riding.

It is important to remember some children will progress quicker than others and every child has different goals and dreams.

Has your child enjoyed horse riding? Share your thoughts in the comments below

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