We event.... well... the munchkin events, I attempt to event and prefer Dressage. The girl child... hates dressage. She is coming around slowly but its 'boring'.. LOVES xc though. So in an effort for a reward goal, we have showed her what a hunter pace is. Needless to say the opportunity to not have to do 'the boring thing', followed by the 'not fun thing/scary' (we can't figure out why she thinks SJ is 'scary' but XC isn't), and go straight to 'CROSS COUNTRY' has her excited.
How old were your kiddos on their first hunter pace. Our closest ones are a few hours away, I plan to ask the organizers some questions. She of course will be going out as a team with adults. I do not know anyone around us who take their children for hunter paces, let alone children her age (11).
I have seen much younger kids around here at paces/ trials. If they can ride comfortably for the length of time necessary and the pony is fit and su it able (and there are no jumps that are too big that can't be bypassed of course) I would not hesitate. The paces around here have junior divisions and there are plenty of Shetlands with kids that are 5-6 including a few on leadlines.
Mine was 5. I wore a leadline across my chest in case we needed it, but we didn't. We had done lots of trail riding, just the two of us, lots of times. I brought the lead line in case passing horses upset the pony.
It really is less about age and more about experience and suitability. My youngest (small for his age) did his first hunter pace at age 6 on an 8.2 hand mini with a a good motor. We did the hilltopper division where you could either jump or go around. I have found hunt folks to be particularly welcoming and encouraging of the kids. Plus, hunter paces are a lot of fun!
Awesome thanks, I knew she wouldn't be the youngest out there by far. I've seen pictures of littles having a blast. We just do not have any close by and she will be out with adults the first few times.
At a hunter pace this fall there was a youngster of about 7-8 being ponied by mom. The pony still managed to dump the kid & run off down the trail where my partner & I with the pair behind us scooped her up. The kid was not at all fazed, remounted and finished the ride. I saw them again at the next pace without the lead line.
My son, the non-rider, did a few with me. Age 10. He was comfortable riding in the open and tough as beans. Very fond memories as he is now 19 and girls swoon when he asks "hunters or Eventing?".
My daughter and I are Eventers...she too was @ 10. And very comfortable with the horse and riding in the open. They are so fearless at that age! It is the endurance of riding for over an hour to consider.
Question about juniors and hunter paces. Do the juniors ride in a separate division? We are putting the final details on our April pace and this question came up. In the past juniors have just ridden with an adult at our pace.
My friend took her four year old to my hunt's hunter pace last summer. The kid loved it and wanted to keep going! My friend ponied the pony while riding her own horse (which all parties were used to doing at home on trail rides), they mostly walked with some trot. Jumps were optional so they didn't have to worry about that. They timed it so they were one of the last teams to go so they didn't have to worry about anyone rushing past. It was a great time!
My son's first was when he was about 11 years old - in the 2'6" "family - optimum time" division on his 12 hand pony. That pace also offers a junior division but I think there's a minimum age to go without an adult.