Down here in the Southeast the minimum age is 8 and that might even be too young. At some of those mountain rides I don't think I'd want a kid younger than 12 on those trails. Hey, it's up to you, the parent, and I have taken some risks with my daughter, but I can say I never forced her once to go out there with me. I do think the entire endurance experience has had quite an affect on her persona, and 95% of it is for the better. When it comes to endurance, she has quite an ego.
Jen was almost 11 when she did her first ride, a measly 25 miler. She was 12 when she did her first 50. I'll never forget our first crowded ride together, Hahira, where we decided to start out with the front of the pack. The beginning was way too dangerous, and even though I thought we had Jen's horse trained to never pass me, this trail opened out to a big ole farm field, and I swear over 50 of the front runners were riding side by side. In a racetrack gallop. Jen's horse got ahead of me and was completely out of control. Jen had no chance of stopping this horse.
Luckily, I knew some folks ahead of Jen and screamed out for them to put a block on Jen's horse. They heard me and complied. This was another dangerous thing cause here comes a hundred riders closing in from the field narrowing down to a single file trail, right where they were blocking Jen's horse. It's one of the reasons I'm not all that thrilled with an incredible number of riders and horses at the start. It's an accident just waiting to happen.
You take your chances, you roll the dice. But, if you love your kid, you won't be in too much of a hurry here. Upper body strength is the only thing that will save you on a runaway horse, and kid's don't have it. I don't care how good a rider the kid is, if they don't know how to control a runaway, they might not be ready for that endurance trail. Hey, it's only my opinion, doesn't mean much, but I have been down that road for over 3 years now. The risk factor of the sport is already quite high; throw your young kid into the mix and you better make darn sure they're prepared for it.
Howard (even ahead of the horse, kids must come first)
----- Original Message -----
From: Joe Long
Sent: Thursday, October 24, 2002 12:59 PM
Subject: Re: [RC] [RC] Very young riders in AERC rides
On Thu, 24 Oct 2002 11:36:00 -0400, "A. Perez" <walkergirl@xxxxxxxxxx>
>Ohhhh Noooooo... the Cliffy debate returns! All who find this
>if interest should search the archives from about a year ago
>for 'Cliffy' - it was a long, heated thread, that thoroughly
>ground the topic into very fine dust!
I don't consider this a "Cliffy" debate, and he is not the only
toddler being taken on endurance rides. I'm concerned with the issue,
not any particular individual or family.
I brought it up now because we have a Convention coming up, and now is
the time to push for a rule change.
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