Groom Your Horse To Be a Kid’s Horse: Part 2
- November 24, 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.
Flap around. Your horse should be desensitized to weird movements on their back. Pull your legs up and drop them back down abruptly, turn around and look behind you in the saddle, lean over and look down at the ground, flap your coat or wave your hat. Be sure your horse isn’t fazed by much action up there
Use a quirt. Little legs that can’t reach past the saddle blankets can make it tough to get horses moving. Get on your horse and ride exclusively with a quirt and zero leg. This can teach your horse that a quirt isn’t a bad thing, just different.
Also, do not use the quirt consistently each time. More likely than not, a youngster will not tap the quirt at the same strength each time, so preparing your horse for the occasional harder whap can ensure a horse isn’t squirty and jumpy. In a sense, desensitize the horse enough to where they won’t jump when quirted, but will move out.
Don’t overlook a buddy-sour horse. Often, these horses are undesirable and not handy to have in your arsenal, but for a youth rider just starting out, this can actually be a help. The youth’s horse that wants to stick with the parent’s horse can be a handy thing and can allow the youth to ride out alone and not ponied but still stay closely to adults.
Once a youth rider gets more independent and handier, the trait will once more become an annoyance, but consider a buddy-sour horse when kiddos are starting out. It can free an adult from having to pony.
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...