Monday, July 25, 2011
Old Horses and Young Kids
See the above photo? The smaller kid upfront is my granddaughter. She was four years old when the picture was taken, and she could ride that old Arabian mare all by herself, even at such a young age. In most cases, older horses are great choices for young children who are just learning horseback riding. Horses with some age on them have been around the block a few times, so to speak, so they’ve experienced all sorts of things.
Some inexperienced horse people buy young animals for their kids, thinking it would be neat for the two to grow up together. This is almost always a bad idea. Notice I said “almost.” I’ll have to admit, the most “bombproof” horse I ever owned was only two years old when I got her, and she was unflappable from day one. I believe she was a pretty rare exception, however. Most young horses are still feeling their oats, and many are easily spooked. In most cases, a green equine will try you more than an older, settled horse will.
If you’re looking for a horse for riding lessons, one to teach your child and instill confidence, consider purchasing an older mount. This is usually a good option for all parties involved. An older horse will cost you less money, in most cases, and it will probably be a patient teacher for your child. It’s good for the horse, too, because carrying a small rider will be easier for it, physically, and it might just save the animal from the kill market.