Getting your kids a horse can be one of the best things you do. Your children can learn invaluable life skills from a reliable horse; including trust, teamwork and responsibility.
The right horse or pony will teach your children about horses and riding as well as be a meaningful companion.
To make sure the horse you get is the right one for your kid, have a look at these five tips.
1) Make sure your child is ready for the responsibility
Regular lessons help to ensure it isn’t just a passing fancy and signs to look for are an avid interest in horses, the desire to learn a discipline and a general love and interest in all things horse.
If lessons and leasing a horse doesn’t fulfil your child’s hunger for horses then buying or adopting is a good option.
Keep in mind, that the horse is as much your commitment as it is you child’s and it’s a wonderful way to share in a great hobby.
2) Find an expert to help
If you’re new to horses, it’s a good idea to find an expert to help you look for the right horse.
A trainer who is already teaching your child will have a good evaluation of the skill and type of horse suitable for your child.
Ask for their help, guidance and advice on where you can start looking. They might even have horses for sale or know someone who does.
3) Get an older horse
An older gelding or mare with training and experience should make a good first horse for your child.
Usually, horses over the age of 10 will come at a reasonable price and should have a calm temperament and be suitable for inexperienced and young riders.
You could also consider leasing or getting a horse from a rescue organisation. Rescue organisations don’t usually sell you a horse but will let you re-home it for life if it is a good match.
They will usually also take the horse back if you find yourself unable to care for it or when your child grows out of it and needs a bigger or more experienced animal.
4) Take your time
Once you decide to start looking for a horse take your time – don’t buy the first horse you find.
Look at a few different horses to gain experience and compare. Remember that the horse you buy will hopefully stay with you for many years and needs to be suitable for your child’s needs.
Ask a lot of questions and don’t forget to have the animal vetted before committing to buying it.
5) A good horse is a good fit
Have your child interact with the horse both on the ground and in the saddle.
If possible have your child groom and tack the horse before riding. Ask to see the vendor (or their children) ride the horse as well as see your child ride the horse.
Include some groundwork to make sure the horse fits your child’s needs and personality.
Trust your gut – if something feels off, keep looking. Surround yourself with people who can help your horse and child grow and learn together and take their advice to heart.
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