10 fun confidence building tricks for horse riders under 12
By Charley Crocker
Thursday 09 August 2012
Horsemart blogger and rider Charley Crocker gives us her top tips to boost confidence in younger horse riders.
Sounds obvious doesn't it; A nervous child should not be paired with anything other than a confidence giving schoolmaster/mistress. Not so easy in real life! Whatever the reason for a loss of confidence, try the following tips...
1. Be Safe. Check your rider and pony’s equipment fit correctly and are produced to current safety standards.
2. Back to Basics. Respect between child and pony is very important and cuts both ways. Have a stable management and horsey general knowledge quiz!
3. Mini Showing! Practice a simple showing class in your arena, and award pony themed prizes.
4. Balance Bareback! Bridles and hard hats a must, but get your child confident without a saddle.
5. Mini Dressage! Practice walking, halting, simple school figures. Don’t forget to bow!
6. Handy Pony! Practice riding without stirrups, exercises in the saddle, and basic pole work. Older children will benefit from lunge lessons, especially without stirrups.
7. Picnic Ride! Treat everyone to a walk through the woods. When you get back - get the kids the write about their day. Point out how well the ponies behaved/how well the kids rode etc..
8. Beach Ride! Apply the basic schooling skills on the beach, paddle in the waves....end up holding the ponies while the kids build sandcastles! Take pictures and encourage the kids to stick the photos in a scrapbook....
9. Pony Washing Day! Kids and ponies will be soaked, but will love interacting in another non-competitive environment. In the evening – do a pony puzzle!
10. Red Rosettes! Finally, and this is a great summer holiday boredom beater, organise your very own mini one day event. You can take this as far as you like, but keep it simple and relaxed. Don't forget to award rosettes to everyone and take a proud snap of your happy duo!
Want to build on this? Try your local Pony Club or BHS approved yard/instructor and book a course of lessons.
Photo: Pony Club Championships 2011 credit PCUK.
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