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Winter is a Great Time For Kids to Learn Horseback Riding

There are a number of stables in New Jersey that cater to youth. In my area of Morris County, there is Seton Hackey Stables (Morristown) and Heritage Stables (Randolph) that offer riding lessons for young kids. Learning to ride is a rewarding experience for kids. It teaches children a respect for animals, helps them get over a fear of animals, and introduces a love of the outdoors. You don’t have to wait until warmer weather to get your child on a horse!

Builds self confidence and a love of animals.

Many large stables have indoor rings because if they are boarding horses full time they need a place to exercise the horses daily. As a result, many stables have a facility for lessons even in the winter. In fact, many stables are really hurting for business in the winter and offer lots of deals for families. There are other bonuses to taking riding lessons as well. There is not a lot of traffic through a stable in the winter. This means you are less likely to pick up germs at a stable than other indoor places children frequent.


You can begin riding lessons as young four or five years old. There’s something magical about a horse that draws most kids to them. They are such gentle animals. A good stable knows their horses very well and will choose an older pony that is good with children.


How do you choose a good stable for your kids?


#1 Ask questions about the stable.

Ask them who does lessons. Do they have some smaller ponies that are on the gentle side? Do they have a lessons program or winter specials?


Great lessons do more than just riding – they teach your kids about horses and how to care for them too.

An excellent stable isn’t just interested in plopping a kid on a horse. The best stables bring the children to the stall, show them where a horse lives. They teach kids how to care for a horse and what all the equipment is for. Stables that are interested in educating kids about horses do more than walk them around a ring.


#3 Do they provide equipment?

Ask this every time! If you have little ones they should have an equestrian helmet when they ride. I actually picked up a very good used helmet for under $25 because my kids will be taking a lot of lessons. Most stables have helmets for kids to wear, but it is always a good idea to make sure. A bike helmet is not enough protection.


#4 Who teaches?

Ask about the experience of the teacher. A good teacher can ignite a fire and love of horses. An impatient teacher could make the kids hate the experience. Ask them if their teachers have experience with kids and what ages they are most comfortable with.


While lessons can be a bit pricey, they are some of the most memorable experiences my kids have ever done. They talk about riding even months after we go. It’s a fantastic way to introduce your kids to horses and possibly a new sport. It’s also a wonderful way to take advantage of an indoor activity that will break up the doldrums of being inside all winter.



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