<% appTitle="Ridecamp Archives" %> Ridecamp: Re: [RC] [RC] Very young riders in AERC rides

[Archives Index]   [Date Index]   [Thread Index]   [Author Index]   [Subject Index]
Current to Wed Jul 23 17:37:41 GMT 2003
  • Next by Date: Re: [RC] Very young riders in AERC rides
  • - Mike & Kathy Kelly
  • Prev by Date: Re: [RC] Very young riders in AERC rides
  • - Becky Huffman

    Re: [RC] [RC] Very young riders in AERC rides - oddfarm

    All of the reasons for very young children not to ride listed on RC are very valid. I don't want to take anything away from the family who had the 2 generations of young riders. Grandpa was very proud, I am sure. All of us in this sport who have kids, probably want our kids to love this sport as much as we do. Some of them will excel, maybe even at a very early age, and some of them couldn't care less. Only the parents can judge the difference.
    There are exceptional children who can read by the age of two, or can sing like a bird before they are 5, or even ride a 100 mile ride. Reading and singing have, oh I am guessing here, zero probability of injuries.
    However riding very large animals in open environments can turn into an ugly situation.
    Scenario 1. You and your very small, young child who can barely get his/her legs around the girth of the very large horse are trotting around the farmer's field when all of a sudden a tractor pulls out of no where. Your child can either be in front of you or behind, either way you can't grab the reins of the other horse quick enough and off they go. Hopefully, the field has just been plowed and the child has a soft landing.
    Scenario 2. You are on the last leg of your 100 mile ride with your very young, small child. You are 10 miles from the finish line, it is midnight and very dark. Your horse trips, you go head first and are knocked unconscious. You were the last riders out of the last check so no one is coming up behind. Oh I know eventually, you will be missed and some one will come looking for you. But in the meantime, your very small, young child will be traumatized thinking that you could be dead, it is very dark and they are very scared. And , on top of that, your horse took off, your child's horse wanted to be with your horse and threw your kid. Now the child is hurt, you are unconscious and no one will know you are down for a while.
    I know these are extreme scenarios but they are very possible. I don't know about physical insult to a young body riding for 100 miles, but mentally, it could make the difference of whether or not that child ever rides again.
    My daughter's first ride was very memorable. Oh, it is funny now, but it wasn't for her then. There was a river crossing, a "Man from snowy river" cliff we had to go down and lots of farms with equipment our city horses had never seen. To many obstacles for a young riders first ride.
    At the cliff she drew the line. We all got off the horses, sent them down first, and then followed to the bottom. Allison got down the cliff and ran as fast as she could to the top of an adjoining hill top. From there she screamed at Wendy and I, "I'M NOT GETTING BACK ON THAT HORSE AND YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!!". When we finally got back to the vet check, I told the vets our time was up, we were done. We had done 15 miles of a 25 and Allison had just turned eight. I didn't take her again until she was 10. What a difference two years made.
    We also have to remember that young children love to please their parents and will do things to make them happy. I didn't want Allison to grow up and say things like. "I hated riding, but my mom made me go." I didn't push her and now she truly does enjoy riding. Maybe not with me, but at least she goes.
    Allison and I were on a training ride once and galloping down a lane when a black snake popped up out of the grass. Todd jumped to the side and Allison, who is an excellent rider slowly slid down onto the grass. I can't begin to describe the thoughts that were racing through my mind. I jumped off and ran to her and by then she was sitting up. She had broken her wrist. Boy, did the guilt set in, right then and there. It was an unavoidable accident, but that didn't relieve any of the guilt.
    She is now 13 years old, and I still worry about things that can happen on the trails. Maybe a minimum age should be set for the parents sake.
    I'd like to submit a minimum age of 35. Maybe by then, I won't worry as much!
    Lisa Salas, The Odd fArm