I thought I would give you all a quick report on my five year olds progress:
Uni’s Name: Red Gnome (or Kabouter)
Total Days: 4
Total time in the Saddle: 6 hours
Moral: Extremely High (Wahoo!)
Problem Area(s): He tends to look at the ground
He decided to name his Uni ‘Red Gnome’ although sometimes he just calls it his Kabouter (Dutch for word for Gnome). He sometimes says, “Can I ride my pet Gnome/Kabouter Papa?”
He’s been practicing about an hour a day except for the day he practiced 2.5 hours (wow). Yesterday he practiced for about 1.5 hours +/-. He is determined to learn to ride and it shows in his progress. It is just too cool to see him so determined! What makes it so cool is that he’s not a people pleaser and that means he is doing it for himself.
Yesterday we went to the school and tried some dual spotting (my wife on one hand and me on the other), but it didn’t quite work out. His ride was wild and uncontrolled. He suggested he try using the wall for support, and when we did that he rode much better. I spotted him on one side and he used the wall for guidance on the other. Then we left the wall altogether with just me spotting him. What we learned is this:
a) He doesn’t really need the wall, he just needs a single spotter- two makes it awkward for him.
b) He can only be spotted holding his right hand, if I hold his left he loses control.
c) He seems to do best in 1/2 hour sessions
Also, he started really ‘going for it’ last night on the deck. He was consistently going 4-5 feet unaided by the railing. He would get his balance, let go and ride (the five year old version of launching into the abyss). He probably did it 8 times or more! Oh man was that fun to watch. He was grinning from ear-to-ear (me too). My wife took some photos of him and we’re going to post some Uni-family pics soon. We even have a really nice one of him soloing.
One obstacle he has to get over is looking at the ground. He only seems to do it when we’re spotting him. I started having him ride to my wife, so he would look at her and not the ground.
If anyone has any nice tips for teaching a five year old to Uni please let me know.