Q&A Questions and Answers:
Hi Cowboy Bob:
My 8-1/2 year old boy, came to me about a strong interest in horses. I suggested that we get on the internet and do some research and learn about horses first.
When I was 12, I got to spend a week at horse camp...my horse there was Tiki. It was in Washington State and I had a great time! I learned to barrel race and it was really cool...or I guess the kids now say "it was sooo sweet!" I understand his love for all animals, and at this point he seems to be interested in horses. I know that could change.
I have three boys, 10-1/2, 8-1/2, and 18 months. The older boys and I have always talked about moving out of the city part of Los Angeles, and having a piece of property where we could stretch out and enjoy having some animals. We already have three dogs, four guinea pigs, and two rabbits. We also had two hampsters, but they lived out their life and are gone now. I know my kids don't understand the amount of work it would be to have property with animals, but I do share their love for animals, and would like to live somewhere more peaceful and not feel claustrophobic!
Anyway, my son found your web site, and I must tell you I love reading through all the information as well.
Eight and a half seems too young to get too much into horses, but he could certainly start to learn more, and maybe find someone who has horses safe to ride for an inexperienced eight year old... or he could take lessons at some point, too... obviously. If you have any suggestions for him, or me as his mom, I know he would love to hear from you. I am sure he will e-mail you himself at some point.
By the way, I just noticed you live in Minnesota. My oldest boy has to do a big report and presentation in 5th grade this year on Minnesota. Any suggestions on where he could get the best information? I envy the fact that you live a some land. I grew up in Idaho, Alaska (for six years), Washington state, and Oregon. Los Angeles is tough for me to take sometimes. But the weather and ocean are great.
Anyway, thanks for listening! We'll be spending some time on your site. What a wonderful thing you are doing for people. I notice that a lot of children send you questions, and you obviously take a lot of time to give them great answers. That's terrific!
I'd say you're on the right track with your youngster's interest in horses. They are a big responsibility in more ways than one. And an almost-nine-year-old is going to need a lot of help from someone older, bigger, and more experienced. I say bigger because there are times when you simply need some brute strength in handling a half-ton of living horseflesh. Even as a rider he'll need three or four more years before his legs are long enough to give him the contact with the horse that will make him a really good rider.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
There's an old saying that goes, "Grow where you are planted." The Apostle Paul declared, "I've learned to be content wherever I am." You and your tribe can learn to apply that truth right in Los Angeles.
How can I be so certain? Simply because I developed most of my riding skills right near where you live. When I was in junior and senior high, a sizeable amount of my spending money went to the stable at Griffith Park and another stable next to the Arroyo Seco at Altadena. (Some scenes in the Disney movie "The Horse with the Flying Tail" were shot at the Altadena stable.) I don't know if those two establishments are still operating, but I'm sure you can find similar places within driving range.
The important thing is to develop correct riding habits right from the get-go. It's much harder to un-learn a bad habit in later years than it is to learn it right in the first place. If you ask around, I'm certain you'll find some older folks who were once top-level riders and would now be delighted to share their knowledge with an interested youngster.
Yeh, I'm very blessed to live in this picture-postcard part of creation called Northern Minnesota. The Missus and I moved here from beautiful downtown Burbank (literally) back in '64 and plumb fell in love with the place. Don't give up on your dreams of finding your little corner of heaven where you can add a few horses to your collection of pets. It can happen.
In the meantime, I'd be more than happy to chat with your young man. As for for your oldest son, I'll be happy to help him in any way I can. I was once a Minnesota state legislator, so I've picked up a fair bit of info.
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