Is your child ready for a horse?

Regardless of whether you live in a rural community or built-up suburbs, a horse could be your next family pet. Children often start dreaming of having a horse from a young age, whether they watch Disney movies with talking horses or you simply walk or drive past fields with them in, your child may just begin to start asking you when they can have one.

But how do you know your child is ready, and more importantly whether you are ready as a family to own a horse? It is not like having a dog or cat as a pet, a horse is a much bigger animal is a bigger responsibility attached to them. There are a few things that you need to consider, certainly before you make any sort of commitment to your child and your family.

What Age Should a Kid Get a Horse?

Deciding what age is best for kids to get a horse can be a complex decision. The age depends greatly on the maturity of the kids involved and the activity they wish to have with their horses. Generally, kids should wait until around 10 years old for ponies and 13-15 for full-size horses. Older kids may be able to take on more responsibility associated with owning a horse such as basic care, feeding, potty training, leading, and grooming. These skills come with time and experience to gradually assess the kids’ ability to handle the task. Plus, kids shouldn’t forget the most important part – fun! Ensuring kids have enough dedication, patience, and riding time in order to grow their bond helps create an enjoyable experience that both kids and horses alike will enjoy.

Is this a passing phase or something else?

How many children watch animated films with talking horses, or have picked up classic novels such as Black Beauty and have then decided that they must have a horse? Your child could be inspired to have a horse as a pet through a number of different mediums, whether that is a film, TV show, or book. The important thing here is to establish whether having a horse is something that they have decided whilst being inspired through these mediums, or whether they hold a more long-term interest.

Living your dreams through your child

You may not be totally aware of this, but many parents actually try and live their own dreams through their children. Many parents do not intend to do this, but it happens. So, you need to think about whether this is something you are doing, or whether it is interest-driven by your child.

Are you ready for a horse?

Owning a horse is completely different from owning any other kind of pet. It is a huge responsibility and one that needs to be managed as effectively as possible.

Depending on the age of your child, and their maturity and interest levels will have an impact on just how much involvement and responsibility you will have as parents. Consider that it will be you who sources the food, drives supplies up to the paddock, pays the vet bills, and sourcing worming solutions from websites like

It is also about the amount of time your child can be with their horse. If you find that your child already attends a lot of extra activities before and after school, as well as being part of other clubs at the weekend, your child will not have the time both they and the horse need to bond. You and your child, or children, will have to make certain sacrifices.

Try before you buy

This is not about renting a horse for the weekend, even though you may be able to do that at some paddocks or by asking friends and family members who already own a horse, it is about booking your child in for horse riding lessons. These lessons are a good indicator of your child’s dedication to having a horse on a more full-time basis. If you find they are still committed after several months, then this is a good sign to look at a more full-time investment.

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