Is your child ready for a horse?

Regardless of whether you live in a peaceful rural community or a bustling neighborhood in the suburbs, a horse could be the perfect addition to your family. It’s not uncommon for children to start dreaming of having a horse from a young age, whether they become captivated by Disney movies featuring talking horses or simply enjoy watching them graze in fields as they pass by. As your child’s fascination grows, they may even begin to inquire about when they can have their very own four-legged companion. With their gentle demeanor and bond-building potential, horses can bring immeasurable joy and unforgettable memories to your family’s life. So why not consider welcoming a horse into your loving home?

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.

Boy riding a horse

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

Sometimes without even realizing it, parents can unintentionally project their own aspirations onto their children. Although most parents do not intend to do this, it is not uncommon for them to inadvertently live vicariously through their kids. Therefore, it is crucial to reflect upon whether you might be unknowingly falling into this pattern or if your child’s interests are genuinely being nurtured. Taking the time to evaluate this dynamic can lead to a better understanding of your parenting approach and ensure your child’s individuality is honored.

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

In addition to the amount of time your child can spend with their horse, it is crucial to consider their existing commitments. If your child already participates in a multitude of extracurricular activities both before and after school, and is also involved in various clubs on weekends, they may not have sufficient time to develop the necessary bond with their horse. As a result, both you and your child (or children) may need to make certain sacrifices in order to prioritize and nurture this special relationship.

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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