Best Tips to Help Your Kid Start in Horse Riding

Horse riding is an enriching activity that can bring joy, confidence, and a sense of adventure to children. It’s a wonderful way for kids to develop a strong bond with animals, learn responsibility, and gain physical strength and coordination. However, like any sport, it requires the right preparation, safety measures, and guidance to ensure a positive and safe experience. In this blog post, we'll share the best tips to help your child get started in horse riding, including the essential safety equipment

1. Choose the Right Riding School

The first step in your child’s horse riding journey is to find a reputable riding school. Look for a school with certified instructors, well-maintained facilities, and a variety of lesson options. A good riding school should emphasize safety, proper riding techniques, and horse care.

Visit the school with your child, meet the instructors, and observe a few classes. This will give you a feel for the teaching style and the overall environment. Ensure the school has a good mix of theoretical lessons and practical riding sessions to provide a comprehensive learning experience.

2. Start with the Basics

Before your child gets in the saddle, they should learn the basics of horse care and behavior. Understanding how to approach, groom, and tack up a horse is essential. This foundation not only builds confidence but also fosters respect and empathy for the animal.

Begin with simple tasks such as feeding, brushing, and cleaning the hooves. Gradually introduce more complex tasks like saddling and bridling, teach them how to keep their equipment clean by adding a kit to your barn. These activities will help your child feel more comfortable around horses and prepare them for riding lessons.

3. Invest in Quality Safety Equipment

Safety should always be a top priority in horse riding. Proper gear can significantly reduce the risk of injury and enhance the riding experience. Here’s a list of essential safety equipment your child will need:

  • Helmet: A well-fitted, certified riding helmet is a must. It protects the rider’s head from injuries in case of falls or accidents.
  • Boots: Riding boots with a low heel prevent the foot from slipping through the stirrup and provide better grip.
  • Gloves: Riding gloves offer better grip on the reins and protect the hands from blisters.
  • Body Protector: A body protector can help cushion the impact of a fall, protecting the chest and back.
  • Stirrups: Stirrups like the Ophena S stirrups are designed with safety in mind. They feature a magnetic system that ensures the rider’s foot stays in place while allowing easy release in case of a fall, reducing the risk of being dragged by the horse.

The Ophena S stirrups, in particular, are a game-changer for young riders. Their advanced design provides stability and security, giving parents peace of mind and kids the confidence to focus on their riding.

4. Take It Slow and Steady

Horse riding is not something that can be rushed. It requires patience and gradual progress. Start with short, simple lessons to build your child’s confidence and gradually increase the complexity and duration of the sessions as they become more comfortable and skilled.

Encourage your child to listen to their instructor and take things at their own pace. Celebrate small achievements and remind them that learning to ride is a journey that takes time and dedication.

5. Learn Proper Riding Techniques

Good riding technique is crucial for safety and success in horse riding. Here are a few fundamental skills your child should learn:

  • Mounting and Dismounting: Learning the correct way to get on and off the horse is essential for safety.
  • Posture: Proper posture helps maintain balance and control. Teach your child to sit up straight, with their heels down and eyes forward.
  • Rein Control: Understanding how to hold and use the reins to communicate with the horse is key to effective riding.
  • Leg Aids: Using leg aids correctly helps guide the horse’s movement and direction.

These basics will provide a strong foundation for more advanced riding skills and disciplines.

6. Emphasize Communication and Bonding

A good rider forms a partnership with their horse. Teach your child the importance of communication and bonding with their horse. Spending time with the horse outside of riding lessons can strengthen this bond. Activities like grooming, hand-walking, and talking to the horse help build trust and understanding.

Understanding the horse’s body language and signals is also crucial. Encourage your child to observe and learn how horses communicate their moods and needs.

7. Participate in Group Lessons and Events

Group lessons and events can be beneficial for young riders. They provide opportunities to learn from peers, make new friends, and experience different horses and riding styles. Participating in shows, competitions, and horse camps can also be a great way to motivate your child and celebrate their progress.

Group settings can enhance your child’s social skills and build a sense of community within the riding world.

8. Stay Positive and Encouraging

Learning to ride can be challenging, and your child might face setbacks or frustrations. It’s important to stay positive and encouraging. Celebrate their progress, no matter how small, and provide constructive feedback to help them improve.

Remind your child that mistakes are part of the learning process and that persistence and dedication will lead to improvement.

9. Understand the Commitment

Horse riding requires a significant commitment of time, energy, and resources. Ensure that both you and your child are prepared for this commitment. Regular lessons, practice, and horse care are essential parts of becoming a skilled rider.

Discuss the commitment with your child and make sure they are genuinely interested and excited about riding. This will help ensure a positive and rewarding experience for both of you.

10. Prioritize Fun and Enjoyment

Above all, horse riding should be fun and enjoyable. Encourage your child to embrace the joy of riding and the unique experience of bonding with a horse. Plan fun activities, like trail rides or horse-themed outings, to keep their interest alive and make the experience more enjoyable.

Horse riding can be a lifelong passion that brings immense joy and satisfaction. By following these tips and prioritizing safety, you can help your child start their riding journey on the right foot.


Starting your child in horse riding is an exciting adventure filled with opportunities for growth, learning, and fun. By choosing the right riding school, investing in quality safety equipment like the Ophena S stirrups, and fostering a positive, patient, and encouraging environment, you can help your child develop a strong foundation in this wonderful sport. Remember to emphasize safety, enjoy the journey, and celebrate every achievement along the way. Happy riding!