Horseback riding can be a great activity for your child if they are animal lovers or not too keen on contact sports. Getting involved with horseback riding can give your child a fun after-school activity that keeps them active while also helping them grow and learn life lessons through caring for an animal. While fairytale-like movies and books inspire many kids’ dreams of riding horses, a negative interaction with a horse can take away all the excitement. Learn how to introduce your child to horses for a positive experience that will help them fall in love with horseback riding.
Rules and Safety
Your child may be quite scared when they realize just how big horses are in real life. Start by explaining the rules of being around horses to help them feel safe, such as speaking in a calm voice and moving calmly around the horses. Your child may also be comforted to know what gear they will have to keep them safe, such as a helmet or a saddle. Allowing your child to pick out their helmet and learn about the saddle they’ll be using as well as saddle accessories can help ease nerves and raise excitement in your child.
Do not plan on getting your child to ride a horse during their first interaction with the animal. Slowly introduce your child by allowing them to first visit the stable without the pressure of riding. This allows your child to get comfortable around horses without having to worry about when they will have to try riding. You can ask the riding instructors or stable owners if your child can pet the horse to make them more comfortable or confident.
Arrange a Pony Ride
After your child has become more comfortable in the presence of horses, you may want to arrange a simple pony ride before you start actual lessons. Set up a guided ride at a reputable barn as this will ensure the horses and staff are well-trained.
Find an Instructor
Once your child has gained experience riding, finding an instructor to progress their skills is the next step in your child’s horseback riding experience. It is important that the instructor your child is working with has plenty of experience working with children. Your child should also feel comfortable with the instructor chosen for the best results.
Outlining rules and safety precautions, slow introductions to meeting and riding the horses, and finding the perfect instructor are important steps in how to introduce your child to horses. Make horseback riding exciting and fun for your child by creating positive first experiences.