Horseback Riding for Kids
Archived Q&A and Reviews
- Western Horse riding lessons for almost 8yo girl
- 9 yr. old Horseback Riding
- Western Horse-Back Riding Lessons
- Horse/Pony Riding Classes for 4-yr Old
- Horse stable where daughter can volunteer?
- Horseback rising lessons for 9-year-old
- Relaxed horse riding lessons for 4-year-old
- Riding lessons near San Ramon
Skye Valley Training
My daughter, teenaged son and myself have all ridden with Skye Valley Training at Shiloh West Equestrian in Castro Valley for over 8 years. I can't say enough about the positive experience we have all had and the poise and confidence that my kids have attained through their interaction with horses, pony club and riding in general. Empathy for others, responsibility, being a team leader, taking care of others' needs before your own and managing disappointment and enjoying the thrill of a job well done. These are but a few of the life lessons they have gotten through their time with horses. Our trainers, Jaimi, Courtney and Jennie are amazing mentors and equine educators. Their love of horses and of teaching others to ride shows! The kids at our barn love them and enjoy learning and achieving new things in their lessons. It is a commitment but one so full of rewards. I hope you come out and try it out! -Dede
Hello, My daughter really wants to take Western riding lessons. She has taken one set of English lessons and one set of Western lessons. She really liked the Western lessons better and wants to continue with Western lessons. We do not have a horse. I would prefer to keep the lessons close to the Berkeley Oakland area if possible but we can go farther. daughter loves horses
Try asking at Redwood Hills Pony Club. They do English riding, and my daughter went there for many years and really enjoyed herself. They have a whole program of learning about the horse, and ratings. You may have to get on a waiting list, but might go ahead and do so as it may take time to get in and she may become interested in English Saddles because of jumping. Western saddle has a pummel to grab onto and for an insecure rider may be one of the reasons for preferring it. The Berkeley Wildcat Canyon Ranch Youth Program taught inner-city children to care for the horses and ride, but I understand the program lost its funding as a result of a dispute with neighbors and closed. There are other stables in the area. Horsie mom
My 4 and 6 year olds have been taking horseback riding lessons with Nola Giddings in El Sobrante. I'm not sure what style of riding is taught but she is really amazing with children and my kids LOVE her and riding. You can call her here: 510-703-7765 or email me with more questions. cath
Please, does anyone know of horseback riding camps/lessons where kids do riding and horsecare? She wants to ride, not do crafts related to horses. The closer the stables are to Berkeley, the better. Thank you so much
Our daughter has done several sessions at Castle Rock Arabians over the years, probably starting at about 6 years. She enjoyed it lots. It is a bit of a drive, out to Walnut Creek, YVR, and then a right on Walnut Ave. out to the end just before Mt.Diablo State Park. Mostly they learn to care for the horses, groom them, etc. and have lessons in the ring and some trail riding depending on age. Not for the cash - strapped, it is great but about $800+ per week. Discount if more than one sibling is taking a session or one child is doing multiple sessions. kl
Contact the Redwood Hills Pony Club. My daughter went there for a number of years. It is affordable and goes beyond just learning to ride with a strong program of horse care, levels of achievement to master, and fun field trips. There is often a waiting list, so you may want to sign up ahead of time; even a year ahead wouldn't hurt. Some parent participation is expected.
My kid takes private lessons at a stables called Taylor Ranch up in El Sobrante. It's up in the hills at the end of Valley View, about 20-30 minutes from Berkeley, depending on where you live. Nothing fancy pants, just horses and people who like them (and a goat named Snowflake, and four hens, a rooster, + a brood of chicks).
Melinda Reed is a young woman who has taught lessons and ran camps for a few years. She's got a draft horse named Rock and a red mare, Mama Horse, that she uses for the kids. Draft horses are huge, but mellow, kind of like St. Bernards--much nicer and more predictable than most ponies, which is what my kid started on last year. He loves it because he's so high up.
Melinda charges $40 for an hour and a half, which includes learning horse care as well. Her information is: mreed_cowgirlatheart [at] live.com
My daughter loves being with and taking care of horses. She has been taking English lessons for years. However, she just cannot seem to get past some of her fears when she is actually on the horse. Her instructor thinks she might do better riding Western - no jumping, slower gait, bigger saddle, etc. Can anyone recommend a barn where she could hang around and help with the horse care, take lessons, and do some trail riding? horsey girl's mom
My daughter has the best teacher/trainer ever! We had many less than favorable experiences with riding teacher and places, and that led my horse loving daughter to fear. Marie has made her a better, safe rider, has taught her all about horse grooming and care, natural horsemanship and how to truly have fun. She is patient, supportive and fun. Teaches western only. Call Marie Grisham at 510-304-1025. She is great and reasonable! Varda
My 4-year old daughter is developing quite a fascination with horses (all things cowgirl, books, Breyer horses, barrel racing videos on YouTube . . . ). In our efforts to satisfy this, we took her to a pony-ride place where the ponies are on one of those carousel hookups. She loved the riding part, but only wanted to know 1) why there wasn't a bridle, and 2) why the ponies had to stay on the carousel. Does anyone do riding classes (horse or pony) for 4-year olds? We're specifically looking for classes, not a camp. I'd prefer western. We're in Oakland, and wouldn't want to travel too far. Thanks for any recommendations! anne
You can find places that will give riding lessons to 4 year olds, and a good resource for barns in the area is www.bayequest.com. I would recommend waiting until she is a bit older (say 6 or 7), however, since most kids aren't ready physically or mentally to learn to ride at 4. I say this as a former riding instructor who also has a horse crazy daughter who is about to turn 5. We have horses at home so you can only imagine the pleas to add a pony to the herd. Until kids reach a certain age, physically they are somewhat top heavy and often lack the balance to manage their own body and control a horse.
A general rule of thumb is that they should be able to confidently ride a bike w/o training wheels before they start riding lessons. Mentally they need to be able to listen to a teacher and focus on a task for at least 30 minutes, and have enough resilience that they won't be too traumatized if they roll off the pony. Finally, make sure that you purchase your own helmet for her and make sure it is well-fitted and won't shift during lessons. Vista Madera tack store in Oakland or Western Saddlery in Pleasanton are good sources. Good luck! Vali
My daughter has fallen in loves with horses this summer at her camp. Does anyone have recommendations for a place that she could go weekends and ride/help exercise/help groom/help clean/ etc.? Years ago we had a neighbor who stabled her horse somewhere and there were some horses that were rather neglected by their owners, and they needed extra attention that the stable crew could not provide. Any suggestions as to where she can get horse time? for not too much money? as a volunteer?
When my daughter was around 12 she also got bitten badly by the horse bug. She had attended ''horse camp'' for a couple of summers at Tilden Park (by the pony rides) and had gotten to know the woman who ran the pony rides. I don't know if it's the same person there now or not. My daughter offered to come up on the weekends to help and they were very happy to have her. This was about 5 years ago, so I don't know whether something like this would still be possible, but you might check it out. Judy
You didn't say where you lived but there is a low key and VERY inexpensive horse stable place in El Sobrante. We have been there and it is $25.00 per hour to ride around. My daughters also groom, saddle and lead. Patty is very nice. It is VERY ''rustic''. Their phone no is (510)223-7249. anon
I am looking for recommendations for horse riding lessons for a nine year old with some experience already. We are in Oakland and are willing to travel some for a really good teacher. She has been riding English. We are concerned about safety and a positive learning environment. The only suggestion on the site is for Bottomley and we found them a bit more geared towards the competition than we like. Sharon
Try Briones - there's a riding stable there that gives English lessons. susievav
I have a friend who takes lessons in Marin. The stable is called Miwok Livery and she raves about it. They have classes and camps for children. The URL is http://www.miwokstables.com . Hope that helps. Mollie Hart
Skyline Stables, Redwood Road, Oakland (has a pony club) FoxRidge Stables, Redwood Road Oakland (may have a summer camp) Rancho del Lago, Rancho del Lago Road, Martinez (off Bear Creek Road about 1 mile from Bottomley. has summer camp for kids, has a pony club) Half Halt Farms, Rancho del Lago Road, Martinez (see above) Poplar Place Stables, Bear Creek Road (next to Bottomley, has a pony club) Nancy
I took english riding lessons at Black Point Farm in Martinez, which is down the street from Bottomley. I learned a lot about horses, grooming, etc. I even had to put the bit in the horses mouth, which for me was a bit much at first, but got used to it. I was there for 6 years, but stopped because it became to expensive. It's been since 1996, so not sure if they're still around. The smaller children were taught on ponies. The place had a very nice and homey feel. Nothing fancy, but the horses are well taken care of and healthy. What I liked about the place was that the owner had a variety of horses and you could ride a different one or the same one each lesson. The owner is Carole Dwinnelle. I was taught by her daughter Beth, who is very nice, patient and very good with horses. She grew up around horses and use to compete so that made the experience much better. I'd like to know if they are still in business. I would love to take my daughter there. Cheryl
I am looking for friendly, relaxed horse riding lessons for my 4 year old around the Walnut Creek area. Does anyone have any recommendations?
Hi, I keep my horse at the Eagle's Nest Ranch in Castro Valley. There is a wonderful trainer there that is great with young kids. Her name is Beverley Vreeland. Their number is: (510) 538-8249- office (bev-direct line) 886-6851 Good luck, Michelle Stern
My daughter's birthday is coming up in April, and she wants horseback riding lessons more than anything. Can anyone recommend a place where she would not only learn to ride, but have a very positive, confidence-building experience? We live in San Ramon and would prefer something in our area, but would be willing to go a bit further - especially if lessons could be on the weekend ;-) Thanks in advance! Wendy
My daughter has been taking riding lessons at Bottomley Farm in Martinez for four years. She started when she was six. Bottomley Farm is a serious riding stable, but it's also turned out to be a pretty friendly community of people.
Bottomley Farm stresses care of its horses, so part of a riding lesson is grooming the horse both before and after the lesson and cleaning the tack you use. So though a private lesson is only a half of an hour, it's takes 15 to 30 minutes to get the horse ready and about the same amount of time after the lesson to clean everything up. If your daughter continues with lesson, at some point she'll be able to join a group. Then for the same price, she'll be able to take an hour lesson with a group of one to three other riders at the same level of ability. The cost of a lesson is $40.
Bottomley Farm also offers one-week day camps in the summer. Beginners are welcome to sign up for these. They are from 9 to 4 and expensive (I think $300 per week this year.) The children get to ride twice a day and spend the rest of the time learning about horses, what they eat, what diseases they get, how to take care of them, parts of the saddle and bridle, etc. There is a little horse show for the parents on the last afternoon of the camp. The phone number for Bottomley Farm is (925) 228-3766. Janet