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I have about five young lesson riders that do private lessons. Some of them are asking to ride with others. Is it appropriate to put this age group in a semi-private lesson format? I am brainstorming ideas on how to get the younger kids to interact either on horseback or non-horseback in a classroom environment. Maybe a horseless 4-H club or Friday night gathering one or twice a month? What format/lesson would be appropriate?

Also, does CHA have networking group to search for useable bomb-proof lessons horses?

KC, Oregon



You do not mention how young the children are so it is hard for me to say. Under 6 is not appropriate for a group lesson; they need one on one if they ride at all. 6-8 is marginal for group lessons, depending on the maturity, size and focus of the kids. At this age I would keep the group very small, four at the most, and keep the sessions short (20-30 minutes). Spend lots of time on the ground learning grooming, leading, tacking, parts of horse/tack, etc. When you have them mounted, you should use a qualified assistant to help.

There are many great unmounted games you can play with young children. If you have some ponies, you can always have a pony party where you decorate and dress up the ponies. Little girls, especially, can spend hours doing this. Old horse magazines are great tools for playing scavenger games or making collages. Horse charades, jeopardy, acting out skits are great old favorites. There are lots of ideas on our website so be sure to check out the magazine section.

Good luck with your program!