Tiny Trotters

Over the last 35 years, it has been our experience that many children in the age range of 5-7 find the intensity of an hour-long riding lesson overwhelming. They’re keen to begin their adventure with horses but at that young age, they may lack the needed stamina and focus.

Our Tiny Trotters program is specifically designed to give these younger riders the opportunity to enjoy the riding experience in a more holistic way as well as in a way that is targeted to their age group.

There are three facets to our program:

  • Time spent on the horse
  • Time spent working with the horse on the ground
  • Games and other fun activities related to horsemanship

In the first phase, the children will be on the horse, learning to acquire the skills needed to stay in balance in the saddle while understanding how to guide the horse in walk and trot. (Don’t worry if your little one is nervous at first. While our experienced, helpful staff will always challenge the students to try all activities, they’ll also ensure that none of the children are pushed too far out of their comfort zone.)

The second phase of the program takes place off the horse. Depending on the season, the children will have the opportunity to change into warmer or cooler clothes so that they can enjoy their time in the barn more fully. They will learn how to groom, how to understand the basics of the horse’s language, and how to lead and prepare the horse for a lesson.

Finally, in the third phase, safety rules are reinforced through games and other fun activities that children always enjoy and remember. Playing games with yoga balls and other training aids in our indoor arena increases their understanding of the art of riding while developing their motor skills, coordination, and sense of accomplishment.

The horses Harrogate uses for this program have been with the School for a long time, some as long as 20 years. They are professionals and quite forgiving of the errors beginners can sometimes inadvertently make. It is our belief that it is just as easy to learn to do things correctly from the start and this two-hour program gives your child ample opportunity to have fun while learning the rules that keep children safe around horses.

Here’s some of what they’ll learn:

  • How to groom
  • How to prepare the horse for lesson (tacking up)
  • How to lead safely
  • How to get on safely
  • Understand and and maintain correct basic position
  • How to perform rising trot
  • How to be responsible for their equine partner after the ride
  • Basic parts of the horse
  • Basic parts of the saddle and bridle
  • Basic stable management skills (eg. knowing horse’s vital signs)
  • and much more….

COST: $380.00 for 4 weeks

(This is a monthly program and your child’s spot will be available until you decide to cancel the program. Please allow 1 week’s notice for cancellation.)

Below are the levels your child will progress through and the skills they will acquire:

Level One: Falabella 

  1. Comfortable petting a horse
  2. Able to name two different colours of horses 
  3. Able to name two different breeds of horses 
  4. Name the grooming tools that we use 
  5. Know which side we lead a horse from 
  6. Able to maintain correct position at the halt 
  7. Show ability to get on the horse with assistance 
  8. Able to maintain balance in walk, hold on with only one hand
  9. Ability to find stirrups at the halt
  10. Show ability to perform rising trot

Level Two: Shetland Pony

  1. Able to give a horse a treat safely
  2. Ability to identify a colour and a breed of one of Harrogate’s horses
  3. Name 3 parts of the saddle
  4. Name 3 parts of the bridle
  5. Understand why we groom the horse
  6. Ability to safely lead your horse
  7. Basic correct position at the walk
  8. Show ability to hold the reins
  9. Able to perform “Around the World”
  10. Ability to dismount safely

Level Three: Welsh Pony

  1. Ability to use the cross ties
  2. Able to name 3 safety rules in the barn
  3. Able to name 3 things we do before we get on
  4. Know the most important thing you can give your horse
  5. Show the ability to groom
  6. Understand the idea of inside/outside
  7. Know which part of your leg communicates with the horse
  8. Show how to lengthen and shorten the reins
  9. Understand the basic body language of the horse
  10. Perform rising trot with both hands away

Level Four: Connemara Pony

  1. Ability to take the head collar on and off
  2. Able to name three things you can check for your horse’s health
  3. Know how to tell if the horse is dehydrated
  4. Know how to pick out the horse’s feet (with assistance)
  5. Know how to sweep safely around your horse.
  6. Able to name 3 safety rules we use in the arena
  7. Review how to use legs in the rhythm of the walk
  8. Know what sound does the horse make when he is relaxed
  9. Show understanding of following the motion of the horse in walk (reins, seat, legs)
  10. Know how to stop the horse without pulling back on the reins

Level Five: New Forest Pony

  1. Show how to slide the head collar over the horse’s neck
  2. Know how many beats (footfalls) in the walk
  3. Know how we measure a horse
  4. Knowledge of the horse’s vital signs
  5. Know how many teeth the horse has
  6. Show ability to make simple turns in the walk
  7. Show what it means to ride at the buckle
  8. Two-point position at the halt/walk
  9. Show ability to perform a short period of sitting trot in transitions
  10. Ability to carry crop under thumbs