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Ask a professional about his first horse, and bet he'll describe anything but the fancy show horses he rides today. Many a first horse is retired, with many miles under saddle - as it should be, ideally.

Horses are by nature fidgety and easily excited. They seldom intend harm, but small things and sudden movements can make them restive and panicky. No horse is foolproof and without risk. So when the child begins to clamour for one, how in the world does a parent find a horse that is safe?

Here are some tips on buying that rare "children's mount."

. Seek reliable, professional help.
. Match the temperament of horse and child as well as match the horse to the child's ability.
. Trust the child's instincts. Don't force the relationship - it will not be a successful one.
. Select a horse whose size is manageable for the young rider.
. DON'T buy a young horse so that the horse and child can grow up together.

At this early stage of riding, the child doesn't need a challenge as much as he or she needs to build or develop that self confidence. The parent must buy a horse that takes on the role of a calm and tolerant tutor, who will make riding easy and pleasurable for the child and tolerate sudden hugs and riding backwards. A horse of this temperament can be a fine teacher, not overreacting to frequent mistakes, but patiently waiting for the child to make the right cues!

Most people usually keep their first horse in the family out of gratitude for the important role he played in teaching children and sometimes even grandchildren. Such a horse will probably never pound the racetracks again. Show rings may be beyond him now, but he will make a good and safe teacher.

That is the essence of choosing the right horse for your child- finding a horse based on safety, not on showring success.

To take riding classes in Dubai, click here.

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