A Child’s Safe Start to Horseback Riding (Part 1)

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Make sure your child gets a safe introduction to horses; here is how.

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.


Your child may indicate an interest in learning to ride because a school friend has recently started lessons or has a new pony and has some exciting and interesting tales to tell.   There may have been an interesting movie on television which sparked an interest in riding.


The best way to make sure that your child has a positive experience is to do plenty of homework first.


Check around your local area and seek out lesson barns and instructors that teach children.

Check in the Yellow Pages.

Ask the local tack store.

Check local online resources that maintain directories of lesson barns etc.

Visit the stables before booking any lessons.

It doesn’t have to be state of the art, but it should be neat and tidy.

There should be some kind of fenced riding arena or school in which lessons are conducted.

A variety of lesson horses should be available of all sizes, suitable for beginners.

Horses should appear clean and in good health.

The tack should be in good repair. It doesn’t have to be new, but dirty, crusted tack should send up a warning flag!

Watch some lessons to get a feel for the instructor’s style.

Does the instructor get along well with children?  Does she emphasize safety?

Is she a good teacher? Does she get her point across so all students can understand?

How does she react when things go wrong?


Talk to the parents of some of the other students at the stables.   Would they recommend the stables/instructor?

Are they pleased with their child’s progress?


Most instructors offer a course of lessons at a set price. Setting up a short course of lessons will help you and your child decide whether riding is going to be something they want to stick with. If they really like it, you can book more lessons.


Born in southern Germany in 1972, Thomas Jessberger Co-owner of Rocky Acres Rescue and Sanctuary,  began working with horses at the age of 7.  He worked a team of his grandpa’s drafts, pulling logs.  He discharged from the Military in 1998 and began Professional training horses.  He trains horses according to Natural Horsemanship.


Rocky Acres Rescue and Sanctuary

Paradise Valley Trading Company


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