View Full Version : Riding Lessons for my Daughter
03-29-2012, 10:23 PM
My daughter is just 3 years old but every morning asks me if we are going to ride horses today.
We live near San Juan Capistrano. There are both English and Western riding lessons available. I am leaning towards Western.
I would appreciate any and all suggestions on where and how best to get my daughter started out the right way. FYI – she is the rough and ready type of gal.
Thanks in advance,
04-07-2012, 11:14 AM
If you want your daughter to learn to RIDE then have her take English lessons. While English riding does have competitions (hunters, jumpers, dressage, etc) those disciplines absolutely require that the rider know how to actually ride. Most Western styles aren't as intense in the knowledge requirement. There is a whole world of difference between sitting on a horse going round and round along the rail of the arena and KNOWING how to balance the horse, asking it to change it's stride length, giving it confidence and trust in your judgement over it's instincts, and many more skills that Western riding doesn't teach.
These skills transfer over to Western riding but the reverse is not always true. I'd suggest finding a good english trainer who teaches dresage AND jumping AND MAYBE "combined training" (which is "eventing"). Be warned, no matter which way you go, it's expensive. And with her being only 3 yrs old, you need to find someone who understands young children (although I think 3 is a bit young still).
As my bona fides: I was born a horse nut. I started riding Western wth lessons, leasing, and finally bought my first horse in my mid-20's. After many years of competitions, endurance riding, trail riding, etc. etc. etc. (I've even started several green 2 yr olds and finished them into "made" horses) I switched to Dressage to "do something different." When I made the switch I was CERTAIN I knew what i was doing and that I knew how to ride. I was wrong.
You want to see someone actually ride? Watch the riders at the Rolex Kentucky 3-day event. 3-days. Show jumping, dressage, and a cross-country run that will make you a believer that these people KNOW how to ride. It ain't your typical wsestern rodeo barrel racing.
04-07-2012, 07:41 PM
Rob has some valid points in many situations. However, in reality, when taught properly, with the proper equipment, there is no difference between English and Western riding. Yet without a western saddle with forward hung stirrups, there is a world of difference. I've seen many a English rider, and English horse that had no idea of what to do once off the smooth flat ground of the arena. And in contrast, I've seen Western riders/horses that didn't know how to change leads, side-pass...
IMHO, the question you need to ask yourself is, what you want your daughter to get out of the experience. Once you answer that question, you might get some much more specific advise.
04-08-2012, 04:25 PM
Something I thought of late last night to add to what I posted.
Look into whether there's a Pony Club in your area. The Pony Club teaches all aspects of Horsemanship from care and feeding, to grooming, to tack, to riding, to ... (insert everything else here).
These are usually young kids well supervised by EXPERIENCED adults at all times. Kind of like the Boy/Girl scouts except the adults have actual knowledge of more than just being a parent. These are horse trainers and instructors with credentials. I'm not sure if you have to own a pony to be a participating member but I'm certain that it'd be a lot more fun.
Good ponies aren't cheap but they are way less expensive than, say, a Fresian.
04-08-2012, 09:20 PM
So far, good advice above. Be careful dad... If your 3 year old gets hooked, you might need to get a second job to pay for all the fun. Either that, or move and get some horse property. I have girls that are 6 and 8. They both started on a Shetland, and eventually graduated to a P.O.A. My 6 year old now rides a 14 hand Icelandic and my 8 year old rides what ever she wants on the property. Good luck.....Before you know it, you'll be buying a horse & trailer and towing her around the country to gymkhana and barrel races......In ten years from now you'll being starting a thread on "How to keep the little snot nosed cowboys away from my daughter".
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