Young children and horses: How to foster a positive relationship

Sometimes there's something almost magical that connects children with horses, and this video is proof of that exact bond. Emma takes the chestnut mare Cinnamon for a walk in the snow, and the young girl's attachment to the horse is evident. You have to love the horse's reactions, too: Cinnamon is careful to stay a safe distance behind Emma and quietly follows the little girl.
Cinnamon is a perfect example of a "babysitter horse." Babysitter horses are those one-in-a-million horses that you can trust with your child's safety. These horses are careful, aware and incredibly obedient, even when the child can't possibly physically control them. Babysitter horses seem to have an innate understanding that they need to be careful with human children. It's something that can't be taught.
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If you plan on introducing your child to horses, then having a babysitter or child-safe horse available can make the process much safer. Child-safe horses often fetch high prices because they are difficult to find. According to Alli Kelley of HorseChannel.com, it's important to buy your child a "broke" horse — meaning that it's well-trained and ready for riding— that isn't spooky or naughty. Children will have more fun with a broke horse and will be safer as they learn to handle horses and ride.
Regardless of whether you have a babysitter horse or not, it's still important to always supervise your child when he or she is around a horse. Things can happen in an instant, so always teach children basic safety tips, such as the importance of wearing a riding helmet, how to correctly approach a horse, why children need to stay away from a horse's hind end, and why they should never open a stall or a paddock without an adult present.
Children and horses can go together quite well, as long as you choose an appropriate horse and supervise your child carefully.
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