How to "get into" riding when you know nothing. Best First steps?


New Member
Aug 24, 2020

My daughter is 11 and has been taking lessons in the summers for the last two years (I think she's had about 20 lessons in total) she's just starting to learn cantering on an "English" saddle. We did this as a "let's see if you like it" for a few years before getting more serious. She wants to learn how to jump and eventually possibly compete. Can anyone give me an idea of what she might be committing to? She likes her lessons and she likes to ride during them, but is not the kid who has read every book about horses, knows all the equipment different riding styles, etc.

No one I know has any riding background so I thought I'd reach out here. We are in the suburbs of Chicago in Illinois, USA so riding is not a common sport near us though there are a few stables about an hour away.

What would be our best next steps?

Thank you,


Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
Suffolk, UK
I think you’re doing just the right thing seeing how committed she is before doing more, extend the lessons into the bad weather, that’s often a good test ? my friends daughter loved riding mine for a year before we got her a pony and that only lasted a couple of months before she wasn’t so keen on the daily commitment and chores ? perhaps see if the barn offers a week long ‘own a pony’ experience or see if they offer part lease of the lesson horses as an intermediary step.
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Reactions: Huggy


Well-Known Member
Nov 11, 2018
Agree that trying the "own a pony for a week/weekend" is a good idea. My mum got me a job at a local stables, hoping I'd be put off by the "dirty work" - I wasn't - just made me more obsessed! That's another option, helping at a stables for a few weekends, some places in the UK even give lessons in return, though that's quite rare these days.
Sep 29, 2019
What i would do is do riding lessons weekly until she can happily walk trot canter and jump a bit before considering looking into sharing a horse or pony or part loaning which means sharing someone’s horse with them this would give her more of an opportunity to join pony club and go to competitions I would also advise sending her riding holiday type things own a pony day or something so she gets some experience on racking up and looking after a horse also helping at the stables is also a good option good luck xx
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