Equine Kingdom offers lessons for children only as young
as 4, due to safety issues.
Children will first learn to catch a horse, groom, tack up (put the saddle and bridle
on). From there they will learn to lead the horse up to the arena, tighten the saddle and ready
the horse for riding. They will learn to mount and dismount a horse safely, learn the emergency/flying
dismount, learn the cues for walking, trotting, and cantering the horse. Please leave the timetable
for this up to your instructor - she will determine when your child is ready to move on to the next
step, and will never push a child past what she thinks they can handle. If you think your child
can do more than she is allowing them to do, feel free to ask, but do expect a detailed explanation
of why your child has not progressed past a certain point. Your riding instructor should always
be able to give you a good evaluation of your child's abilities, goals, and progress over a certain
period of time.
Generally children will ride for a week or two before they begin trotting - the
first several lessons being spent on basic safety and mastering cues, steering, etc. Cantering takes
much longer, based on the requirements of balance, coordination, and bravado of the child.
Please remember that it IS possible that your child will fall off of a horse - it
is merely a part of learning how to ride correctly. Very few falls (fewer than 99%) result in more
than scratches and bruises, maybe a strain. If the child is not hurt, they MUST get back on the
horse - it is integral to the progress of their riding and if they do not get back on, there is
a very good chance that they will spend the rest of their lives too scared to ever mount a horse
again. Concern is understandable, but never try to tell the riding instructor what to do, unless
it's obvious negligence on the instructor's part. Leave the consoling/cajoling to the instructor.
Many children try to use their parents as an excuse to not have to get back on the horse. Unless
the parent (s) are called for specifically BY the instructor, plan to stay outside the arena and
merely provide moral support.
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