Wednesday, September 1, 2010
As we started out, Sophia was a little nervous and at the first hill was saying “I don’t like this, I don’t like this!” But by the end of the ride, only an hour and a half long, she was giggling and saying “let’s go faster!” We came back to camp for lunch and a rest and a little while later Max asked who was ready for another ride; it was Sophia who jumped up first with her hand in the air saying “I am, I am!” That ride was only an hour and the only way we could get her off the horse at the end was to promise to go out again later, which we did.
The next day we had to almost start over again with the confidence, but it wasn’t long before Sophia was riding along with the reins in just one hand and the other pointing out things along the trail.
Tips For Starting Out:
Max gave us a few pointers in starting children trail riding.
Be sure the child knows at least the basics in horse riding: how to "go" and "whoa," how to steer, etc.
Always use safe equipment – including a helmet for the child's safety!
Next, have a pad that can be attached to the back of the pony saddle for the adult rider to sit on. This bridges the gap between the back of the saddle and the saddle pad, making it more comfortable to sit back there.
You must also realize that horseback riding on the trail takes a lot out of a young child, so keep the rides short in duration.
The last thing is to take along snacks and water, even on the short rides, as once they get low blood sugar the whining starts. At that point, stick a lollipop in their mouth!
If the proper steps are taken to ensure everyone's safety – for riders AND their horses – trail riding horses can be a fun and rewarding experience for everyone!