My FAVORITE part about these pictures is that the ad states "He is not a beginner kids horse right now, but definately has the potential to be one."
It's bad enough when people do this silly, theatrical bullshit to try to show a horse is a bombproof, been-there, done-that sort, but doing it on a horse you ADMIT is not a beginner horse? Are you TRYING to land someone in the emergency room?
This is just stupid, stupid, stupid. You haven't shown me you're a great trainer, Kelly. You've just shown me that your judgment is for shit.
What typically happens after I post something like this is that two of you crawl out of the woodwork to argue that kids should "have fun" with horses and there's just nothing at all wrong with it, and we all did it and survived, and blah blah blah... so let me respond to that in advance.
There are a lot of ways for kids to have fun with horses. I do agree that it's a bad idea for every ride to be "work" and practicing for the next show - that does burn kids out and sour them on riding and showing. So here, for those of you who are confused, is a list of fun things to do with horses that are not freakin' suicidal.
1. Egg and spoon. As long as you have horses that neck rein, this is a fun game to play - you use hard boiled eggs balanced on a spoon. Rider must hold the end of the spoon and never touch the egg. Instructor can call all the gaits and transitions she wants! Last one with the egg wins.
2. Ride a buck. You place a dollar bill between the kid's knee (or just above) and the saddle. They can't touch the dollar bill with their hands. You call all the gaits, transitions, drop stirrups. Last kid with the dollar bill wins. It's really fun if you can get everybody to agree that the winner keeps all the dollar bills!
3. Musical Sacks. As long as the kids are big enough to mount/dismount safely, this is an easy game where they walk around the arena as music plays. You put empty grain sacks on the ground. When the music stops, they get off and lead their horse so that they can jump on the nearest sack. They cannot go backwards, only in one direction around the circle. They also can't cut through the middle (use cones). Each round, you take away a sack. You can also have parents help hold horses for remounting for added safety.
Feel free to post your own examples of fun things for kids to do with their horses that are not as likely to lead to skull fractures as today's pictures! :-)
(I also must insert this gem from Kelly's web site. Why do these people freaking ALWAYS byb dogs, too? "Australian Shepard(3/4), mix pups. These puppies are the cutest. They are 5wks old as of Feb. 10, 2008 and ready to go new homes." OK, first of all, why do you have Aussie mix puppies? Secondly, FIVE WEEKS IS NOT READY TO GO TO A NEW HOME! *head explodes*)