Your child dreams of riding a horse but you fear for his security ? Sweet and perfectly educated, ponies represent a gateway to learning progressive more than a sport, this discipline is full of virtues as much physical as relational.
The baby pony from 18 months
Equestrian centers with a baby pony section can accommodate children from 18 months to 4 years old (students then move on to the next level). Note that some establishments accept participants from 11 months. The first lessons – which last between 45 minutes and 1 hour – are divided into sequences of 15 to 20 minutes to facilitate concentration. The baby pony is not a riding lesson strictly speaking but a contact with the animal and the discovery of movement through games that will his senses awake :
- He sees an impressive mammal up close and learns to familiarize himself with this gentle giant;
- He smells of the stables: that of equines, straw and… dung!
- He touches the hair of the pony, handles the brushes, the leather of the saddle;
- He hears the sound of hooves on the ground, the pony grazing and neighing.
Baby pony: the different stages
During the sessions, the presence of parents provides emotional security, but their intervention is generally not technically required in order to let the child acquire his autonomy. Progress will be observed over the months.
- At 1 year old, the child who has started to walk will want to ride the animal but he will first have to attend sessions to learn by watching his older friends;
- Around 18 months and up to 2 years, he will begin to ride alone in a merry-go-round with ponies held by a companion;
- From 2 years old, he will be able to fend for himself in a merry-go-round, try a few trots with an adult holding the reins;
- Around 3 years old, he will know how to steer his pony all alone in secure spaces.
Pony lessons from 5 years old
In general, equestrian centers welcome budding riders from 5 years. If the child has not participated in the baby pony section, he will have to gradually discover how approach the animal and learn to ride, before you can go to the forest! At that age, he will gradually acquire autonomy on his mount and begin to prepare it alone before the session. A typical horse riding lesson lasts 1 hour and usually includes 15 minutes for the preparation of the pony, 40 minutes to ride and 5 minutes to tidy equipment. Yes… equipping your horse is an integral part of this hobby. From the age of 10, the child will have integrated the safety rules and techniques essential which will allow him a more regular and sporting practice of the equestrian discipline.
Pony lessons: what are the benefits for the child?
The discovery of animals and the equine universe in particular has many virtues for the child:
- Develop empathy and respect for the animal. The rider / pony couple forms a whole. Saying hello to your companion, brushing, feeding and preparing him are privileged moments of tenderness between the two partners. The child will find in him a confidant with which he will exchange his emotions and little by little will establish an emotional relationship and complicity. He will learn to love and respect this living being, gifted with intelligence, with whom he will weave a bond based on the care that each brings to the other;
- Tame your fear and gain self-confidence. Approaching this large animal, touching it, preparing it, riding it, going to a trot and then to a gallop are all exercises that will help develop the child’s confidence and autonomy. Control his fear and self control are among the strengths that he will forge in himself. The little rider will also quickly learn to respect the rules of this sport on which his safety depends;
- Promote motor skills. To rub shoulders with the pony involves learning to get on and off alone, to keep thebalanced when the equine moves, to hold it, make it move forward, make it turn, stop it …. So many maneuvers that will develop the child’s psychomotor capacity and help him find his way in space: move forward , go back, go right, left, climb a slope, descend it. Leading your mount also requires concentration, good coordination of movements and perception of everything that is going on around. At the physical level, equestrian sport requires an adapted posture which, when acquired, is beneficial for the back by strengthening and toning it.
How to introduce a child to the pony?
There are several ways to introduce horse riding to your little one. If you are worried about spending your weekends at the equestrian center, you can start with early learning sessions so occasional. It is also possible to set up a monthly session, every 15 days or every week. Many pony clubs offer internships half-day, day or week during school holidays. Whatever pace you adopt, the sessions allow children to share unforgettable moments with ponies, to take care of them and to ride them in a playful atmosphere. secure by qualified personnel.