Kids’ Horse Must-Haves with JoJo LeMond
JoJo LeMond’s three kids—Newt, 10, Shaylee, 7, and Gunnar, 6-—all have their iconic dad to look up to when it comes to roping and riding. But that doesn’t mean he’ll just throw them on any great horse that comes along.

Photo by Jennings Photography

Safety First
The first thing for sure is safety. I want to know that they’re safe. I want to know that if I’m not out there with my kid, they’re not going to get in a wreck. I want my kids to be able to ride a lot and get used to saddle time, and the horse has to be safe for that to be possible. I want no buck, no setting back, no ignorant stuff.

On Track
I want a horse that will track a calf and do so on its own. I want my kids to rope and not worry about positioning their horses. If my kids have to pull their horses back over to the calf, they can lose their timing and their angle on their rope. So, while they’re learning, I’d like to eliminate that problem as much as possible. I want my kids’ left hands down and their horses going to get the calves.

Thinking Ahead
I definitely want a horse with some looks, so if one of my kids needs to step up, we can sell the horse easily. Kids grow out of horses, and being able to easily find them a home with a new kid to help is important.

We want my littlest boy, Gunnar, to be able to pull a horse to a stop. We had one that stopped too hard for him and threw him up over his saddle. Especially for the younger, smaller kids just learning, I really want one that they can pull into the ground that coasts to a stop. For Newt, who is really advanced for a 10-year-old, he’s ready for one that stops as hard as the horses I ride.

Feelin’ It
I want their horses to be broke. I don’t want them necessarily as broke as my horses, but I want them soft enough that if something happens the kids can stop and pull them up. Too often a horse that’s gentle enough for kids has been pulled on and kicked on so much that they lose their feel. I get on my kids’ horses quite often and ride them and try to pull them around and keep them soft.

JoJo LeMond lives in Andrews, Texas, with his three kids and wife, Blair. He’s rodeoing with Kory Koontz in 2016, and his instructional videos are available on

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