Before you being to search for a horse you need to decide who’s going to use the horse.
If more than one person in the family is going to ride the horse you need to consider each member’s riding and horsemanship skills, size and discipline.
Just adults or children too?
If you’re the only one who is going to use the horse, you need to consider only what you want, but if your spouse, children or other family members are going to use the horse regularly, you must consider what type of horse suits everyone’s needs.
Look at how much horse and riding experience each person has and make sure to get a horse that suits the person with the least as well as the one with the most experience.
If only your children are going to ride the horse or pony, make sure they are committed to it and have them take lessons for at least one year before buying a horse.
If you’re buying a horse to suit the smallest children, but the older ones want to participate too, you can have them lead the horse while the little ones ride, teach the horse how to be driven or have the older children do the groundwork.
If the needs vary greatly between people you might need to look into buying two horses
For instance, if one member in the family is interested in competing and advancing to a high level and the others are not, you may not be able to find a horse that suits everyone’s needs.
Don’t give an inexperienced rider “too much horse” that they cannot handle.
If one family member is interested in dressage and another one in barrel racing, one horse might not be enough.
Even if you do find a horse that will perform wonderfully in both disciplines, you need to consider that one horse cannot become two in case competitions and other events overlap.
Buying a horse or pony for your children
A horse or pony can be a wonderful companion for your child, providing a pet, a hobby and tons of confidence and learning responsibility all in one.
Be sure you buy the right type of horse for your child and they will remember her fondly long after they’ve outgrown her and most likely reminisce about her when buying a horse for their own kids.
An older, experienced and calm horse will teach them everything they need to know about riding and horsemanship and give them many years of joy.
When you’re buying a horse or pony that is going to be ridden by your children only, you had better make sure they are committed to it.
If your children have never ridden a horse before it is recommendable that you sign them up for riding lessons and make them take the lessons for a year or more before purchasing them a horse of their own.
It will also be more fun for the children as they will be able to enjoy riding their new mount as soon as they get him home if they’ve already gained the skills necessary.
Riding a horse as a part of the purchasing process can also be important; if your children already have riding experience you will be able to see if the horse is a good match when they take a test ride.
Once their interest and commitment haven’t wavered in the riding lessons, you can be more assured that they will keep up interest in the horse you buy
If you’re unsure of buying a horse, but your child isn’t getting enough “horse time” during the riding lessons, you can consider leasing a horse.
If after leasing a horse you find that there still isn’t enough “horse time” for your child you can be fairly confident that their interest in horses is solid.
When buying a horse for your children you need to remember that – at the very least – you will need to supervise and assist them with the horse and riding.
Even when young children can handle horses themselves they should not be left without supervision
Grooming, tacking and riding all involve heavy lifting that the children might not be physically able to do and will need help with.
They also need to learn how to behave responsibly and appropriately around horses to avoid accidents.
Learning how to handle a large animal that can cause serious injury, even unintentionally, is a serious matter and should be taught by someone with experience.
If you cannot teach your children horsemanship and riding then you should hire a trainer.
Hiring a trainer or signing up for riding lessons or pony club with the new horse is advisable for any owner. Whether your children have never ridden a horse before or have had a horse for many years, riding lessons will help to maintain and develop their skills.
Riding lessons should be regular; anything from several times a week to once a month. Children that want to compete will require more lessons than children who just want to ride for leisure
Children riding at home
If you are stabling and riding your horse at home you should make sure that you have a safe place for the children to ride the horse in.
Adults should always be able to supervise and the surroundings should be safe and free of clutter.
For children beginning to ride, an arena or enclosure where they can ride safely is ideal.
You can assist your budding equestrian by leading the horse and taking them through their paces.
This way children can get used to the motion of the horse and learn how to balance.
When you lead the horse the child can also let the reins hang loose without fear of the horse running off with them.
As they get used to riding their confidence will grow
You should encourage your child to participate in everything related to the horse from grooming, to mucking out, to turning the horse out, to tacking, feeding and watering etc.
Younger children will need help with some things that require strength and advanced motor skills but should participate with the guidance and supervision of an adult.
When you find that right horse for your family, you’ll have a wonderful hobby that you can all share in.