Horseback riding

By | 11/18/2013 Leave a Comment

For us it happened kind of accidentally when Maja first time sat on a horse during our summer vacation in Poland. We visited stables just to have a look at horses, see the competition plus they had a huge playground in the middle. I thought my both kids will be freaked out by the size of those animals and would never want to be anywhere close - just admiring it from the distance. And then amazing thing happened - Maja's eyes got big and she said "I want to ride a pony"!

I paid for a hack and had to do it several times after that. She kept talking about it for weeks so when we got back to Bahrain I decided to look for a suitable place for some lessons for her. And we were really lucky since then. We found a perfect place and started our horse back riding experience!

The way in which your child is introduced to ponies and riding may remain an influence well into his or her adult life. A safe, fun experience will probably result in a life-long love of horses and riding, but one scare can put a child off for life. It is, therefore, essential to ensure that the first equestrian experience is both safe and enjoyable. I was especially worried about my daughter as she is pretty shy and not willing to try new things as she needs a bit of time to accept it.
Here are just a few things you want to remember and pay attention to while looking for a place to ride a horse.

The best way to ensure that you have the best first experience is to do some homework first.

Visit the stables before booking any lesson:
  • It needs to be tidy and neat but you don't need state of the art equipment,
  • Lessons should be conducted in a fenced paddock,
  • They should have enough ponies to suit all ages,
  • Horses should not look sick or tired - there must be a veterinarian on site,
  • Is there a comfortable place for parents to observe and keep a track of child progress?
It is always a good idea to observe a few lessons to get a feel of instructor style and the way he/she is handling kids. Is safety important for him/her? Can she/he speak in a way that all understand (even with language differences)? How does he/she react when things go wrong?

The age at which children start riding can vary, depending on the child's size and maturity. I've heard about kids starting at the age of 2 but I personally think this is way too early. Children at this age may not be emotionally developed enough to handle stress and manage on their own.

Instructor should require to wear a protective helmet from the very first lesson. Usually you can get one from the stables but once you can see that your child is really interested in horse riding you may want to buy your own. After two months I also decided to buy proper horse riding shoes and champs as this will help them to keep their feet properly in foot-rest.

First lessons are all about horses in general, the way to approach a pony, leading a pony, position, etc. Once a child is confident enough and capable at the very basics children can be grouped in few together and start leading on their own with a little bit of competition going on. They all cheer each other on as they learn a new skill.

Children can gain so much from riding lessons. They learn patience, compassion for another being, responsibility, sportsmanship and a lot more. And, as I mentioned earlier, they can result in a life long passion for horses and the enjoyment of riding.

I myself enjoy so much watching Maja every week becoming more confident on a horse and it looks like this maybe something she will stay interested in.

For all those living in Bahrain please check Twin Palms Riding Center website for more details.


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