Groom Your Horse To Be a Kid’s Horse: Part 1
- November 3, 2016
- Savanna Simmons
Some horses are just meant to be kid’s horses. Some, obviously, are not. Other horses could qualify as a youth horse with a little work. I think nicely broke horses can often, not always, be set up and prepared for a youth rider. This same thought is often the reason ponies get a bad rap; some are simply too small for an adult or larger, more experienced child to get on and fix. Set your kid’s horse up for success, especially if they are transitioning from always being ridden by an experienced adult.
Ground manners. Horses may not respect a kid leading them or may not respond because of their size or inability to keep them in check. If your horse doesn’t mind you while on the ground, however, they definitely will not mind a youngster. Be sure your horse’s ground manners are up to par before handing them off to your child.
Be sure your horse is good at ponying. You can actually practice this. Teach your kid’s horse not to pass the horse you’re on, or to trot to catch up, if needed. It’s also handy if the horses match speed easily and will trot or lope off together without hesitation. Be sure, also, the two mounts get along before putting a child aboard. We love to use The Colorful Cowgirl get-down ropes for ponying. They are the perfect length and not bulky like a lead rope, so if your little one wants to ride off alone, you can easily tie the get-down onto their little horn with room for them to still hold on.
Reteach steering. Get on the kid’s horse and pull it around like your child will. Yank them a little or pull back and to the side as a child might, without the aide of legs and see if your horse understands. If not, this is an area to improve. Small arms pulling reins, and often inconsistently, can make it confusing on horses that usually have very direct cues. See first if they become annoyed with you on their back and work them through it.
The horse in this post is mine from my 4-H years and is a nicely-broke quiet horse. This is his first kid and the pair are getting along wonderfully. Want to know why my son Brindle wears a helmet when he rides? Read about it here.
About Savanna Simmons
I'm Savanna Simmons and I live north of Lusk, Wyoming, on the Four Three Ranch with my husband Boe and our sons, Brindle and Roan. I grew up evolving my horsemanship with clinicians like Ray Hunt, Joe Wolter, and Jack Brainard, but not within a...