1. Horses teach responsibility. Riding teaches kids how to care for a living breathing animal properly. A horse isn’t a ball or bat you can stick in the closet when you are done practicing. Riders learn how to properly care for “their” partner before and after the ride. Riders are also expected to dress properly and work hard. As a rider develops they begin to see that being responsible pays off! 2. Riding takes commitment. Every successful horse has a committed rider. There is nothing more rewarding than taking lessons and staying committed to a goal. Riding takes a lot of sweat, tears and sometimes more sweat but the rewards are endless.
3. Riding encourages pride. Horse riders will be the first to tell you that nothing feels better than mastering a challenge or learning a new skill. Being able to successfully communicate with a 1,000 pound animal is a confidence booster for riders of all levels.
4. Learning to ride well takes focus. A rider must use his brain and body to control and properly communicate with his/her horse. Riding take full concentration, a young rider will not have time to think about what his/her friend said at school today or who is texting them. When riding, the riders mind has to be completely focused. It’s a mental break from other worries and it’s a major anxiety buster that can help children develop good lifelong emotional health.
5. Riding requires athletic ability. Riding is more than “just sitting” there. Riding take strength and endurance. A rider has to use a number of muscles to stay solid in the saddle. Riding a horse is an incredible full body work out. Soon your rider will feel strong, empowered and confident in his or her body.
6. The riding stable can provide a healthy atmosphere. It’s important to find the right stable for your young rider, a place where both of you feel comfortable and supported. When young people are working at the barn with their horses, it creates a healthy environment. The stable is a very healthy and rewarding activity that focuses on the horse and rider partnership.
7. Riding is source of many incredible emotions. Studies have shown that riding can provide numerous emotional benefits which can include improved self‐esteem, communication skills, self‐awareness, relaxation, empowerment, interpersonal relationships, self‐control, focus and concentration and my favorite, happiness. Many studies have also shown that riding can significantly decrease anger, depression, dissociation and aggression.
8. Riding is a special way to spend time together. Watching your young rider grow up around horses is something very special. We invite parents to stay and watch lessons to help encourage their young riders.
9. Riding is a lifelong skill. Unlike some sports that only capture a child’s interest for a season or two or a sport that ends once they graduate high school, riding never has to stop. Many adult riders rode horses as children and found their way back as adults. You can always improve your skills as a rider no matter your age.
10. Companionship. Horses are social creatures just like humans. Being able to communicate and interact with an animal has already been shown to have a positive effect on people, as has been experienced by those involved with riding programs. Horses make wonderful companion animals and many equestrians call horses their best friends.
The horse world can be an incredible life long journey for your child and you. Don’t brush that “want to” aside, give it a try. Horses may be the greatest gift you could receive as a parent.
Elizabeth Pizzonia I have over thirty years of equine experience both in and out of the show ring. My experience is rooted in the Arabian horse breed, but my love for horses are universal. I have amassed over 30 US National Championships throughout my career as a youth, amateur and professional trainer in a variety of disciplines.