Frequently Asked Questions…
What age should a child start riding? We have had experience starting children as early as three years old. Having said that, there is a limitation of what the child can do at that age and the lessons will be somewhat limited until the child gets a little stronger which helps with balance on the pony. Most kids five and up will progress at a faster rate because of physical strength and maturity.
What equipment is needed when starting to take horseback riding lessons? Most barns will require the child to have their own riding helmet as well as boots with a heel. A certified helmet with a good fit is extremely important for safety. Any reputable tack shop will help you fit the child to the appropriate size. The heel on the boot is what provides safety from the foot going through the stirrup too far and the child’s foot getting stuck. There are also riding jodhpurs or breeches that are specialized for riding and have an extra patch on the inner side of the leg to provide some added comfort. Comfortable leggings are also acceptable.
What should be expected during the lesson? During the hour, the trainer will assist the child in grooming and cleaning the pony as well as tacking up the pony while learning different parts of the pony and proper horsemanship. Once the pony is fully tacked up, the majority of the time will be spent in the saddle learning basics and different techniques of riding. The level of experience for the child will decide how basic or advanced the lesson is. Each lesson lasts one hour start to finish.
Will your child be in a private or group lesson? Most beginner students will start in a private lesson so they get the most one on one time with their trainer. The less experienced the rider the more the child will need assistance in simply steering and riding the pony around the ring. Once the child gets more experience and confidence to guide the pony around on their own, we will then group them with another child that is on the same level.
When should your child start competing and going to horse shows? This is ultimately up to you, the parent. Riding horses can happen on all levels and competitions are not always a must. But, we do take most of our students to shows around Lexington, KY throughout the season so we are always happy to include our younger students. Most of the competitions will have a division that is called the Walk/Trot poles. This specific division requires the child to be able to guide the pony around a basic course of poles on the ground at the trot. The child will need to remember a course of poles and which direction to follow while steering the pony around. Once your child is able to achieve this at home, they should be ready to head to a competition.
What riding attire is needed for competitions? Horse shows/competitions require a hunt coat over a plain white shirt that has a high collar as well as beige breeches. They must wear black or dark brown paddock boots and a black helmet that is certified safe. Black gloves are also a good accessory so the child does not get blisters on their fingers.
Do we host week long camps? Yes we do! We will most likely have a summer camp in July and we are not opposed to adding more camps during school breaks if we get enough interest. You can always find out more details about them by visiting our website www.thecloud9farm.com