I recently published a blog discussing the pros and cons of Friesian horses for beginner horseback riders. It sparked a bit of an idea about beginner riders, especially children, and the benefits of being involved with horses. I very clearly remember walking out to the barn to see my very first horses— two Bay rescued off-the-track Standardbred geldings—and knowing my life would always involve horses. What I didn’t know as I walked to the barn on that snowy day was all of the amazing impacts horses would have in other areas of my life. As an adult, I can look back at growing up with horses and see everything they taught and continue to teach me.
So, why are horses such a good experience for children?
Horses are a lot of work! There is no getting around feeding, grooming, training, and the general care of a horse. And, these all take place before you can ride!
Horses quickly teach children responsibility and what it is like to be responsible for something other than themselves. A horse is not going to clean its own stall, feed itself dinner, or clean its hooves, these are all acts of care that your child is responsible for.
As children learn the responsibility of caring for a horse, they will develop a strong work ethic. Being involved with horses takes a lot of work, but is also very rewarding. This natural progression of work being rewarded teaches your child the benefit of a strong work ethic and internal motivation.
Every horse has its own quirks and while children learn common horse behaviors, each horse is unique. They will have to learn to approach situations differently for different horses and think outside of the box to problem-solve. Through this process, children will often develop a sense of self-confidence as they navigate through problems successfully.
Horses are intuitive animals and respond directly to their environments and the people they are surrounded by. Horses are an excellent mirror for any situation they are in. As children learn common horse behaviors, they will begin to recognize when horses are uncomfortable, hurt, or scared. This level of emotional understanding for another creative is incredibly powerful.
Learning a new skill, especially horseback riding, can be challenging. As your child expands their riding ability and horsemanship, they will encounter hurdles—a horse that doesn’t want to stand to mount, a horse that spooks at the same rock every day, a horse that doesn’t want to load into the trailer. Some of these instances are going to be insurmountable, but others require perseverance and problem-solving to successfully navigate.
I’ve been around horses my entire life, but my Friesian journey started just over 20 years ago. Our horses have always been a part of our family. They have traveled with us as we relocated from Vermont to New York to Iowa and finally, to Arizona. I can’t wait to share our story with you!
Jul 30, 2021
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