We all “Pop” at Different Times
This is very true for kids who compete in rodeo and other horse related events too.
Some kids aren’t ready to win when they’re, 5, 10, 15 or older. Make sure as a parent or guardian that you are putting their safety and confidence first. Putting them on a pony, horse, steer or bull that scares or makes them uncomfortable can keep them from wanting to advance. Listen to their intuitions. We have them at all ages!
When I was in 8th grade, I thought I was ready for a younger horse. I’d ridden off and on my entire life. Both my parents have trained and competed on horses their entire lives, so I was in good hands to learn the process. My parents found a really cute, seemingly safe 4 year old and brought him home for me.
I rode the gelding for a couple weeks and even with all of my excitement, I didn’t feel safe on him. The horse hadn’t done anything wrong, but my excited, 13 year old intuition told me something wasn’t quite right. So I asked my mom to ride him a little for me.
My mom rode him for a week or so and felt the same way. The horse had been roped on, so we thought we’d have my dad rope on him some more and get him a little more experience.
The first few steers were fine, then on the 4th steer he headed and went left on, the horse, MY horse, cracked in two! My dad ended up breaking his pelvis.
Now we all know young horses buck sometimes and that’s a risk we take, but this one continued to buck. We sent him off to have someone who rode colts and could put a lot of miles on him to try to get the buck out of him. They never could.
Moral of the story, if your child genuinely feels uncomfortable and not safe, be it a horse is too fast, quick in their turns or they’re just not ready, listen. Overcoming fear is one thing, putting your child in an unsafe situation is another.
Remember, we want them to stay little as long as possible! There is plenty of time for them to grow up and be fierce competitors!