Beginners Page: Start riding in the right direction at True North!
This page is just for you riders and parents new to riding and TNF! Have more questions? Just ask - we are happy to answer them all!
Thoughts for new riders:
Riding is a wonderful sport for everyone! Here at TNF we welcome riders age 5 and above for riding instruction, horse-management lessons, activities and our kids activities and summer programs.
Our instructors are USEA ICP Certified and MA licensed and bring a wealth of experience and a true enthusiasm to their work. We emphasize safety first and foremost with all our riders and take the time to teach them first to handle, groom and be safe around the ponies and horses even before they start to ride. We find this extra time to build their understanding of the pony's nature, helps them to be better riders - and they really enjoy it too!
We hope this page is helpful. Let us know if you have any other questions! There are no dumb questions, we love students and families who want to learn!
Things you will need:
1. Helmet - Riders of all ages must
wear a modern ASTM approved riding
helmet at all times while working
around and mounted on a horse/pony.
They must have their chinstrap buckled at all times while mounted. We recommend Charles Owen helmets as they have the highest safety ratings in the industry. Bike helmets are not acceptable nor safe head gear for riding. We have a few helmets available to borrow for your first riding lesson, but if your child will continue riding, this is something they need to own themselves to ensure good and safe fit. Helmets can be bought on line at a discounted price, but we recommend that you take your child to a qualified helmet fitter to find out the model and type that fits them best. Dover Saddlery in Weslley or Smart Pak in Natick have a large selection of good helmets to try on for this purpose.
2. Riding Boots - We recommend
paddock boots for all child riders to start
in. These are riding boots that are just over
the ankle/lower calf. They are comfortable and fit most kids well and are more affordable than "tall boots". If necessary, they can be worn with "half chaps" which cover their calf to protect them from rub marks.
3. Breeches & Jodhpurs - For the first
lesson, your child may wear long pants like
leggings. We do not recommend jeans as
the seam down the inside can hurt while riding. As your child continues we recommend buying a pair of jodhpurs for your child. These are long riding pants which have a knee patch and a strap that goes under their riding boot to keep them from sliding up. You can buy these used on Ebay, online via tack shop websites, or from local tack shops. We often have some for sale in our consignment shop as well so check for sizes there before you buy new!
Your child loves riding, has been working hard and is ready to start jumping? Then this may be next on your list....
Protective Jump Vest: If your child really loves riding then soon enough they are going to want to start jumping. All Jr riders at TNF are required to wear a jump vest in all jumping lessons. We have some to borrow to start, but if your child is going to continue in the sport, you will want to purchase one that fits your child well. Dover, Smart Pak and Bit of Britian tack shops can all fit your child - you can check EBay and the USPC classifieds section to find one used if you are lucky! Tipperary makes a variety of jump vests for eventers. Air vests are available to go over the jump vest later on for eventing cross country riding; but are not typical entry level gear.
Things you will want:
Ok, your child is enjoying their first lessons and you see that this is going to be something they continue to do. A few of the following items or suggestions will help make them more comfortable, make riding easier and provide some nice opportunities.
1. Riding Gloves - riding gloves can make little hands
much more comfortable. And we know that feeling
more comfortable makes our little riders do better
and be happier. If they fit your child you can also buy football/baseball tacky grip gloves at the sports
2. Half Chaps - Our littlest riders don't need these and often they'd be hard to find small enough, but we find that once kids begin to canter and jump they enjoy having a little more protection around their little calves - and 1/2 chaps provide this extra comfort. They come in a bunch of fun colors but if you are on a limited budget, we recommend buying them in the same color as the paddock boots so you can use them at shows or clinics.
3. Warm winter riding pants - Kerrits and Tuff Rider both make nice kids winter riding jodhpurs. These can make all the difference when there is a chill in the air! Lined with fleece and toasty, kids can just relax when warm and comfy!
4. True North Pony Club - if you find your child is
committed to riding and learning about horses, then
joining Pony Club is an essential next step in their
horse education. For minimal costs, and lots of
education, pony clubbers will learn vast amounts about
horses and their training and care, compete in fun team competitions and make friends from across southeastern new england! Jr Pony Club is designed for our newest riders (ages 6-12) and our True North Pony Club aims to grow the knowledge and competency of our advancing middle school and high school age riders. www.ponyclub.org for all the scoop on USPC!
Interested in Pony Club? Talk to Kay about your child's readiness to join!
TYPICAL EVENTING & DRESSAGE COMPETITION ATTIRE.
Younger riders may wear jodphurs/garter straps (or 1/2 chaps) rather than tall boots, and a ratcatcher shirt with a choker rather than
a stock tie.
Note: Arm band only required for jumping phases or any US Pony Club activity around horses. Arm bands are not worn for dressage or local horse shows.